Using ADDIE to Optimize Your Compliance Training Curriculum

Part 1: Analysis

This is the first post in our series on using the ADDIE learning model as a framework for building a better compliance training curriculum. We begin with the A (Analysis) stage of the model as a first step for creating or refreshing a curriculum.

With so many compliance concerns piling up in your inbox, it can be hard to take the time to pause and analyze your training needs without rushing towards solutions. But until you have a clear picture of  your needs, how can you be sure the solutions you are deploying really address them?

Whether you are creating your company’s first compliance training plan or working with a mature plan that has evolved over time, don’t skimp on the analysis. Otherwise, you risk creating a convoluted curriculum with redundancies, gaps, and an uneven emphasis on content over risk. And while analysis is an ongoing task, taking the time to conduct a formal analysis that looks at the big picture and gives you a foundation to build (or rebuild) from is important.

Start with the Risks

One way to begin your analysis is to list all of the activities your employees engage in that contain some form of compliance risk. After all, if your ultimate goal is to reduce risk, why not put those risks front and center in your planning?

We’re all familiar with the annual risk assessments that virtually all life science companies perform. They provide an overview of macro areas of risk and are therefore good overall guidance for compliance professionals. However, it is important to also consider the “risks within the risks.” The key here is to be granular enough so that you build an informative picture of the risks your company faces – one that gives you the flexibility to address risks that apply to different audiences, in different ways, and at different frequencies.

For example, to simply list “speaker programs” as a risk glosses over the individual activities involved in a speaker program that expose different people to various types, levels, and frequencies of risk. These could include speaker selection, attendee tracking, program meals, and the handling off-label questions.

Identify Your Learners

Next, it’s time to identify the groups of individuals who are potentially exposed to the risks you have listed. You could create these groups as columns that bisect your rows of risk activities. Again, it’s important to achieve the right level of specificity. Under the commercial umbrella, for example, you’ll want to break out field sales, sales operations, marketing, etc. so you can recognize the different needs for each function.

Add Risk Levels and Frequency

Not all risks are created equal; nor do they occur with the same frequency for the same groups of employees. It’s important to recognize both of these factors when analyzing your training needs.

The value of distinguishing activities that present higher levels of risk is obvious, but frequency is just as important. Someone who engages in a high-risk activity on a frequent basis has a different learning need than someone who engages in the same activity on a less frequent basis.

Since risk level and frequency can vary for each learner group, you can further divide your columns and assign risk levels and frequency, as shown in this example.

Next Step: Design

Completing the activity described above is not necessarily a quick and easy task, and you may need input from others to ensure its completeness and accuracy, but it’s a critical first step toward designing (or redesigning) a better compliance training curriculum to help you reduce risk across your company. And that will be the topic of our next blog post as we move on to the D in the ADDIE model, Design.

In the meantime, if you’d like a complimentary template of the spreadsheet described in this post, which we call the Compliance Curriculum Analysis Tool (CCAT), email us at We’ll be happy to show you the tool and ideas on how to use it.

Thanks for reading!

Dave Correale
Senior Instructional Designer

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