Why you should turn compliance training into a game

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The potential usefulness of gamification in compliance training has been highlighted in a recent white paper by Thomson Reuters Governance, Risk & Compliance business.

The paper takes as its premise the fact that staff training and education are vital to an effective compliance programme, and that it is vital to extend this sort of training to third parties due to the risks inherent to these relationships.

At the same time, the paper acknowledges an issue in the geographical distribution of organisations. “With multinational organizations characterized by numerous departments across diverse locations, how do the human resources and compliance functions deliver good quality education and awareness training in a manner that is costa and time effective, without losing quality?”

The answer, for Thomson Reuters, is eLearning and, more specifically, gamification: “a game that’s constructed to achieve a specific outcome, not just for the pleasure of playing.” “Many commentators believe that gamification can significantly alter traditional style course work through the inclusion of game-based elements such as story challenge and rewards,” according to the paper.

By incorporating gamification into compliance training, they think that you can increase the engagement and motivation of a learner, as well as encouraging them to invest themselves in the achievement of course outcomes. “Studies show that gameplay can produce positive emotions such as optimism, curiosity and determination and help build strong social relationships, specifically when played with real-life friends and family,” the paper states.

The paper also highlights seven key characteristics of gamification that can lead to better learning, as proposed by technology theorist Tom Chatfield:


  1. Focus on individual progression rather than a mark.
  2. Mix of small and large objectives to keep people engaged.
  3. Provision of rewards for effort.
  4. Clear connection between action and feedback, which occurs rapidly.
  5. Element of uncertainty regarding rewards.
  6. Enhanced attention through raised dopamine levels.
  7. Collaboration with other people.


The paper stresses that compliance education and training shouldn’t be a tick-the-box exercise – engagement is key. “Together, eLearning and gamification help to provide a safe environment where learners are more likely to take risks, and effectively learn through failure and retrial until success can be achieved.”

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