How to use Microsoft Teams for learning

Making the classroom accessible online has now become critical. An effective way is to use Microsoft Teams. This makes it possible to in a short time create training that is engaging, takes place directly at work and in a social context.

With Teams, you can mix instructor-led web lessons, video tutorials, tests/questions, assignments, and discussions and collaboration. In the article I describe how it can look and share my experiences.

Right now, many are working hard to move the most critical courses online. I have also talked to educational providers who have had all opportunities cancelled. It’s not small volumes. Despite many years of digitisation, most courses are still conducted in classrooms. On the site, for example, 97% of the hours offered in classrooms.

So how do we quickly move critical courses online?

Instructor-led web lessons with platforms such as Zoom, Webex, or Adobe Connect are the obvious solution. After a first session with participants, the recording is also available. Another solution is to create simple eLearning. Tools like Articulate Rise let subject matter experts and teachers create content themselves. For example, when Ericsson launched 4G created subject-experts in a few months 200 short (10-20 min) lessons.

Both methods solve part of the problem, the lessons themselves. However, there are challenges that we do not solve with webinar/eLearning:

  • To keep courses and programs together with many lessons and other activities.
  • To include tasks in the work and encourage “Learning Transfer”.
  • To create commitment and activity so that the participants actually get through the entire course/ program.
  • To spread out activities in time so that we counteract the “curve of forgetfulness”.

One solution is to use collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. I have just completed a major program that I conducted entirely in Teams and share here my experiences.

Learn where you work

With Teams, learning takes place where we work. When we create a course in Teams, it’s next to our other groups that we use for work. We see when others post and can quickly switch to doing activities in the program when we have a gap.

Create learning flows

With Team’s built-in channels and tabs, we get a structure/flow on the application that we recognize from other work. We can now connect individual web lessons and other tutorials to educational feeds.

Social learning

Adding social impact greatly increases our motivation to take and complete programs. In Teams, all learning takes place within the group. We share opinions, experiences and ask questions about the content and data in the program. The very flow of posts is at the heart of Teams.

Include video for tutorials

We easily add tutorials in the form of video, PDF documents, Office documents, or eLearning. An important aspect is that the self-study, passive viewing, listening or reading, will not be the central thing, as in many online courses. It will support the flow of activities.

Add questions and activity

Questions and tests we create in Microsoft Forms. We use them to help the participant control their learning, of “practicing” on remembering, reflecting and structuring their learning.

Teams is work and we also want to link learning to new behavior at work. With standard office documents (or posts), we create instructions and tasks to work with, then add posts where participants discuss, share their experiences, or ask questions.

Build on with apps

Tasks to be done at work, described in posts or documents combined with questions encouraging the learning process go a long way in my opinion. An additional step is to use some of the hundreds of apps available to add. Examples include Quizlet for creating interactive queries or BrainBot for AI-based repetitions/reminders.

It is also easy to integrate more advanced interactive training. In the picture below I have put in a course made in Articulate Rise.

Web meetings as part of the flow

Web meetings are usually a way for the teacher to communicates knowledge. Personally, I think that meetings are better used for questions, explanations and group discussions. The communication should be completed before, through the participants, for example watched a recording of the teacher. To create a “close” feeling in the discussions, you can use group rooms with a maximum of 4 participants in each group.

Produce the training

Moving a course from the classroom to Teams is fast. You reuse most of it and create all the content in Office365. With Teams, you create the structure and social interaction, Word you use for tasks and work materials, Questions for Questions/Tests, and PowerPoint to record videos and tutorials.

On April 22, I’ll start the“Designing Engaging Training Courses in Microsoft Teams”program. In the program, you can learn what it takes to quickly create applications in Teams.

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