Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways – What’s In It For You


Have you ever wondered how to handle Microsoft 365 training for your users? With the myriad of options available, we’d like to cover one that is clearly a quick win.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways Demo

What is Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways?

Microsoft 365 learning pathways is a customizable, self-paced learning solution created to encourage the usage and adoption of the Microsoft 365 suite in your organization. Learning Pathways offers a fully customizable SharePoint Online communication site, serving the purpose of a training portal, easy provisioning from the SharePoint Look Book, the ability to create your own training playlists with custom assets, a custom web part to surface training content across your SharePoint site collections, and always up-to-date documentation of the Microsoft 365 suite.

Key Points

  • When: Generally available, released in April 2019
  • How: Easy provisioning from the SharePoint Look Book
  • What: Provides a customizable training portal for the Microsoft 365 suite

Main Benefits

  • Fully customizable: You can add your organization’s help, support, and community content.
  • Up-to-date content: Updated quarterly by Microsoft, fully automated.
  • Easy setup: Get the portal running in a few minutes with a couple of clicks.
  • Multilingual: Supports nine languages out-of-the-box

Use Cases

  • Centralized location for all training content
  • Raising the technical literacy of the users
  • Documentation for custom solution with training in context

What training materials are available?

The Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways training materials are mostly self-paced videos and articles. They are organized in three categories, where you have subcategories e.g., under the Products category, you would find the SharePoint subcategory. The three categories are:

  • Get Started: First Days, Recommended

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - Get Started

  • Scenarios: Modern workplace, Work remotely, Security, Hybrid workplace

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways Scenarios

  • Products: Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Microsoft 365 Basics, Planner, Microsoft Forms, Sway, Accessibility, Access, Office for the web, Lists

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways Products

You cannot add your own categories at this time.

Within the Subcategories, you would find Playlists, e.g., SharePoint Online Quick Start, Create sites, posts, and lists. You can add your own playlists or copy a playlist to another subcategory. By default, each playlist exists into one subcategory. You would most likely end up creating custom playlists as you can’t add or remove something from the standard ones.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - SharePoint Playlist

How do I get Learning pathways?

If you don’t have learning pathways provisioned in your Microsoft 365 tenant yet, you should use the SharePoint Look Book service to add the learning pathways solution.

  • Note: If you already have learning pathways provisioned in your tenant, it’s recommended that you update learning pathways. If you install a new instance of learning pathways, you will need to manually transfer any customizations from the existing site to the new site.

Prerequisites:

  • You must be a Tenant Administrator of the tenant where learning pathways will be provisioned.
  • A tenant App Catalog must be available within the Apps option of the SharePoint Admin Center.
  • You must be a Site Collection Owner of the Tenant App Catalog.
  • The admin account that will provision the learning pathways should not have a language selected to ensure multilingual support will be enabled.

Provisioning steps:

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - Add to your tenant

  • Note: If you aren’t already signed into to your tenant, the Provisioning Service will ask for your Microsoft 365 Tenant Admin credentials.
  • From the Permissions requested dialog box, select Consent on behalf of your organization and then select Accept.
  • Note: The look book service requires these permissions to create the tenant App Catalog, install the application into the tenant App Catalog and provision the site template. There’s no overall impact on your tenant. These permissions are explicitly used for the purpose of the solution installation. You must accept these permissions to continue with the installation.
  • Complete the fields on the provisioning information page as appropriate for your installation. The essentials are the URL where the portal will be provisioned and the e-mail address where you wish to get the notification when the provisioning process is complete.
  • Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways provisioning settingsThe next screen is mostly informational, so you just click Confirm.
  • Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - What will be provisionedThe provisioning process can take up to 15 minutes. You will get a confirmation on the next screen that its status is complete and an e-mail notification on the e-mail address you’ve provided previously.
  • Validate Provisioning Success and Initialize the CustomConfig List
  • When provisioning is complete, you get an email from the look book service.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - Provisioning completed

Click on the Open Site button and append the path as in the example: <YOUR-SITE-COLLECTION-URL>sites/<YOUR-SITE-NAME>/SitePages/CustomLearningAdmin.aspx. Opening CustomLearningAdmin.aspx initializes the CustomConfig list item that sets up learning pathways for first use. You should see a page like this:

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways Custom Learning Admin

  • Add Owners to the site.

Owners have administrative privileges on the site so they can modify site pages and rebrand the site. They also can hide and show content and build custom playlist and subcategories. Owners are the people that are likely to be involved with customizing the Learning Pathways solution to meet your organizational needs.

  1. From the SharePoint Settings menu, click Site Permissions.
  2. Click Advanced Permission Settings.
  3. Click Microsoft 365 learning pathways Owners.
  4. Click New > Add Users to this group, and then add the people you want to be Owners.
  5. Click Share.
  • Add translators to the site.

If you will be using translators for the site, you can assign them permissions. Translators require Member permissions or higher. In the Translator column, start typing the name of a person you want to be a translator, and then select the name from the list.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - Add translators

  • Note: Anyone with a profile in organization’s Azure Active Directory, including Guests users can be assigned as a translator. It’s important to remember that once assigned as translators, users will not automatically be given the needed permissions. When someone without edit permissions to a site tries to access the site, they will be directed to a web page where they can request access, so make sure you add them to the Members group in parallel with adding them as translators.
  • Multi-lingual considerations

The SharePoint look book service will provision the Learning Pathways site in nine languages by default. We recommend that you:

  • Turn off the languages your organization doesn’t want to support.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - Remove language

  • Note: You can’t remove English as it’s the default language.
  • Turn off the multi-lingual feature completely if you are not planning to use it.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - Turn off multi-lingual support

  • Choose if you want to Overwrite translations from the advanced settings.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways - Overwrite translations

How does Learning Pathways look like?

This is how the provisioned training portal looks like. It’s a nice, organized site, packed with web parts and ready to be customized to your needs. It is visually appealing since it’s based on the Communications site template.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways Home Page

You can fully customize the site to your needs.

How to drive adoption?

  • Communicate about the launch of the Microsoft 365 learning pathways portal to your users.
  • Connect Microsoft 365 learning pathways to common tasks that your users can learn or improve upon, something that they most likely do daily and will get value out of the solution.
  • Sustain the communications campaign over a period so your users have an opportunity to comprehend the message.
  • Encourage feedback through reliable channels – e.g., create a Learning Pathways team in Microsoft Teams or a Yammer community if you are using Yammer.
  • Reach out to key business leaders in your organization and encourage them to build playlists for common tasks and processes that they would like their team members to learn.
  • As the “go-to” channel for end user “how to” questions, your service desk can help promote your Microsoft 365 learning pathways site as an alternative to end users creating a new ticket.
  • Customize the site with relevant content to generate demand e.g., how users in your organization can use Microsoft 365 to complete company specific processes more efficiently.
  • Integrate the Learning Pathways portal into Teams. It’s a SharePoint Online Communication site, so you can add it as a tab in your Teams channel.
  • Hide unnecessary material to avoid users feeling cluttered. For example, if your organization is not using Yammer, hide Yammer training materials from Learning Pathways.
  • Create an adoption plan for the rollout of Microsoft 365 learning pathways in your organization.
  • Pilot your customized version of Microsoft 365 learning pathways with a representative group of end users and do a dry run of your adoption plan. Based on feedback from the pilot iterate a final adoption plan.

Conclusion

The Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways solution is as simple and straightforward as it gets. It’s a quick and easy entry point to Microsoft 365 knowledge, fitting some organizations’ training strategies. It does provide value immediately after deployment, however manual tweaking is almost always inevitable. Keep in mind though, it’s not a complete Learning Management System by any means, it’s more an information portal, with quarterly automated updates outsourced to Microsoft. This to some extent takes away the burden than a person or a team must carry in your organization otherwise. We know it can be challenging for everyone to find time and willingness for self-paced training, especially nowadays in this hybrid workspace when most knowledge workers are overwhelmed with meetings, so we’re here to solve that for you. Reach out to Impactory to discuss your organization’s Microsoft 365 training needs and find out about our approach to deliver effective trainings for our customers.

Additional Resources

  1. You’ve already found out the basic resources in Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways, and you’re looking for a custom tailored, more in-depth training for your organization. Check out our Training services and reach out to us to discuss your needs.
  2. You deploy the Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways from the SharePoint Look Book. Curious to learn more about it? Check out our Get Started with the SharePoint Look Book blog post.

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