In late May, Microsoft released a beta preview of Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways, a training site based on SharePoint communication site with all the modern experience features. The content is kept current and Microsoft has plans in place to add more features to improve learner's experiences.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways replaces Custom Learning for Office 365, and as such, is a great starting point for organizations looking to expose their users to Office 365 features.

However, to make sure Office 365 is used to the fullest and as intended, you need to combine the five proven training, help and support programs: live training sessions, a training site, daily training emails, Q&A sessions and a one-click help add-on.

Also, you definitely need a help site of your own. Some sensitive training content that applies only to your company will need a knowledge center that is completely under your control.

With the offered training solution, all it takes is an easy provisioning setup and your company gets a SharePoint Online communication site as an out-of-the box customizable training portal.

Related Article: Why You Need a Custom SharePoint Help Site

Assume No One Will Start Using the Training Site

Expert trainers at Microsoft have already done the hard work of producing training videos and articles. Now all you have to do is get your employees to consume them.

The multitude of videos tutorials and articles on the site is enough to intimidate any learner. Most people wouldn't even know what to focus on. Guidance and follow-ups are needed. Also, it's not enough to broadcast an email inviting everyone to visit the training site. A little strategic long-term push is needed. This user adoption template may give you some ideas.

Push for Complete and Timely Content Consumption

Aim to have everyone go through the applicable content at least three times a year. To make that happen, design a plan of action steps that will ensure everyone is driven, guided, helped and rewarded until exposure to the training content is thorough and complete.

Sure, people forget most of what they learn within 24 hours of taking the class and Office 365 end users will not remember everything they learn on the site. But the training will give them the big picture on how Office 365 capabilities solve everyday business problems.

Also, an integral exposure to the site content helps people get an idea of where to find and review a tutorial at a time of need, reducing the amount of time it takes to search for help and the possibility they will contact the help desk.

To ensure everyone goes through the training content, include the following steps in your action plan.

1. Add your own content to the playlists

Even though Microsoft’s online content catalog provides enough content, you still need to add content that will educate your employees on your company's unique business processes. If needed, integrate other third-party content into the playlists.

Also add non-sensitive parts of your governance policies, regulatory compliance guidelines, best practices lists, etc.

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2. Enforce the learning timeframe

A task with a known deadline is always much more likely to be prioritized.

Learning Opportunities

Prioritize the tutorials that are more applicable to the most commonly performed tasks and workflows in your company. Break down the tutorials into three lists: beginner or priority, intermediate and advanced. The beginner or priority tutorials list usually includes generic content, governance policies, regulatory compliance guidelines and best practices. Advanced tutorials usually include content very specific to your Office 365 workflows. You may need to involve an expert to help on this task.

Next, set deadlines when employees are expected to complete each tutorials list, with one or two week breaks in between. To encourage early completion, make sure to reward those who complete the courses on time.

3. Host Q&A sessions to answer questions

After viewing the training content, end users will always have questions or topics that need clarification.

Run weekly face-to-face or online classroom-like sessions where an expert trainer, a member of your IT team, and a number of super-users answer questions and provide additional guidance.

Q&A sessions help minimize the number of help request tickets and give end users the opportunity to learn from their peers.

Schedule these events for the entire duration of the training process.

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Focus on Early Small Wins for User Adoption

While you are in the process of building and growing your own training, help and support site, give your employees access to a customized Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways training site the same day Office 365 deployment or migration begins. Or use the training site just to boost usage for the already deployed Office 365 in your organization.

Add non-sensitive company-specific content, leverage the power of playlists functionality, strategically push for timely consumption of the content, and schedule live sessions where employees improve understanding and benefit from what their colleagues already know.

Make Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways a starting point for your “growing a help site” program. User support activities like these result in greater Office 365 user adoption and is worth the effort.

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