Six Guidelines for Incorporating Adult Learning Principles in Healthcare Compliance Training

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Compliance Education will fail if it doesn’t match the learning requirements of its audience. According to Debbie Newsholme, Senior Director of Content Development at HCCS, “The first element of any kind of adult education or training is to ‘Know Thy Audience.’” In healthcare that means we must take into account the huge variety of individuals in any kind of healthcare setting. Newsholme suggested that we “think about the literacy level of your learners and that the average reading and literacy level is about the seventh or eighth grade. “ Other audience attributes that merit attention are the five generations currently working in healthcare and their different learning styles, as well as different cultures and ethnicities that bring different sensitivities to the workplace.

This blog post, the third in a series of four, is based on our webinar, “4 Necessities to Building an Indestructible Compliance Training Program,” in which compliance training experts from HCCS, A HealthStream Company, shared their insights and wisdom about using compliance education to strengthen the organizational approach to healthcare compliance. Effective compliance training can help every employee understand their compliance obligations and make them extensions of the compliance team.

Compliance Training Advice for Healthcare Organizations

Newsholme offered the following six points of advice for organizations and their learning departments who are thinking about rolling out compliance training:

  1. Be prepared to provide learning in a variety of settings. Those may vary, depending on the needs and demographics of the organization, from formal training in a classroom or online setting to a skills lab. Are your learners in one location or are you spread across multi-states and how does that look?
  2. Consider learners’ educational levels. Are they going to be able to understand and comprehend as well as apply the learning from the courseware? Does the language used match their average reading level?
  3. Provide training in small doses of limited duration. Avoid the loss of attention and waning alertness that occur after 20 minutes of training. Doing so can result in higher percentages of passing scores on quizzes, when there’s not so much to digest at one time. This allows an individual to process and retain what they've heard and learned and be able to demonstrate it.
  4. Fit training into the work day for greater employee satisfaction. Staff often complain about the time that they spend on training or the amount of training that they're assigned. Pushing it out in smaller digestible bites definitely helps with the employee experience, even when the training is not negotiable from a compliance and regulatory standpoint.
  5. Providing too much information can lead to sensory overload. Unless you “stay out of the weeds,” your training content risks becoming jumbled and forgettable. If there's not something very distinct in what you're trying to convey, it often becomes too much, and staff will not remember it.
  6. Make sure that training is effective enough to meet accreditation and regulatory requirements. It can be short, but is it effective and is it going to pass a survey or an audit? Those are really important questions to consider when you're thinking about rolling out training.

Efforts to keep compliance learners in mind when creating training can make a huge difference towards counteracting their resistance to training.  You want to be able to counteract the common question—what does this have to do with me? To do so, Newsholme insisted that you have to communicate successfully with your learners. When that occurs, “You connect the dots for folks and help them understand that no matter their role in the organization, compliance is everybody's responsibility.”

Watch the full webinar here.

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