Ask Key Questions To Be Sure Your Employees Have Mastered Compliance

The Grace Hill training tip this week focuses on the third in the series on compliance training. Compliance training is important for landlords and property managers to keep up with ever-changing rental housing laws at federal, state and local levels.

By Ellen Clark

Measuring what employees have learned and retained is key to making sure they can use their learnings as they perform the responsibilities of their job.

This is the third post in a series about how to measure the effectiveness of your compliance training program.

Here are the first two parts in case you missed them.

Is Your Property Management Compliance Training Working?

 Why Completing All Compliance Training Is Critical To Your Protection

Eevery trainer knows that it isn’t enough to just complete compliance training. The point is for employees to learn and retain information, and apply what they learned on the job.

 If employees can’t demonstrate they grasp what’s been taught, it is very unlikely they will be able to apply the training to their jobs. With that goal in mind, here’s a short guide to developing learning assessments for your compliance training.

 Guide to compliance training assessments

No. 1 – Start with good learning objectives

 Learning objectives are succinct statements of the key things learners should know and be able to do as a result of instruction. Take time to craft your learning objectives; they will drive your assessments and instructional strategies. Focus on important behaviors, not minutiae.

Which do you want your employees to learn?

  • Identify the year HUD issued guidance on working with people with limited English proficiency?


  •  Apply strategies to comply with HUD’s guidelines and avoid discrimination against people with limited English proficiency?

Building your assessments from meaningful, performance-based learning objectives facilitates a more coherent and effective experience for your learners.

No. 2 – A well-crafted question will help you to identify what the learner knows

Write good questions.

Well-crafted questions ensure that responses truly reflect what the learner knows, rather than something else (e.g., the item was confusing, there were two correct answers, etc.).

Here are a few tips for writing good questions:

  • Each question should measure a specific learning objective, and should match the performance described in the objective.
  • Wording should be clear and simple, and free of extraneous information, jargon and acronyms.
  • Questions should not exhibit bias based on gender, ethnicity, disability, geography, etc.

Make sure multiple-choice questions have only one correct answer. All distractors should be plausible, and should reflect errors that people who don’t know the content would make

Use scenario-based questions that model real situations the learner will encounter on the job. Use your own experience or look at HUD claims or EEOC filings to get ideas for relevant, meaningful scenarios

 No. 3 – Using data to improve results over time

Reviewing data can help you to weed out bad questions over time, improving the accuracy of the information you get from your assessments.

Use data to improve your learning measures over time.

 There are technical ways to understand whether learning assessments are functioning well or not – we won’t get into those here. Even without technical know-how, you can (and should) use data to improve your assessments.

What compliance training questions do most employees get wrong?

For example, periodically look at the questions a majority of learners get wrong.

  • Is there something tricky about the question?
  •  Are there two plausible right answers?

If so, fix the question. Weeding out bad questions over time will help you improve the accuracy of the information you get from learning assessments.

 Assessment writing is complex, but being thoughtful about the basics will go a long way in helping you measure how well your compliance training is working.

Start with good learning objectives, craft clear and meaningful questions that are closely aligned with learning objectives, and use data to improve your assessments over time, and you will begin on firm footing.

Read Ellen’s full blog post here.

About the author:

Ellen Clark is the Director of Assessment at Grace Hill.  Her work has spanned the entire learner lifecycle, from elementary school through professional education. She spent over 10 years working with K12 Inc.’s network of online charter schools – measuring learning, developing learning improvement plans using evidence-based strategies, and conducting learning studies. Later, at Kaplan Inc., she worked in the vocational education and job training divisions, improving online, blended and face-to-face training programs, and working directly with business leadership and trainers to improve learner outcomes and job performance. Ellen lives and works in Maryland, where she was born and raised.