6 Online Training Requirements for Microsoft Office 365 UsersJune 9, 2020
The recent, rapid growth of Microsoft Teams has shown that organizations are sold on its potential to energize remote work and collaboration. Unfortunately, Gartner has found that many users are “not sufficiently adept” with Office 365 and Teams. In this post, I will outline 6 key requirements for online training solutions that can boost the proficiency of your Office 365 and Teams users. While this post is not meant as an exhaustive list, it does describe many of the core features and functions that organizations should seek when considering an online training solution for their Office 365 users. The goal of these requirements is to improve user productivity and yield higher employee satisfaction, creating a win-win for the organization.
While this post is not meant as an exhaustive list, it does describe many of the core features and functions that organizations should seek when considering an online training solution for their Office 365 users.
1. Ease of Use
While ease of use is always a solution aspect we should demand, it is especially crucial for training users to learn new applications and new ways of performing their work. The solution should be easy for IT to set up and maintain, and from the user perspective, the training resources need to be easy to access, easy to find the courses and lessons they need, and easy to keep the user on-track long-term as they continually enhance their skills.
Easy to Set Up and Maintain
For IT, it starts with being easy to set up and prepare the solution for use. It should be a simple and straight-forward process to add all of your users in bulk for the initial launch and also be easy to maintain going forward to onboard new hires and offboard departing staff.
Easy to Access
As for user access, the training resources should be in a centralized, online location that users can easily access on-demand via a URL, a Microsoft app, or lives in an existing corporate Learning Management System (LMS). And preferably, it will use their existing user credentials to automatically log them in.
Easy to Find the Right Content
Users should be able to easily find the content they need. The solution should have a simple navigation structure of courses and lessons and the ability to search when users need to quickly learn how to perform a task unfamiliar to them.
Easy to Keep Users On-Track
Lastly on the ease of use topic, the solution should help to keep users on track with their training. The solution should make it easy for users to see which lessons and courses they have completed, those that are still in process, and those which are yet to do. Users should also receive alerts when new training resources are made available and managers should be able to create reminders that alert their direct reports of expected due dates for completing specific courses.
2. Great Educational Content
While great content is as obvious as ease of use, it still needs to be said that the content must be compelling, it needs to accurately convey the subject matter now and as the technologies evolve, and it should cover all of the core topics a Microsoft 365 user would need to learn new applications and skills.
Expertly Developed Content
The development of the content should be directed by those with an intimate knowledge of the Microsoft 365 applications, like Microsoft MVPs, alongside those skilled in constructing coursework and lessons.
Covers the Topics a Microsoft 365 User Needs
The learning content needs to cover all of the capabilities of Microsoft 365 and be periodically refreshed to reflect the new capabilities that Microsoft continues to roll out in their cloud. The content should also cover some of the basics of computing, security and compliance, and other key professional skills.
3. Supports In-Depth and Task-Based Learning
The content should be structured to support the users whether they need to learn a new application or simply need to know how to perform a specific task. Ideally, the course content for each application would be broken down into brief ‘bite-size’ chunks that enable users to use the same content for either in-depth or task-based learning.
Courses that provide in-depth content are needed to assist users in learning applications that are new to them. These courses should cover all of the basic functionality of an application, but they should be provided in small segments that make it easier for users to use and retain the knowledge being imparted. This partitioning of content also helps users to track where they left off if they need to tackle the course over time as fits their schedule.
Breaking down in-depth courses into brief lessons not only benefits users in using and retaining new skills, it makes it easier for them to quickly find “how to” instructions to any unfamiliar tasks they need to perform whenever the need arises.
4. An Engaging Learning Experience
An engaging learning experience is one that combines compelling, rich media content that supports multiple modes of learning with a consistent and well-structured learning experience.
Compelling, Rich Media Content
The courses and lessons should provide the users with a compelling learning experience that supports a variety of learning preferences with a rich, but consistent, use of media. Because different users learn in different ways, having the content in a mix of media types will enhance the effectiveness of the training. The primary content at the core of each lesson should be an illustrative “how to” video that visually and audibly instructs users how to perform specific tasks step-by-step. The videos should be supplemented with other content like course outlines, quick reference guides, and text-based versions of the instructions in the videos.
Consistent and Well-Structured Courses and Lessons
Each course should be composed of sections and lessons that divide and organize the learning material so that it can be tackled sequentially or used to answer ad hoc queries. And delivering the courses and lessons in a consistent structure, and with a consistent use of media, will help to build the confidence of your users to advance their learning over the long run.
When a user finds a lesson valuable and believes it would be beneficial to some of their colleagues, the solution should enable them to easily create a link to that lesson that they can share with others. This is primarily for sharing with other users within your organization, but a bonus would be if the solution enabled temporary links to external users that your internal users collaborate with.
5. Tailored Learning
Since not all users need the exact same training, a learning solution should allow managers to customize the courses and lessons available to their direct reports as well as assign specific courses or lessons to tailor their path of learning.
Customize the Available Courses and Lessons
A learning solution for Microsoft 365 users will have an expansive catalog of courses and lessons but some of the application courses may not be applicable to either the entire organization, or to specific groups of users within the organization. For instance, building applications in Microsoft PowerApps is probably not applicable to a wide swath of your users, so the ability to have it only appear in the course catalog for those users that might actually use PowerApps, reduces the clutter of courses for users that have no need for it.
Create Tailored Learning Paths
Managers may want their direct reports to learn a specific new set of skills or refresh their existing skills to enhance their productivity or take better advantage of changes in the applications. The learning solution should enable managers to select, order, and assign the courses and lessons they want their staff to learn in the sequence they deem is best. Ideally, it should also allow the managers to select lessons from multiple courses for skills and business processes that require the use of multiple applications.
6. Tracking and Recognizing Learning Achievements
Last, but not least, any learning solution you select should be able to track the progress of your users and recognize them for their achievements.
Tracking Learning Progress
To track the learning progress of your users, the solution should have built-in quizzes and exams to verify that the users are learning the skills they need. Dashboards can also help users see their progress at-a-glance as well as enable their managers to quickly check their progress. Additionally, the solution should offer reporting functionality for full visibility into the state of end-user learning.
Recognition of Achievements
Recognition helps to motivate users to accelerate and expand their learning. The learning solution should recognize the level of learning your users have achieved with badges of accreditation that gamify the results of learning. This recognition should be visible on dashboards they see, their managers see, and that are visible across the organization.
For more insights and an overview of our online learning solution, watch our on-demand webinar Driving Microsoft Office 365 User Adoption with On-Demand e-Learning. And if you’re looking to train your users on Office 365 and Teams right away, contact us to learn more about our e-Learning library solution today.