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Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways & VisualSP - A Match Made in The Cloud

By Asif Rehmani
Updated February 12, 2024

“We plan to use Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways for Office 365 user training; do we still need VisualSP?” This is the question companies have recently been asking.

The answer is yes.

To ensure that employees learn and actually use Office 365, even if you are using Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways, you still need to install VisualSP to provide in-context one-click help to your employees. VisualSP ensures successful user adoption of the platform.

Let's explain how.

Key advantages of using Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways

Recently, we have published 6 articles explaining the Optimal Training Strategy for Sustainable SharePoint and Office 365 User Adoption. Here is the bottom line: in order to implement change management that leads to successful and sustainable Office 365 user adoption, you need to follow a strategy that combines the 5 most effective training programs:

1. Running live training sessions

2. Growing a training site

3. Broadcasting daily training emails

4. Hosting Q&A sessions

5. Providing contextual help

To help their clients get started, Microsoft has provided a training site called Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways (formerly named Custom Learning), a standard SharePoint site built with all the Communication Site modern experience features. It is a training site you can use to jump-start SharePoint and Office 365 user adoption in your company. The training content and playlists are open-source and customizable.

It is a very helpful user training solution for companies that need to initiate usage of the platforms while building a custom training site that goes beyond the offered native capabilities. In many cases, a custom site or help site is needed in order to provide company-specific content for essentials such as workflows descriptions, governance policies, regulatory compliance guidelines, and best practices outlines.

Like any training site, Learning Pathways lacks capabilities that make SharePoint, Office 365, and Microsoft 365 user adoption successful. The training library is not enough to ensure that the platforms are used to the fullest, as intended. For the purpose, you need VisualSP, a plug-and-play add-on application that embeds help items and tutorials to every feature of every Microsoft application. Below are some key capabilities.

VisualSP user training and user adoption key capabilities

To expand usage and to ensure sustainable user adoption for Office 365, VisualSP, as a one-click help system, does so many things that Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways, as a help site, cannot do. Here are some of the capabilities and advantages.

One-click Help

With the Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways site, in order to find help, an end user has to leave an application workspace, navigate to the site, make a search, and click throughs the search results. Sometimes, no help is found. When such a scenario repeats, end users tend to fall back to their much more familiar third-party tools, making Office 365 user adoption stall and fail.

To shortcut all these multiple disruptive steps, to avoid frustration, and to remove other potential barriers to usage, VisualSP embeds help items directly into every feature of every application inside Office 365. When working with the platform, if stuck, all a user has to do is click on the VisualSP tab, instantly view the right tutorial or help item, and immediately continue with the task at hand, all without having to leave the application's workspace.

Training sites are helpful only to an extent. In fact, after consuming training content, end users forget most of what they learn within 24 hours. VisualSP allows them to use Office 365 applications without the need to know or to remember how. When inside Office 365, all it takes is a click in order to see how a task is done and be able to do it.

With the VisualSP tab always visible on every window of every application, you give users the ability to learn exactly at the moment of completing a task. Learning-by-doing, which is the most effective way of learning; it helps employees to considerably shorten the typical learning curve.

Native, third-party, and custom help items and training content

While Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways hosts videos and articles, VisualSP delivers a variety of mediums, including screen-capture videos, annotated screenshots, PDF tip-sheets, and step-by-step walkthroughs. You can customize the default help items and add your own.

Also, VisualSP embeds the video tutorials and articles from the Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways directly to their respective features, and deliver them in-context in the Office 365 environment. Therefore, your employees need the training site, but they need VisualSP much more. Microsoft content catalog is licensed to

By the way, Microsoft training site content only applies to modern SharePoint Online and Office 365 applications. VisualSP training content, on the other hand, applies to modern SharePoint Online, Office 365 applications, as well as classic interfaces of SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-premises.

Another disadvantage of relying on the Microsoft training site is that there is no way to restrict permissions on customized training content hosted on the site. In contrast, with VisualSP, all custom content such as your company’s governance policies, workflows descriptions, best practices lists, and frequently asked questions are secure; they can be seen only by people you permit to see them.

Continual Micro-Training

Delivering bite-sized digestible chunks of training content over a period of time makes it easier for learners to consume and retain information. Learning results improve even more if content is delivered in context exactly at the moment of need.

While consuming the Microsoft training site content may be deliberate, viewing VisualSP help items while working is organic. Learning-by-working is the ultimate opportunity for continual training and it should be prioritized.

Built-in Analytics

It is hard to improve what you don't measure.

VisualSP built-in analytics allow you to know which help items have been viewed and by which users, giving you a way to track and measure progress.

Having a clear picture on the consumption of the training content gives you the ability to do the right adjustments and make the right decisions toward improved results.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways site has no such capabilities.

VisualSP is the tool you need the most

Install and configure VisualSP to provide continual micro-training, popup walkthroughs, and in-context one-click help to your employees. The plug-and-play add-on application attaches help items and tutorials to their respective features, turning every Office 365 application into a user-friendly and intuitive tool.

Whether you make use of Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways or not, using VisualSP, a digital adoption tool, should definitely be part of your user training and user adoption strategy.

With help accessible everywhere at a single click, all barriers to using Office 365 applications are removed and successful Office 365 user adoption is assured. Overtime, end users will master the features applicable to your set business goals and the platform will increasingly be used to the fullest, allowing your company to continually improve document management, productivity, collaboration, data security, regulatory compliance, and more.



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