Differentiating between Mandatory and Recommended Training


I am from the L&D team of a hospital that has over 3000 employees.

We are mandated to complete a set of training's to be compliant with multiple healthcare regulatory bodies. In addition to these compliance training's, we also have some organization-wide training (which are not part of any compliance).

In short, we track the completion of compliance courses while the organization-wide training's are not tracked (but it is equally important that employees take it).

Our employees often get confused between the two categories and reporting on these courses is getting a bit confusing. It would be great if we can organize these courses on our LMS in such a way that our employees exactly know what is tracked and needs to be completed within a certain timeframe.

One of the things that we did was to add the following labels to the courses,

  • The compliance course would have the word 'Mandatory' as a prefix before the course title.
  • The other non-compliance org-wide trainings would have the word 'Highly Recommended' as a prefix before the course title.

Please let me know if there is any other effective way to communicate the difference between these two categories.




5 Replies
Ashwin Sekar

Hi Christy,

Thanks for your response. We use Docebo in our organization.

As mentioned in my post, we have attached the word 'Mandatory' as a prefix for all the compliance courses. The problem is in differentiating the compliance courses from the internal Mandatory ones.

Reading your post gave me the idea of creating two separate Mandatory categories on LMS with a short description for each. Probably that might help to alleviate the ambiguity to an extent.

Hope you have a great day!



Bob S

Hi Ashwin,


Why differentiate? From a learner's perspective, if a course is "Mandatory" then it is mandatory.  

They are trusting in your team to weed through all the spurious requests and partner with the business leaders to come up with the absolute essential courses they need to complete. Whether it's an external regulatory requirement or internal governance/policy requirement, it doesn't matter to learners... nor should it.

While it's not always easy to sort through all the demands to deploy required training, that is one of the key roles of L&D leadership. And if I can be so bold... creating this sort of difference without a distinction of mandatory types may only make it harder to impress upon leadership the concept of cognitive overload; undermining your ability to curate the content appropriately.

PS:  If my advice on the other thread of a tiered strategy was confusing, I apologize. Basically the concept I was referring to was not to simply take the request for required training at face value. But to instead create a short list of courses that learners must complete and will be held accountable to.... these could be regulatory and/or internally required. But in any case you have a narrow group of courses that are truly mandatory "must take" courses that will be tracked/reported and escalated if necessary (the rest are "should take" or "may take" courses). This has the additional benefit of creating a very high bar for stakeholders to get over if they want their course to be in this small group.... it forces a level of discipline and focus on the organization.

Genuinely hope this helps!

Ashwin Sekar

I totally agree with you, Bob! COGNITIVE OVERLOAD, I used the same word in one my meetings last week when we were discussing this issue. My goal is to come up with a comprehensive list of courses that are mandated by the regulatory bodies and need to be tracked. These courses will then be placed in a group which might be called "Mandatory or Compliance".

So when employees get assigned to a course that falls under this category, they would know that it is mandatory and has to be completed within a certain time frame. Also, this would help us to stay on top of our compliance dashboard.