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How to digitize training with Microsoft 365/Teams

Teams and apps in Microsoft 365 make it easy for instructors and subject matter experts to digitize training themselves. They also open up opportunities to move learning from the classroom to become a natural part of work.

In previous articles, I’ve described how to create engaging web lessons as an instructor and how I used Microsoft Teams to run more comprehensive program.

In this article, I will develop the description of Teams as a learning platform. The large user base, the ease of getting started as well as learning becoming social and being moved to work means that Teams will have a big impact on how we deliver training in the future.

Support “Learning Transfer”

In my last article, I gave 10 advice for facilitating web lessons. An instructor who follows the advice is likely to succeed in creating engaging lessons. However, we need to do more. As good as an instructor, students quickly forget what they’ve learned and few apply it at work.

A next step is therefore to support “learning transfer” with elements of self-study, web lessons and practice at work. The goal is to ensure that the participant really develops the new capability and applies it at work.

Instead of the instructors capability to facilitate lessons, we focus on supporting participant’s ability to develop and apply the new knowledge, thus building new capabilities We view learning as a process.

The picture below shows a typical learning process that begins with the participant being motivated and planning their learning and “ending” with them sharing experiences of having applied the capability at work (and of course continuously further developing it).

In order to support the learning process, there are several things we need to be able to do with the training:

  • Divide the course into smaller sessions and distribute over time.
  • Offer the opportunity to train/apply at work.
  • Facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing on the application of the knowledge.
  • Create commitment and consensus around goals and the new capabilities of employees and the manager.
  • Address larger issues such as change of processes, rewards, system design, culture, etc.

The Perfect Place for Programs

The purpose of this article is not to provide instructional advice on how to create the most effective blended solutions. Instead, I will show you how our most common “work tool” can be used for learning. Microsoft 365 with apps like Teams, PowerPoint, Forms, and Stream is a platform for instructors and subject matter experts who need to digitize their training while increasing the impact at work.

I recommend that you first read the article “How to use Microsoft Teams for learning“. In this article, I describe how to use Teams to:

  • Create learning flows with teams, channels, and tabs.
  • Add social learning with discussions and knowledge sharing.
  • Add video, articles, and eLearning for self-study.
  • Add quizzes and interaction with Microsoft Forms.

Instructors and subject matter experts already being familiar with the apps is an advantage. They can digitize their training themselves. Teams also offers other benefits:

  • The training naturally becomes social. Discussions and knowledge sharing are integrated into all activities.
  • Learning takes place close to work. A “team” for training can be next to a “team” the participant uses for a project or for knowledge sharing.
  • Reminders and discussions are integrated with other reminders and discussions at work.

A “seamless” transition between self-study and lessons

By using Teams for your content, you also create the prerequisite for more interactive web lessons. Switching between channel content and meeting view creates new opportunities for interactivity during Teams meetings.

From just having access to chat for creating dialogue and interaction, several opportunities are now opened up.

Include quizzes

By switching to a tab, you can ask students to answer questions. It can be a survey of opinions, knowledge tests or scenario questions. Or why not a contest in Kahoot. As an instructor you show the answers as they come in and lead a discussion around the results.

(Sorry for screen dumps being in Swedish)

Include a whiteboard

Teams meetings have a simple “whiteboard” to use. The problem is that you can only draw. To use it in practices, we need to be able to add images and text. An easy way to do this is to put your images in a PowerPoint slide which you then share in a tab. Participants can now collaborate by drawing and typing on the slide.

Break-out rooms

Teams meetings do not have break-out room functionality. By using channels as break-out rooms, students can quickly switch between the classroom and the group room. You can plan who have access to which break-out room before the session.

Rooms remain after the lesson is closed unlike many other platforms. This allows you to set-up the break-out room with instructions and tools to document the results on an ongoing basis, such as in OneNote.

Interactive self-study material

By digitizing the classroom, we avoid “sending” the knowledge in a single event. Learning is distributed over and driven by the participants. Meta-studies show how you can increase the effect of learning by 60% that way.

It also means that much of the content communicated by the instructor now needs to be transformed into smaller modules of self-study.

Normally, creating elearning, either with an external vendor or with tools like Articulate Storyline, has been a tedious process.

As instructors and subject matter experts create content themselves, they need simpler tools. Office 365, which most people are used to, offers PowerPoint, Forms, and Stream for that purpose.

Video with PowerPoint

With PowerPoint, instructors can easily create video themselves. Instructors records them self when presenting the content. It is easy to switch between full-screen video, recording the slides in a presentation, or recording the screen to, for example, while drawing on a whiteboard.

With PowerPoint, the instructor can also do a lot of editing. Some examples include trimming and removing sections of the video, cutting off parts in the background that should not be displayed, changing image quality, changing the shape of the video, and more.

The finished video is then exported as MP4 or directly to Stream.

Quizzes with Microsoft Forms

Forms is a tool from Microsoft Education that enables you to create surveys, quizzes and tests.

Creating the questions is easy while there is a lot of functionality to eg. add media as video, create feedback for the response options, and branching (to be used in scenarios).

A completed test or quiz can be customized in many ways. You can choose score on questions, whether the order of questions should be randomly ordered, whether the result should be saved or not, and also the graphic design.

Given that the participants are in your organization, you as an instructor are able to evaluate the results, grade free text questions or uploaded documents and give comments to the participants around individual questions or the test as a whole.

Evaluation can also be carried out at question level to identify areas where training needs to be improved.

Interactive video and “topic channels” with Stream

Stream is Microsoft’s Youtube channel. Here you can publish videos, evaluate traffic, and divide videos into “topic channels” that appear in Teams.

Stream combines videos with questions made in Forms. In this way, you integrate questions into the presentation to create focus, get the participant to reflect or test their understanding during the replay.

More interaction with apps

Microsoft Teams now has more than 60 apps made for training (May 20) and new apps are constantly being added. Here are some examples of apps that you can add to your program

Create more interaction

There are a number of apps to create more interaction in programs running in Teams. Examples are games like Kahoot. Another example is more interactive questions and study materials via Quizlet.

Create more collaboration

There are a number of apps to create creative collaboration in Teams by researching together, conducting brainstorm meetings, or post-it workshops. Some examples of apps are Microsoft WhiteBoard, InVision Freehand, and MURAL.

Manage tasks (at work)

An important part of blended programs is to create tasks that are done at work. One app that lets you as an instructor do this is TD Assignment. Here you can create tasks with instructions and then ask participants to respond by uploading a file or video.

A similar app is Flipgrid where you as instructor create an interactive discussion around scenarios or problems where participants then respond with video.

Make Teams the portal for all learning in your organization

Microsoft is now investing heavily in helping people during the current Skill shift. Examples of initiatives are Project Cortex, Learning Pathways, etc.

Josh Bersin recently wrote that Microsoft Teams is the platform that primarily enables “Learning in the flow of work” and now poses a threat to today’s LXP.

Many LXP and LMS currently have integration with Teams, or are planning it. At present, there is complete integration with, for example Cornerstone, SABA, Docebo, SuccessFactor and over 150 content providers.

This allows content from your LMS and a large amount of course libraries to be presented inside Teams. All of a sudden I was able to access 1,500 communication courses from my program in Teams.

This development changes learning from being a separate event in the classroom or in an LMS to becoming a critical part of work.

How do you do that?

How do you support instructors who are now digitizing classrooms? One way is to train teachers to use the apps in Microsoft 365.

A great way to get started with it is my e-Workout on June 3rd. There, you’ll learn how to create learning journeys, videos with PowerPoint/Stream, questions with forms, use additional apps, and more.

Author: Johan Skoglöf
Johan är visionär och senior konsult med missionen att hjälpa företag att skapa framtidens lärande organisation. Med över 25 år i branschen och kunder som Ericsson, Volvo, Scania, SEB, Handelsbanken, HM och ICA har Johan en bred erfarenhet i hur lärande organisationer skapas.

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