12 Replies
Bruce Graham

I have been developing Insurance eLearning for the past year or so.

I can share one experience, and one "worst practice".

1> It staggers me just how limited the uptake of online learning has been within insurance. Some of the courses I have been developing in partnership with a large company have been very well received internally, and yet they are just (beautiful!) end-to-end, linear learning, with a few well-built embedded .swfs

2> I am staggered that the some of the certification bodies still rely on "x hours of learning" as their metric. I recently refused to re-visit, and advise on solving the problem with some courses that "...people were finishing too quickly".

Just my 2p worth.


Hormuzd Umrigar

Sarah Olsem said:

Is there any specific sort of best practices you're looking for?

I'm an eLearning developer for a bank. Right now, nothing comes to mind about best practices that are BFSI specific - our best practices correlate with best practices in the eLearning industry.

Dear Sarah, I am looking at compliance related courses. How to make courses more meaninful and engaging.

Bob S

Hello Hormuzd,

My experience in that industry taught me a couple of things you might find useful... or not!  

  1. Avoid cute. Regulators, Governance Team, Internal Audit, etc often have little to no tolerance for anything cutsey or whimsical. You are best advised to always play it straight.
  2. Develop an iron-clad documentation methodology for your Review Cycles. That industry is profoundly risk-adverse and fosters an inherent "CYA" mentality. It's quite possible you will be called upon to provide proof of who exactly approved the changing of a particular word, on what date, and the rationale.
  3. Case Studies are king. This industry seems to love case studies in the form of examples of those who are doing it wrong and the consequences for doing so. Again, perhaps due to the risk-adverse and regulatory nature of the industry, negative examples are more desirable than the positive example approach most industries today have moved toward.
  4. Scenarios with immediate feedback are desireable. This is perhaps one of your best opportunities to bring in interactivity. Challenge scenarios (often in the form of "who would YOU listen to in this situation") are great for this industry. One important note however.... the language and exact phrasing of the scenarios is critical as is the idea of immediate feedback in the form of Red Flag moments, etc. In other words, long scenarios where there are a series of choices before the outcome is revealed are typically frowned upon here. Instead, the choices at each step need to have clear feedback/consequences to satisfy regulatory and governance standards.
  5. Prepare yourself mentally for tight content and style constaints. This is more personal advice than professional I suppose. As instructional designers, we often like to bring our own sense of style to the project, or our own sense of clarity to the content. Even such things as trying to make sense of related content bits by roughly grouping them togther for retention's sake can be challenging, if not impossible. For example, even saying things such as "these considerations fall mainly into three areas" or anything similar can be off limits if the underlying regulations do not explicity support that language and categorization.

Creating training in that industry certainly has it's own challenges, but likewise it's own rewards too. Hopefully you find some useful tidbits in my ramblings.

Good luck and hope this helps,


Brett Rockwood

Bob, as someone who works almost exclusively in the financial sector I have to agree with your excellent points. I might add that as a lot of the material can be regulatory/compliance related and required each year for staff it has worked well for me to have pre-tests for those who feel they know the material. (Tom Kuhlman has some excellent info on this.) Doing so allows people to demonstrate their knowledge in a pre-test and avoid having to go through the full training presentation. It gives people credit for their knowledge, shows that you are sensitive to their time, and can save a great deal of time and money for the company.

Bob S

Hi Brett,

You're right about pre-testing, or "test out" as we used to call it. When the regulators or internal governance allow for it, it can be a great alternative with all of the benefits you mention. The challenge is that depending on the particular regulatory agency (and actual individual regulator!) there can be some variation around what's allowed here and what isn't.

One example... in the AML/TF world of consumer banking, a particular regulator allowed "test out" for some roles in the bank, but not others concerning some KYC pieces. And never for new hires.  But the Sanctions regulator would not at all. So you had a weird dynamic where there needed to be multiple versions of the course based on role and time in role in order to suppor test out.

As you well know, the key is to get sign-off from all involved before execution of that sort of thing. Hard to do, but well worth it as you point out.