I’m in the middle of working with a customer who is planning their Office 2007 deployment to their 10’s of Thousands of end users. They felt there was a need for user training and readiness for most of their users. Because of the large number of users, they wanted a way to provide training at low cost, on demand, and preferably through a computer.
The final solution was to use software, and training courses they already owned or had access to without a licensing hurdle to overcome.
There are a few moving parts in the final solution, which are:
1) Microsoft Software Assurance (SA). SA is the comprehensive maintenance offering that helps customers get the most out their software investments including things like phone support, partner services, in person training, Tools to help deploy and manage software, plus access to the latest version of software (upgrades). One of the benefits of the program is something called E-Learning.
E-Learning provides employees access to self paced, interactive training that is developed by training experts. Assessments, hands-on virtual labs, expert advice, and an interactive, nonlinear approach make E-learning an engaging and flexible experience for your users.
E-learning also eliminates time and location boundaries, so your staff can study when and where it's convenient with just an Internet Connection and a browser. The comprehensive course list is available online: Download the complete Software Assurance E-Learning course list (Portable Document Format file, 120 KB)
You can also download the entire course set, and run the courses internally on your own Learning Management System – allowing you to keep track of who has taken and passed the courses.
2) SharePoint Learning Kit (SLK). There is an open source project for a Learning Management System that runs on top of SharePoint. You can download the SLK from http://www.codeplex.com/slk and run it on your SharePoint server.
The SLK hosts courses using the same format as the E-Learning. This format is called SCORM and is a standard format of structuring and packaging online training courses. Other applications such as the LCDS and Camtasia create SCORM format files too allowing anybody to create a course if they want and upload it to the SLK.
That’s it! If you have WSS 3.0 or SharePoint 2007 running, and have Software Assurance go get the E-Learning courses and make them available to your users so they can get ready for an Office 2007 deployment, or learn advanced techniques to build upon their existing skills.
Note: The SharePoint product team also released their End User training for use with the SLK – which I have blogged about before here. My mate Ian Morrish in New Zealand is running the SLK on his public WSS site, and also has a Flash demo of what it looks like. Check it out at http://www.wssdemo.com/Pages/SLK.htm