Chapter 5 - Establishing a Hub

A visual accompaniment to an in-person workshop, "Building Your Microsoft 365 Training Program From The Inside" at the Microsoft 365 Collaboration Conference (Spring 2021)

Sean Bugler | @sbglr | June 11, 2021, 9:00AM PST
Image courtesy of remi zik | unsplash.com

Now that we've created a safe space to build (and break) things, and we've begun to gather some content worth sharing, it's time to start thinking about how we want to build up a presence for your organization's Microsoft 365 training program.

If your organization already has a robust program that just doesn't focus on Microsoft 365, or technology in general for that matter, things might look a little bit different for you as opposed to someone at an organization with zero training apparatus. That said, the core pillars of how we'll approach this remain the same.

A great place to start is The Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways solution, an open source project maintained by Microsoft itself. It's important to note that it's not an officially supported offering, so you'll need to be comfortable with self-support, although the team that maintains it is really responsive on GitHub."


Provisioning a home for your training program

  1. Navigate to the SharePoint look book: lookbook.microsoft.com
  2. Provision the Learning Pathways template

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If you're doing this on your own, it's a good idea to read the pre-deployment walkthrough here. Once deployed, you can (and should) check out the documentation available here.

  1. Explore the Learning Pathways module and configuration options. Given the relative frequency with which this has been updated, rather than risk a detailed description here, I'll just point to their home here: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/customlearning

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Overachiever note: You can create custom content packs for the Learning Pathways module. It's not a path for faint of heart, but it is possible. Click here to learn more.


Structure content to solve problems

There are very few people in the world that want to know how Excel works from start to finish. I know this, because I spent three years occasionally dusting off a three day Excel training series for supervisors who heard "we'd like to learn more about Excel" and immediately took that request at face value.

What we're looking for here is called scenario-based learning, and it's a powerful way to associate workplace relevance with educational resources. Put simply, scenario-based learning is about developing the skills necessary to solve specific workplace challenges, rather than just dumping a careers worth of know-how on someone's head and expecting them to intuit the context of what to use where, when.


Prove value, by providing value

That famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams comes to mind, "If you build it, they will come." Powerful stuff, but the reality is, at least in the workplace, that's only half true. You can build it, sure, and they'll come check it out. But if you want them to stay ("them" being your colleagues here), you've gotta give them a reason to. By focusing, at least initially, on specific workplace frustrations and desires, we provide immediately tangible value.

Some key ways we can structure our hub to offer value inlude:

  1. Showcasing better ways to do work-related tasks
  2. Providing just-in-time support when specific needs arise
  3. Help discover what they don't know they don't know (read that one slowly)

Once discussions have wrapped up, click the button below to proceed to Chapter 5.