Making classroom training accessible online has now become critical. An effective way is to use Microsoft Teams. This makes it possible to do this in a short time creating training that is online, is connected to work and in a social context.

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

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

So how do we quickly move critical courses online?

Instructor-led web lessons using platforms such as Zoom, Webex, or Adobe Connect are the obvious solution for moving courses online. After having the lesson, a recording is also available.

Another solution for rapid digitalisation is to create simple eLearning. Basic tools like Articulate Rise let subject matter experts and teachers create content themselves. For example, subject matter experts created over 200 shorter (10-20 min) elearnings when Ericsson launched 4G. All in just a few months.

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

  • To aggregate many lessons and activities into courses and programs.
  • To include assignments done in work and encourage “Learning Transfer”.
  • To encourage commitment and activity so that the participants actually completes the entire course/program.
  • To distribute activities in time to fight the “forgetting curve”.
A one day classroom course is distributed to many activities.

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

Learn where you work

With Teams, we can bring learning closer to work. When we create a training in Teams, it’s next to our other teams we use for work. We see when others post and can quickly switch to doing activities in the program when we have opportunity.

Teams for learning close to teams for work (Swedish).

Create learning journeys

With Team’s built-in channels and tabs, we get a structure/flow on the course/program that we recognize from other work. We can now connect individual web lessons and self-study content into a learning journey.

Program structure with channels and tabs in teams (Swedish).

Social learning

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

Discussion on an assignment (Swedish).

Include video for tutorials

We can easily add self-study content 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 main task as in many online courses. It merely supports the flow of activities.

Viewing a video in a lessons (Swedish).

Add questions and activity

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

A quiz made in Microsoft Forms added in a tab (Swedish).

Teams are work and we also want to link learning to new behavior at work. We also want to link learning to new behavior at work. With standard office documents (or posts), we create instructions and assignments done at work, then add posts where participants discuss, share their experiences, or ask questions on the assignments.

An assignment template made in Microsoft Word (Swedish).

Expand interactivity with apps

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

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

An elearning added in a tab (Swedish).

Web meetings to facilitate the learning process

Web meetings are usually a way for the instructors to present knowledge. Personally, I think meetings are better used for questions, explanations and group discussions. Consuming content should be completed before the lesson, e.g. participants watching a video of the presentation. To create a close feeling in the discussions, you can use group rooms with a maximum of 5 participants in each group.

Break-out room in Microsoft Teams.

Produce the training

Moving the course content from the classroom to Teams is done quickly. You reuse most of the content and create all the new content in Office 365. With Teams, structure and social interactions are created. Word is used for assignments and instructions, Forms for quizzes and tests and PowerPoint to record videos and tutorials.

Using PowerPoint to record instructor presenting content

Interested in how to proceed with adding courses Teams? I´m right now in the process of translating my courses on how to work with Teams. Send me an email if you´re interested.

Posted by 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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