When it’s not up to you: compliance training and decision-making

Training, as we think of it, involves decision-making. We design training for a particular job role by delineating the set of decision-making contexts—tasks—that make up the role, and we develop the content of the training by supplying those contexts with the same richness and ambiguity of detail that make them challenging on the job. When all goes well, the final products put people in realistic situations, challenge them to make decisions, and teach them the difference between good decisions and bad decisions by showing them the consequences of both.

It’s easy to see why the decision-making-based approach works for training that aims to teach people how to perform the tasks most central to their role. It works the same way chemistry lab worked: by providing an environment in which you are safe and free to explore connections between cause and effect, choice and consequence, reagent and distillate.

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