Tailoring Learning for Your Firm

As many regulated firms enter a new CPD year, learning and development managers may be giving thought to how to plan and design new training material for their staff.

Users of the Development Zone e-learning platform will know that it has an extensive course catalogue that covers a wide range of technical, business skills and regulatory topics. However, firms may wish to go further and provide training that is tailored towards the specific needs of the business and its staff.

Within the Development Zone, we refer to this as ‘custom content’, and in essence this provides each firm with its own course catalogue in which a range of content types can be uploaded and assigned to individuals within a firm.

This article explores why firms may wish to create custom content and the factors that should be considered in its design and preparation.

So, in what circumstances may custom content be useful?

Staff induction and onboarding – when you welcome a new recruit you want to be sure that they hit the ground running, but you will also wish to equip them with a strong understanding of the firm, its values, and its processes and procedures. Every firm is different, so HR professionals, compliance personnel or training and competence specialists may wish to create material that covers off information unique to that firm.

Provided that the firm’s processes and procedures are compliant with current regulation, an induction programme will help instil a positive organisational culture from the outset, ensuring that everybody is on the right track from day one. The system also allows you to monitor completions, so you will be able to see, at a glance, how staff are progressing.

Product knowledge – the Insurance Distribution Directive requires individuals to have the minimum necessary knowledge of the terms and conditions of policies offered, including ancillary risks covered by such policies. Whilst the Development Zone has modules that explore a wide range of product lines, and the standard terms and conditions typically found within those policies, it would not be possible to go into specific detail about each policy that a firm may offer. A firm, especially one that offers ‘niche’ or non-standard policies, may therefore wish to consider preparing training materials to improve staff knowledge in these areas.

Conduct Rules training – under the Senior Managers and Certification Regime, financial services staff must be trained in the FCA’s Conduct Rules. A sixth individual Conduct Rule (‘you must act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers’) will apply from 31 July 2023, so it’s important to keep up to date. The Development Zone contains course material and scenario-based content on the Conduct Rules, but this should only be viewed as a starting point. The FCA expects that individuals should be trained on how the Conduct Rules apply to their specific roles. Therefore, learning and development professionals, may wish to consider developing firm-specific and role-specific training that can complement the core material and provide a personalised experience for their staff.

Moreover, custom content can be assigned alongside content from the Development Zone catalogue. Learning programmes can be formed in which firms can complement material from the core catalogue with their own bespoke modules. For instance, a generic module on fire safety, could be complemented with a firm-specific course looking at a firm’s fire management plan, escape routes and procedures.

Once you know what courses you wish to produce for your firm, you should give due regard to their planning and design. You should always have your audience in mind and also have a clear learning goal. This will help you create your learning material appropriately.

For example, a staff induction module providing information about the history of the firm, aims to inform staff and communicate information through the lesson. Such a module would involve receptive learning and would not be particularly interactive. It would instead need to engage the learner psychologically through engaging use of words (written or spoken) and appropriately selected images (whether static or video).

If the aim of the learning is to teach the learner how to follow a procedure (e.g. filling out a form/record or using a piece of corporate software), this would involve directive learning. You may wish to incorporate behavioural engagement in the learning material (i.e. interactivity), showing the learner how to follow the procedure through worked examples or interactive steps simulating how the procedure would be applied in practice. This would strengthen the learner’s response in applying the skills in a real-life context.

If you want your learners to be able to perform strategic tasks (for example making sales or how to handle customer service challenges), they will need to develop general approaches to deal with tasks that can be applied and adapted in various situations. In these cases, the so-called ‘guided discovery’ approach to learning design could be employed, creating an online learning environment that allows learners to experiment, make decisions, and explore multilinear scenarios with different outcomes. This involves engaging with the learner both behaviourally (through interactivity) but also psychologically by making the learner think about their options and the consequences of certain actions. This approach is particularly useful when presenting the learner with experiences or scenarios that they may not typically be confronted with on a daily basis, thereby preparing them to deal with a difficult situation should it arise in the future.

If your training budget allows, you may also wish to consider a blended approach to learning, incorporating some synchronous, face-to-face training (delivered in person, or online). Tutor-led training can be complemented with assessments or modules within the Development Zone, either before or after the face-to-face session. Remember, regardless of whether the learning was online, in-person or blended, it can be recorded on the Development Zone using the CPD Recorder.

At RWA Learning we can provide you with the tools for you and your firm to complete your CPD. This includes our content catalogue of over 500 modules, but also support with Training and Competence frameworks, custom content, and training. Whilst you can create and upload custom content within the Development Zone, we also offer a course authoring and design service that can help bring your custom content to life.

If you require any support with the Development Zone or Training and Competence, please feel free to get in touch at devzone@rwagroup.co.uk. We will be glad to help!

About the author

Before joining RWA Nicola was a recruitment professional holding posts such as Senior Recruitment Consultant, Senior Account Manager and Senior Business Development Consultant.

Nicola joined the RWA team as Business Development Manager covering all areas of the business before moving into the role of IDD / T&C Scheme Specialist.

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