I recently spoke with an HR person at a mid-sized company, and an IT leader at a smaller non-profit organization. Both conversations were about Office 365 training for their employees.
It was clear that they were both conceptually on-board with providing training for their teams…but they were having trouble picturing how online training would work.
So I thought it might be useful to provide a sample training plan. Our experience has proven that this type of training can be delivered effectively (and very affordably!) using remote technologies.
I hope this will help you envision the types of activities that make up a successful Office 365 training strategy, and help you feel confident that an online training solution can be ideal.
First, get everybody on the same page
Before you set off on any training initiative, we encourage you to have a clear goal in mind. Office 365 is a vast suite of tools, some of which will be familiar, while others may feel foreign and intimidating to your team.
You don’t have to leverage every capability right out of the gate. Good Office 365 training should be ongoing rather than flooding employees with oceans of information at the start.
Work with IT and meet with your training provider to focus in on using a few of the tools well. Determine which software and features will initially bring the most benefit to your organization.
Here’s the sample training plan
|Increase awareness of Office 365||Live webinars provide an overview of Office 365 and rationale for why it is important/useful||All employees should attend a live introductory webinar or watch the webinar recording at their earliest convenience|
Obtain a working familiarity with the Office 365 environment
90-minute online classes with a live instructor and hands-on practice exercises. Up to 10 participants per class
|All employees should attend Office 365 101 and Office 365 102|
|Improve skills in job-related software||Self-guided video training appropriate to job responsibilities||Each team identifies areas of opportunity where Office 365 apps/features can benefit their work. Each employee then watches the assigned training videos.|
|Boost productivity through a deeper understanding of available apps and features||Occasional, ongoing live webinars with time for Q&A. Webinar recordings will be available for future reference||Employees may either attend live webinars or watch the recordings as appropriate to job responsibilities|
|Attain mastery of advanced skills||Additional online classes or additional video training||Invest in additional training for "super-users" who are empowered to help their peers become more efficient using Office 365|
Online is sufficient…even superior
An online training solution such as KnowledgeWave can deliver all of the activities outlined in the sample training plan through webinar technology, virtual classrooms and video libraries. And of course, good ole’ phone calls whenever needed!
In fact, online is probably a better choice because it’s not a one-time event like an in-person class. The online classes are offered on an ongoing basis, so new employees can sign up anytime and anybody who is struggling can typically retake a class for free. The webinars are recorded for anybody to watch in the future, and the videos are available on-demand as well.
And as you’ve probably noticed, Microsoft has shifted to releasing more frequent updates, especially when it comes to Office 365. To the point where it’s tough for the average employee to keep up and get value out of the latest features. That’s why online Training-as-a-Service is perfect for ongoing Office 365 training.
Bonus: How to identify areas of opportunity
In what ways can Office 365 make the most positive impact for your team? Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:
- Empowering mobility: enjoy the “work from anywhere” benefits of Office 365, across a variety of devices from different locations
- Streamlining communications: make effective use of the Office 365 approach to email, calendar, tasks and more
- Collaborating on content: share and store files using SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business
- Improving meetings: use Skype for Business and information-sharing tools like SharePoint or OneNote to help people work together more efficiently
- Fostering teamwork with tools like OneNote, SharePoint, and Planner
Office 365 has specific applications and features that can contribute to each of these goals. You can focus your training based on your desired outcomes.