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Home / Medien / How to use learning reinforcement to transform compliance…

How to use learning reinforcement to transform compliance…


The sheer pace and volume of regulatory change is a challenge for firms across all sectors. Organisations are having to spend a significant amount of time and money ensuring their compliance policies and training are kept up-to-date. 

According to Thomson Reuters’ Cost of Compliance 2017 report, which surveyed almost 900 compliance professionals worldwide, over half of firms expect their compliance budget to increase and 60% also expect to spend more on senior compliance staff. Some 70% of firms believe the focus on managing regulatory risk will rise and 42% expect their compliance teams to grow.

It’s easy to understand why organisations are investing so heavily. Failures can be disastrous, particularly if they concern data breaches. In one of the biggest ever breaches, 77 million Sony PlayStation Network accounts were compromised in 2011, leading to a multi-million dollar lawsuit.  And as recently as November 2017, Uber revealed a major data breach after hackers stole 57 million driver and rider accounts.  

The key to preventing breaches, cyber security lapses and other compliance failures is knowledge. Or rather, it’s remembering the knowledge. But the fact is, the human brain does not retain information well, regardless of how smart we are. The longer the passage of time, the more we forget, unless we use reinforcement. 

It’s what the German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus, over 100 years ago, termed ‘The Forgetting Curve’. He calculated that within an hour, an average of 50% - half! – of what we’ve just learnt is forgotten. Within a week, we’ve forgotten almost all of it – 90%. His theory has since been replicated by modern research. We have science to thank for providing us with the answer: we can work with our brains to reinforce knowledge. 

Brain science research shows that learning is reinforced by using three proven principles: the spacing effect, retrieval practice and confidence-based learning. Repeated testing and refreshing at spaced intervals helps us to remember what we need to know. The third element, confidence-based learning, is where learners achieve mastery by not only acquiring the knowledge, but also the confidence to use it correctly. 

Businesses in some of the most regulated sectors are now using personalised, adaptable and updatable learning reinforcement via the Axonify platform to boost knowledge and ensure compliance.

Healthcare & Pharma

Challenges: Hugely complex regulations which differ around the world; innovating with brand new products where regulations don’t exist yet; identifying new and emerging risks; building a culture based on ethics as well as rules.


Challenges: The fast pace of law changes; quoting the incorrect information to customers has costly implications; data protection; cyber breaches.

Case study: MCAP, a mortgage finance company in Canada, used continuous reinforcement training to achieve a knowledge uplift of  21% among call centre staff, a 20% reduction in escalations and an 86% call quality rating – in just 90 days.


Challenges: A wide range of health & safety legislation; driving and vehicle compliance; supply chain rules and regulations.


Challenges: Data protection risks of ‘total retail’; health & safety; regulation knowledge around new products and new markets; ethical, welfare and sustainability practice.

Looking ahead, compliance is going to become even more complex globally – and the penalties are set to become greater. With GDPR looming in May 2018, the onus is on L&D to make sure their organisations are ready. Learning reinforcement offers the best chance of keeping employees up-to-date and ensuring businesses remains compliant.

Michael Quann is Head of Learning Reinforcement at Sponge, working with global organisations to improve learning effectiveness, efficiency and engagement using new technologies and science-backed techniques.