Learning techniques for better remote working

2020 has brought about many changes to the way we work. Businesses have had to adapt how they operate, and remote working on a full-time basis has been a huge adjustment for employees and organisations alike. No matter what phase of the Coronavirus pandemic your locality is in, the likelihood is that the office working paradigm is shifting toward the more flexible alternative of remote working.

It’s inevitable that when outside our familiar professional environments, we become more relaxed when it comes to compliance best practice. We may lower our guard when opening unfamiliar hyperlinks for example, or not remember to lock our computers because we’re at home. On top of this, whistleblowing is much harder to do now, as it is more difficult to notice key red flags in the behaviour of clients and colleagues.

This means employees need to be more engaged and aligned than ever before with compliance requirements. So, how can you adapt your current online learning solutions to ensure they make an impact, while maintaining your culture of compliance remotely?

“It’s inevitable that when outside our familiar professional
environments, we become more relaxed when it comes
to compliance best practice.”

1. Keep it relevant

Do your learning tools use scenarios, case studies, or images that are in an office environment? If so, this may not be relevant for your audience, and learning solutions which solely reference office-based interaction may be deemed out of date for your employees. Changing the images could be one way to make your compliance learning solution more relevant. For example, employees sharing screens on conference calls; or a bank branch employee wearing a face mask.

Are there any relevant case studies which link to non-compliance of individuals when working remotely? Or are there any statistics around cybercrime increases due to a lack of home-security?

Sharing this information is a great way to ensure key compliance messages reach and resonate with employees while working remotely, as well as acting as a reminder that compliance breaches don’t just happen in the office.

Using scenarios in your online learning solutions is a great way to enable learners to not just recall information but also apply their knowledge using follow-up quiz questions and decision points. Why not include or update some scenarios to showcase how red flags can be spotted using internal messaging software rather than face-to-face meetings when onboarding clients? Or develop some branching scenarios to show how judgement could be clouded at home, and the consequences that the individual and the business may face.

2. Keep the conversation flowing

Social learning is a powerful learning strategy and can be a lot harder in a remote working environment – how can organisational values be acquired by your employees through following the lead of others if there are no colleagues around to promote best practice? It is important to keep the conversation flowing virtually, to reinforce your organisation’s cultures and values, and remind employees you’re all in this together and you all play a part in keeping your organisation safe from money laundering, cyber-attacks and so on.

While this may seem more challenging in many ways, technological advancements have made remote social learning much more accessible. My first suggestion would be to look at what your business already has available – does your LMS have a forum capability for example? Can you encourage your employees to ask compliance-related questions and create synergy in responses?

Sharing internal success stories outside of your online learning solutions is also a great way to reinforce the key messages you’re trying to relay. For example, how many data breaches were stopped in 2020 because of employee due diligence? Were there any noticeable achievements or areas for improvement documented in your last business audit that should be recognised and shared as case studies? We all work harder when we know our efforts are supporting/impacting others, so make sure you shout about it!

”Gamification techniques can be an effective way to introduce intrinsic motivation in your online learning solutions.”

3. Channel your employees’ autonomy

Remote working gives a much greater feeling of autonomy, so it is essential to tap into this by engaging your employees’ intrinsic motivation. An example of intrinsic motivation in practice is the profile completion bar at the top of our LinkedIn pages. This compliments our common need to complete tasks, make progress, acquire self-validation and of course; validation from others. Gamification techniques can be an effective way to introduce intrinsic motivation in your online learning solutions.

A great place to start is to look at what your internal systems already offer. Does your LMS have gamification features already? Some LMSs have the ability to create badges and points systems for completing courses, commenting on forums and much more. Have you ever been in an exam and felt inspired to write more when the person next to you asks for extra paper? That’s exactly what gamification techniques can do on your LMS, within the learning solutions themselves and elsewhere.

In conclusion…

There are many ways you can make your online learning solutions more engaging for your employees in this unusual time. These are some of my favourite approaches which are quick and easy to implement and I’ve found them to be really effective too! I hope they help support your business in maintaining a culture of compliance both in the office and remotely.

About the author

Sarah Amos
Senior Instructional Designer, Thomson Reuters
Sarah is a Senior Instructional Designer based in the UK. She has over 5 years’ experience creating blended learning solutions to deliver high-impact eLearning. Starting her professional career as a geography and sociology teacher, Sarah developed her understanding of learning theories in a classroom-based environment. Sarah has also recently become a certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt.


Thomson Reuters, a worldwide trusted provider of answers, helps professionals make confident decisions, run better businesses and gain competitive advantage in complex arenas – law, tax, compliance, government and media.

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