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Run Training Sessions That Actually Drive SharePoint User Adoption

By Asif Rehmani
Updated June 11, 2019

This is the first program in the Optimal Training Strategy for sustainable SharePoint user adoption.

To many people, SharePoint is an unfamiliar tool. Lists, libraries, sites, permissions, workflows, web parts, etc. these are just some of the concepts that end users need to grasp. To give end users a clear overview, a training session or a number of them are needed.

In this program, focus on the big picture. Detailed step by step tutorials on how to complete tasks in SharePoint should be delivered in the other 4 programs in the strategy.

You focus on the big picture for two reasons: it is impractical to go through all the step by step tutorials during the limited time of classes; and, shortly after class, people would not remember enough detailed steps to complete tasks. And, information retention declines further with time, making it very likely for end users to get stuck when it is time to complete tasks in SharePoint.

Provide thorough explanation for each SharePoint concept, feature, and workflow applicable to your digital workplace.

  • Help everyone understand why, how, and when to use SharePoint.
  • Explain why specific help items and tutorials should take priority.
  • Go through the list of the help items that everyone is expected to learn: text, graphics, videos, or walkthroughs.
  • And, show everyone where to find help whenever help is needed.

Collect and create all the needed help items and present them to end users so that they know what they are expected to learn in order to be proficient with SharePoint and solve all the problems that they face when working with digital documents.

The presentation can be face-to-face in a classroom or online as a webinar.

Even though training end users is not effective enough to drive sustainable SharePoint user adoption, the effort does produce results that are instrumental to the success of the subsequent programs in your Optimal Training Strategy.

Review the key benefits of Classroom Learning

Despite the limitations, holding classes is necessary, it helps everyone get an overview of the platform, have an idea on the help items they are expected to learn, and be aware of how the platform's native capabilities may solve the problems they face daily.

Also, it helps fast learners and early adopters to get up to speed and be able to use the platform much sooner. Once they get the big idea on what the tool does, they would quickly learn how to use it and get some level of proficiency without delay. This group of early adopters tend to inspire and influence the rest of the workforce into adopting SharePoint as well.

When end users fully understand how SharePoint helps solve collaboration, productivity, and document management problems, the program has been successful.

With this success, end users are set ready to be responsive to the remain 4 programs of the Optimal Training Strategy:

Hold Classes That Kickstart Change

To run training sessions that actually drive SharePoint user adoption, consider some proven best practices.

  • When creating the presentations, it is important to keep in mind that no matter how thorough the content is, end users will not build the proficiency needed to use the platform. The content has to focus on how SharePoint solves problems rather than how to complete specific tasks step by step.
  • Repetition and follow-ups always help with information retention. Plan to deliver the same presentation at least 3 times over a 2 months period: first session now, second one a week later, and third one a month later.
  • Make the sessions as interactive as possible. Encourage questions and feedback from the learners.
  • Wherever possible, use demos, case studies, and success stories to illustrate how SharePoint solves key problems.

Take the same approach if you plan to deliver the sessions online as a series of webinars.

In any case, plan your presentations deliveries to account for these limiting factors.

  • It is hard for employees to be away from their desk for too long (think of 1 hour per session; more or less).
  • Delivering too many bits of information too quickly negatively affects information retention (think of ways to deliver information in bite-sized digestible bits at a comfortable pace).
  • Your help desk may not be able to process the usual immediate deluge of help tickets quickly enough (put resources in place to answer questions without delay and host a Q&A session the same day).

To prepare end users for the next 4 programs in your Optimal Training Strategy, explain how they work and how they can be used. This builds anticipation and lets everyone know what to expect.

If you don't have an in-house expert, bring in outside help.

Whoever makes the presentations, it always helps to take some time to get some insights on ways to make presentations more engaging and more memorable.

With a clear understanding of SharePoint and its utility, greater awareness of the learning activities ahead, deeper persuasion on the necessity of sustainable user adoption, it gets easier for end users to connect the dots and be prepared for the subsequent programs in the overall Optimal Training Strategy.

After you have launched this fundamental program, move to the next one: building a training site.


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