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Creating a Learning Academy to Support Distributed Teams

Leading Business Advisory Consultancy Adopts Learning Management Platform for Microsoft Office 365 to Support Highly Distributed Teams

A globally distributed advisory consultancy that helps businesses to drive environmentally friendly economic regeneration was already a proponent of a collaborative approach to learning development and skills sharing.

To  date they had been using Modern SharePoint to underpin this activity.  For example, they had a SharePoint page via which associates with specific skill sets could volunteer their coaching services.

As the company grew, however, this approach to training was becoming difficult to manage and they looked for a way to put more structure around how training content was curated and delivered.

A Learning Academy that Builds on SharePoint & Teams

Following a recommendation from Microsoft, the company selected Essential and LMS365, a learning management system that is specifically designed for Microsoft SharePoint and Teams.

LMS365 enables virtually any content, including policy documents, training materials, videos, PowerPoints, papers and more to be administrated by those responsible for learning management and communications, targeted to individuals or groups of users, tracked and reported on.   Being delivered around SharePoint, Teams or both, it is easy to get to grips with for end users.  It also makes it easy for businesses to protect and govern training content.

According to the company’s project manager for the LMS

“It was important that the system we chose would integrate with our existing SharePoint and Microsoft 365 ecosystem, which now includes Teams.  We didn’t want associates to have to log in to a separate system or learn something completely new.

The very collaborative way in which LMS365 enables training to take place is perfect for us.  We’ve used LMS365 to deliver our own Academy, which enables associates to follow a learning path that plays to their particular strengths and interests.”

Using LMS365, associates can view the available training content and build their own training plan.  Co-workers can also work together on training content and make training course recommendations to each other.

The Future Opportunity

The company will continue to develop new training content based on demand, and plans to have a form that enables it to gather suggestions and survey what its associates deem useful subjects.

“We have many experts in different areas and our philosophy is to harness that expertise to be able to build the most effective teams and resources around the different projects we take on.

In the future we will also seek to use LMS365’s ability to track competencies – so when we need to build a team for a particular project, we can see who has the relevant skill sets.”

The Challenges

One challenge in working with LMS365 was the fact it integrates with Active Directory, which inherently didn’t map onto the way in which this particular company’s organisation was structured.

“We don’t have a conventional, hierarchical management structure with line managers.  Instead we arrange ourselves on a project basis, aligning the most appropriate associates according to their skill sets.  It’s more what you might call a circular or ochlocractic setup.

Working with Essential we were able to come up with a workable approach to delivering content.  Also, having not been familiar with conventional learning management systems, I am sure we weren’t a typical client for Essential and probably asked far too many questions.  Essential’s lead solution delivery expert was very patient and guided us through the onboarding process.”

According to Toni Mallin, LMS365 expert at Essential,

“Commonly, technological solutions force us down certain workflow paths and do not deliver the flexibility to adapt to different business models, processes and workflows. The biggest benefit of LMS365 is the true flexibility for an organisation to easily make the product their own, not only from a branding perspective, but a content perspective and a workflow perspective. This is true value; as the business changes, the product changes with them”.

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