Case-Based Learning Key to Training
Not all training is created equal. In a sea of competing corporate mandates, understanding why one training program is fundamentally better than another requires an understanding of the intellectual, emotional, and meaning-making needs of the employee-as-adult-learner. Case-based learning helps to accomplish that.
Effective training cannot simply focus on the topics we want to impart. It needs to be fashioned around what the learner is ready to learn. When it comes to compliance training, we need to move away from asking ourselves what we want to teach and move towards asking what can be learned. As such, a learner-centric approach to training insists upon the recognition of characteristics specific to adult learners.
In particular, the adult learner has a default learning expectation that they will be presented with relevant information that can be used immediately and that is of discernible value. These learning needs demand a clear mandate, clear objectives, valuable feedback, and equal opportunities to both act and reflect upon the subject matter.
Using case studies to facilitate learning has long been celebrated as one of the best ways to encourage critical and experiential thinking skills. Case-based learning is advantageous because case studies can be tailored endlessly while giving the learner an opportunity to experiment, to explore, to evaluate, according to a 2012 psychological study in the context of ethics and code of conduct training.
What makes compliance and ethics training valuable? First, recognizing that the training has to meet the trainee where they are ready to learn.
Case-based studies connect directly to the learning expectations of the adult learner: there’s realism, clear utility, and an opportunity to “act” through an experience rather than passively consume the training content. It refines problem solving that could be applied in nearly any context within and beyond training and allows for content-specific introspection and reflection.
Valuable training begins and ends with a willing learner and training that is guided by their needs. Compliance training can meet this goal by incorporating case studies from enforcement actions, case law, and employee stories about complying with the law and internal policies.