Policies and Procedures - Need Jazzing

Nov 26, 2013

I am creating a policies and procedures module (within our New Employee Orientation eLearning), and find it to be too bland! 

Here's what I currently have:

-"Ask a Lawyer"

-The end user goes to a "Library" chooses a policy to look into, a "book," and goes from there.

-The end user then sees a screen with 3-4 questions that you can "Ask the Lawyer"

-After clicking on a question, the "Lawyer" avatar walks the end user through the answer (just an avatar in front of a white board)

-Occasionally a policy warrants a scenario, but not always. If it does, the end user is taken into a scenario with multiple choice to solidify learning.

-The user then gets taken back to the question slide - when the user is finished, they can go back to the library slide.

Please help - getting desperate! How can this be more engaging, or more fun? Not all policies can have a scenario (some are dry), so a story approach has already been attempted, but not successful.


7 Replies
Greg Cannon

start with the learning points (the behaviours) that you want to develop within the course and work backwards from there...for instance I developed a course on data security where the learner played the part of a detective and had to investigate an office (various items that had been examined by forensics, interviews with 'witnesses/suspects' etc) where a report of a data security breach had taken place. We wanted learners to be able to identify (and think about) actual data security risks they may experience in an office environment rather than the specific legislation covering data security which is already in a policy that forms part of the contract of employment (i.e. should be read!) By focusing on a more practical outcome using a semi-realistic scenario (the office I used was very similar to a typical office in the organisation I work for) I believe the course works better. Much of the information is text-based and not particularly 'flashy', it's the packaging that creates the engagement but also bear in mind that at the end of the day there are only 3 possible interactions with a mouse:




So perhaps focus less on the interactivity to start with and concentrate on the story you want to tell that will drive the behaviours you want to develop. I would say that your course sounds pretty interactive in any case and perhaps you're worrying unduly?

If you'll permit me to play devil's advocate, what's better? Your course, or providing new starters with a tick box checklist that they have to sign and send back to HR saying they understand the policies and what is expected of them in the work place? 

Kevin Thorn

Hi Jennifer,

I've found the story approach to New Hire/Onboarding orientation to be successful. You are right though that this type material is often bland. A necessity and compliance-driven, but still not that exciting for a new employee to wade through.

Here's a few tips I've discovered over time:

  1. Look at the content as a whole. Take a 30,000 foot look from a global contextual approach. Dump anything that's too detailed or irrelevant for a new hire. 
  2. When I say "irrelevant" think back to when you were a day-one employee...you were excited, eager, and curious along with intimidated and overwhelmed with the pressures of wanting to learn everything you can fast to get up to speed.  Policy documents are typically stored on a companies intranet and accessible at any time. Take advantage of that by keeping things high level in the elearning module and reference the details they can discover and read in more depth on their own time.
  3. From a story perspective, policies and lawyers are synonymous - meaning, where's the fun? Jazz it up by looking at not-so-likely themes.
  4. Here are some ideas:
  • Adventure - send the learner on a journey where they have to discover information about a particular policy. Either by asking other people in the company or self-discovery by looking up the policy in the company's intranet. The goal is to help the learner not only learn about the policy but also who and where to go when they have questions.
  • Agent - Set the theme as the new hire is a "New Company Policy Agent" where their goal is to be the adviser-in-training. Give them the tools to be the teacher. In other words, the learner would be the 'lawyer' in your original idea and then add in other fictional characters that pose as new hires.
  • HR/Legal New Hire - place the learner in a position in the HR/Legal department regardless if they are actually hired into that department or not. Their job/role in the module is to interview all department leaders on updates to the policies that reflect that area. Gain alignment from those actual leaders and design a set of questions/answers. In the elearning module, present the policy, the scenario, the changes, and then pose the question with possible answers. The answer is NOT in the instruction in the elearning rather it lies on the desk of a department leader. The learner needs to physically visit (pre arranged) and ask the question. The leader is prepared and aware of the training and offers light discussion around the topic question ultimately revealing the answer. Learner then returns to the elearning module and answers the question. Move on to the next scenario - rinse & repeat.

TIP: Think through the *experience* first. Interview existing new hires and ask their input on what they liked/disliked about the current onboaring orientation when it applies to learning about policies. Design that experience first and the rest will fall into place. Staring in Storyline will bog you down and potentially trap you into a corner. Design first. Then Develop.

Hope that sparks some ideas. 

Others I'm sure will have even better ideas.

Jennifer Bartels

So in taking your advice, I tried to put together a scenario that tries to encompass A LOT (I have two total). Here's one:

Employee A was excited about hernew side job where she can sell appliances from her own home through the HappyHome Goods catalogue. She eagerly downloads the Happy Home Goods software ontoher computer at work and enthusiastically wears her Happy Home Goods apparel atwork. As the holidays are quicklyapproaching, Employee A decides to print flyers and order forms through thework copier during lunch and leaves them near the work room microwaves.Employee A also chose to send out a notice of newly available products on her worklistserv (mass email list) and is eagerly waiting for responses. A few dayslater, someone on the listserv sends an angry email with derogatory language towardswomen. Employee A is stunned and reports the email to her supervisor.


Topics covered:


Personal Tech use

District resources

Dress code


Conflict of interest


What you need to know for this situation:

  1. What behavior is considered harassment?
  2. What classes are considered protected?
  3. How can public resources be used?
  4. Can employees use district email for personal use?
  5. What are considered prohibited uses of district technology?
  6. Can employees download software onto a district computer?
  7. What are considered conflicts of interest?
  8. Is there a specific dress code for work?

 The final question would be what should the employee do (whether the EE is going to role play as a lawyer, hr rep, whatever).


A few questions:

- Is this sufficient?

- How do I go about laying out this scenario? Do I need to try to actually draw out the scenario? (Something to note: My staff work in a school, not in an office building - They have classrooms, not office normally).


Kevin Thorn

Hi Jennifer,

That's a great start to a good scenario where it covers all the topics so to answer your first question, yes it is sufficient.

Reading through your scenario you refer to "Employee A" as to suggest there is an "Employee B" or "C." Kinda lost there.

Laying it out depends on how you want the experience to unfold. One way is to present the scenario in its entirety first.  At a high level structure:

  • Intro to the module and topics covered
  • Present the scenario
  • Revisit the scenario in chunks and present the "Need to know" questions organized based on that flow.

This presents the information in context up front. Whether the learner sees/reads something obviously incorrect or not this is an opportunity to get them thinking about proper behavior when it comes to do's and don't's of policies.

Replay the scenario, but this time pause at points in the story where actions are against policy and present the learner with a question. If they get it right offer feedback to reinforce their choice. If they get it wrong, offer feedback that points to the policy and/or consequences.

Step away from the details of how you would develop it and concentrate more on how you would design it. Design the experience. Think through it as if you were the new hire. If possible, attain some un-biased neutral input from existing employees that may only be on the job for less than year. Their insight could prove invaluable.

Hope this helps more.

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