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What's the purpose of compliance training?


And with those words, Jeremy's spirit was finally broken. He began to mindlessly click on information he already knew, the staccato sounds of his mouse keeping time to the final death of his childhood dreams.


Haha, that got dark.

But hey, we've all been there: forced to take training designed by someone who thinks that people learn best when they have to click on every button in a screen or enter some stupid code every five minutes to prove they're not dead.

That's NOT THE POINT OF TRAINING. Explained here:


Now you have ammunition for the next time someone makes you sit through this stuff. Hooray!


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Production notes!

Yes, you should let people test out of training. It is crazy to me that this is even a question.

If you can't define the competence or knowledge that someone should have after the training, such that you can test them on it before the training, DON'T DO THE TRAINING.

Because if you don't know what people are supposed to learn, and you're the person giving the training, what on earth are the people taking the training supposed to do? 


One of the most liberating things about this is realizing that when you've struggled to pay attention to one of these horrible trainings, the problem wasn't you. 

That is, if you've ever felt guilty about your inability to stay focused on these horrible online trainings and continuing education courses—forcing yourself to scribble down nonsense notes that you know you'll never read again because it's the only way you can stay focused—you're not alone. 

We've all been there. And the problem wasn't us.


I hope you guys like that stock footage of an exploding car, because I obviously do. But to be fair, my favorite part of Muppet Babies was the industrial stock footage of biplanes and stuff. Your mileage may vary. 


Since someone will ask: does this mean continuing education requirements are pointless? Awesome answer: YES DUH mic drop.

More considered answer: depends on what the goal is.

If the goal of a continuing education requirement is continued competence, then ... YES DUH mic drop. You measure competence by testing for competence, not attendance.

Continuing education requirements that rely on attendance as a proxy for competence are mega dumb. It'd be like if the police stopped requiring officers to re-qualify with their weapons at the shooting range and instead just made them sit through a one-hour online course about shooting accurately. 

On the other hand, if the goal of continuing education is to act as a minimum-effort filter, then they work great. 

That is, if the goal is to show that you give a minimum amount of crap about maintaining the credential, enough to suffer through a bunch of terrible content, then it works. That's a legit reason, if not a lofty one.