One of the most challenging aspects of being an IT administrator in the cloud era is staying on top of new releases to your business’s technology. Cloud IT providers are continually enhancing platforms from the center. This has many benefits, but it can be difficult to keep track of what’s changing - and decide what is important for your business.
Recently, Microsoft announced a new Employee Experience & Engagement platform, that will be added natively to the Microsoft Teams platform, Microsoft Viva. If you are a Microsoft Teams administrator or IT manager, this technology is likely to have a significant impact on the working lives of your colleagues.
Microsoft Viva comprises four key modules:
- Viva Learning: An app that aggregates learning content in MS Teams.
- Viva Connections: A curated company news and resources hub in MS Teams.
- Viva Topics: A solution that connects people with organizational knowledge.
- Viva Insights: A wellbeing hub that provides personalized activity insights.
Depending on your role, each of these modules will have a different bearing on your job.
In this blog, we are going to focus on Microsoft Viva Learning (in forthcoming blogs in this series we will explore the other modules in greater detail).
What is Viva Learning?
Viva Learning is essentially a training aggregation app that appears in Microsoft Teams. When a Microsoft Teams user opens up the Viva Learning app they will see a number of courses curated for them. The courses they see will be relevant to their job title, skill set and experience. The user will be able to consume training from a variety of content providers and training systems all aggregated into the Viva Learning app.
Here's we imagine it working: imagine you are a Marketing Assistant at a medium sized business. From right within Microsoft Teams, you click on the Viva Learning app and you see training articles and videos from a variety of providers. This might include your company’s own training content as well as various third-party training apps or websites. Instead of leaving your Microsoft Teams environment to brush up on your marketing skills, you can access all of that information from right within the app where you spend your days.
Learn more: Microsoft Viva Overview
Why do we need Viva Learning?
There is already a wide variety of learning options for organizations to train their staff. So why do we need Viva Learning? Some of the key reasons Microsoft decided to introduce this technology includes:
- People are spending more time in Microsoft Teams
Due to the pandemic and the rise in remote working, Microsoft Teams has become a central hub where many people now spend their days at work. It therefore makes sense to bring training direct to the user where they spend time - rather than expecting them to go elsewhere for their learning.
- Addresses common training challenges
Viva Learning attempts to overcome some of the most common challenges when it comes to training staff. If people have to go out of their way to find learning, it is relatively unlikely that they will actually do it. What is more, because there is so much training available it can be very hard for individual employees to decide what they need to focus on. Viva Learning brings the most relevant training to the individual in the place they spend most time. That means they’re more likely to actually learn.
What content will you see in Viva Learning?
Microsoft has so far announced integrations with a variety of training content providers and learning management system (LMS) companies.
Content that will be immediately available comes from a variety of sources including:
- Your company’s own learning resources
- Microsoft Learning
- LinkedIn Learning
Articles and videos from these sources will appear right within Microsoft Teams and can be accessed by any user.
In terms of Learning Management System (LMS) integrations, Microsoft Viva has so far announced collaborations with:
- Cornerstone OnDemand
- SAP SuccessFactors
Later this year Microsoft also plans to make APIs available so that other LMS platforms can also integrate into Viva Learning.
How will employees find training in Microsoft Viva Learning?
Viva Learning is almost like a Spotify for company training. What this means is that the app is focused on self-discovery and recommendations based on the individual’s profile and learning history – just like the popular music streaming app.
Opening up the app, the user can search for terms and find training based on their current needs and interests.
Take our example of a marketing assistant. Perhaps she wants to read her company’s guidelines for social media campaigns. She simply opens up the Viva Learning app within Teams and enters search terms. The relevant training sections or documents will then appear for her.
- Recommendations based on the Microsoft Graph
Microsoft Graph is a powerful AI tool that underpins Microsoft 365. It gets to know the individual and how they use the platform. Based on various data points related to their profile and activity, it will start to recommend training sessions in Viva Learning that it estimates might be relevant to them.
Here’s how it might work for our fictional marketing assistant. Over time, the Microsoft Graph starts to notice she is reading a lot of training articles about social media marketing. Based on this activity Viva Learning might start to surface articles and videos about more advanced aspects of social media marketing which could help that employee further enhance her skills.
- Training assignments from managers
Managers can also use Viva Learning to assign training tasks to colleagues. If they decide an employee or the whole team needs additional learning on a specific topic, they can assign training modules and verify whether or not they have been completed.
In our example of the marketing assistant, a manager might decide to set up one weekly training task to bolster her skill set.
How much does Microsoft Viva Learning cost?
Microsoft Viva Learning is an app which will appear right within your Microsoft Teams environment. The app itself is free of charge and much of the training content provided by Microsoft is also free, as of course is any your company’s own training content that appears in the app.
To make the most of Viva Learning, however, you are likely to want to connect your existing LMS into the app. This should be fairly straightforward once more APIs are made available, and will not represent an extra cost beyond what you are already paying for the subscription.
When will Viva Learning become available?
At the time of writing, Viva Learning is still in private preview. A small number of handpicked organizations around the world are currently trying out the platform to give feedback to Microsoft. However, from April 2021 the public preview will become available, and any organization can request to begin using it.
We don't yet have dates for general availability, but it is expected that the Viva Learning app will become generally available at some point later this year.
Watch the 'Microsoft Viva: Overview, Predictions, Q&A' Webinar to learn more now!
Predictions for Viva Learning
So, what does the arrival of Viva Learning mean for how organizations train their employees? Here are our predictions:
- Viva Learning will become a curated search engine for training
Employees will be able to seek out training modules that are highly relevant to them.
- Microsoft-centric LMS systems will integrate further
Any LMS system that already provides training related to Microsoft will adapt their solutions so that training content integrates easily with Microsoft Viva Learning.
- Complements existing learning systems
The Viva Learning app is fundamentally a training content aggregator. In this sense it does not really replace any other training environments. Instead, it enhances and complements your existing investments in business training and helps you to make more use of them.
Microsoft doing best by its customers
The launch of Microsoft Viva shows just how dedicated Microsoft is to the customer experience. Viva Learning represents a fantastic way of helping businesses get more from their training content and the training platforms they’ve invested in.
Ultimately Viva Learning supports the notion of providing training to people in context - which is something that we at VisualSP fully endorse. While Viva Learning is focused on aggregating training content into a single, easy-access app, VisualSP delivers training in a different way, by providing technology usage guides at the moment of need. In this way, the two solutions complement staff training at different levels. Learn more about how VisualSP works here.