Learning and development in SharePoint - 5 secrets to success!

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Learning and development in SharePoint - 5 secrets to success!


SharePoint is an amazing tool for companies and that is why it has been named Microsoft’s fastest growing product in history. In fact, it proudly boasts that one in two Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint. The software goes beyond just content management though, and learning and development managers will be happy to know that there are a host of features that will make their jobs easier. This blog will discuss the five most important features in SharePoint for learning and development.

If you have an iphone or Android, you probably are familiar with just a handful of the hundreds of features available. These are the apps and features you use every day that make life easier, right? But until you’re made aware of additional features that could be beneficial, you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s unfortunate because this is what happens in SharePoint as it relates to learning and development.

But, we’re here to fill you in on the best tools you’re not using in order to take your training from good to great!

SharePoint for Learning and Development

One of the biggest buzz words in the industry this year is engagement. How do we engage employees so that not only are they committed to organizational goals and values but also motivated to contribute its success?

Blogs

Blogs are a perfect way to engage your employees. This feature in SharePoint tends to be underutilized and poorly understood by many organizations. As a learning and development manager, this tool represents a huge leap forward in distributing your information and content to the company, especially for new employees going through the onboarding process.

Blogs solve a critical challenge in the enterprise— how to enable workers to easily share and receive information. A blog is a good situation for an expert, like a learning and development manager, to share information and knowledge. For instance, topics could include feature stories on talent development, training tips and tricks, or general updates on future trainings. Blogs also provide the opportunity for comments so that employees can interact with the blog owner/expert.

Here is a great tutorial on how to create a blog in SharePoint.

Enterprise Social Networking

Do you know that SharePoint has social networking? This is huge when it comes to employee engagement. For learning and development, it can be particularly useful. Who is on your team? Do you know someone in marketing that I could mentor with and help with my career goals? What has your corporate expert on Learning and Development been working on lately? These are all questions that the social networking features of SharePoint can help answer.

SharePoint keeps track of multiple profile attributes of users within the system. You can indicate that you want to “follow” others inside and outside of your department—those of you who use Twitter will understand this concept. This means if Jane posts a blog entry on her My Site, and you’re following her, then you’ll be notified about the new entry. If you need to be introduced to people in a different department, perhaps you can look them up using people search and then browse other people in their group to see if you have any contacts. And all of this functionality is provided out of the box with SharePoint.
 

Mobile

While face-to-face instructor-led training used to be the “norm,” today mobile training has become an increasingly popular method of skill set and knowledge development. Learning and development managers are beginning to see the endless potential of mobile training. That is because mobile training not only offers learners the ability to learn on-the-go, but also allows them to gain immediate access to information whenever and wherever they really need it.

The 2013 version of SharePoint made significant improvements in mobile. Users have a better browsing experience is compatible with most recent mobile browsers. Another new capability for SharePoint sites is push notifications out to mobile devices, alerting users about changes, like the addition or modification of content. And the SharePoint Newsfeed app gives users access to the people and documents they follow.

The next version of SharePoint, which will be released in spring 2016, will provide even better mobile capabilities. With deep investment in HTML5, SharePoint Server 2016 provides IT professionals and designers with capabilities that enable device-specific targeting of content. This helps ensure that users have access to the information they need, regardless of the screen they choose to access it on.

Search

Search is a very important tool to use in learning and development. Just think of all the training content that is created each year, not to mention multiple versions. Not only is it important for you to stay organized and find the information you need but also for your employees.

SharePoint has really amped up search in the 2013 version. Here are some really cool must-know search features:

  • Remember when you make a Google search, and from the list you hover your mouse and see a snippet of the content? SharePoint 2013 can do that too. Just rest the pointer over the list of results, and a preview appears.
  • SharePoint displays content based on relevance. It improves search relevance through a combination of various factors through a new ranking model, content relevance, query rules and result sources. Just like Amazon, SharePoint 2013 remembers your search and which among those you click. Through recall, SharePoint marks this as relevant and uses this information to continuously improve relevance.
  • Ability to search unstructured content. Looking for keywords on the content title or body is also part of SharePoint search. It can be configured to look for words or phrases and even allow companies to maintain their own dictionaries.

Search will get even better with the new 2016 release of SharePoint. Unified search will be very helpful for learning and development. For instance, if you are looking for a training course, you can search in Office365 and the results will pull from both your on-premise and cloud files.
 

Search analytics

Search analytics in SharePoint is another great tool to know and use. It can tell you what terms are used to search for content, what queries return no results and what queries produce results with no clicks. Search analytics essentially provides administrators with the tools they need to fix their SharePoint search, instead of constantly hear complaints about it.

For example, let’s say you have an important training that all new employees must read and acknowledge called ‘Cardiovascular Pulmonary Resuscitation’ but nobody can find the file in SharePoint. Using search analytics you learn that most people are searching for ‘CPR’ and so you change the file name accordingly.

As you can see, learning and development can get a boost from SharePoint by utilizing the right features. We hope this blog was helpful. Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Key Consideration:
Features
Category:
SharePoint, Technology, Learning

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