The current state of Viva Learning – and some recommendations
By Patrik Bergman
It will come as no surprise to digital workplace practitioners that Microsoft has released Viva Learning as part of its Viva suite. This is a welcome initiative since learning in the flow of work should be a natural part of any digital workplace, however there are some things to know about the product regarding what it can and cannot do today, and what you might need in order to offer a complete learning solution for your employees.
What Viva Learning is good at today
If you don’t have a modern learning management system (LMS), or a learning experience system (LXP), then Viva Learning can be a good start, allowing you to:
- access all resources from the Microsoft Learn and Microsoft 365 Training libraries from within MS Teams
- access the top 125 LinkedIn Learning courses
- add content from SharePoint, such as movies and files, as learning resources in Viva Learning
- receive course recommendations and create an integration with external content providers, such as Pluralsight, Udemy for Business, LinkedIn Learning, and many others. However, note that this integration requires you to have the paid version of Viva Learning, currently £3 (or $4) per user per month
- use MS Teams to search for and access such learning content
- assign courses and track basic statistics for a team, such as whether they have completed an assignment or not.
What you need besides Viva Learning for a more complete learning offering
Microsoft is clear that Viva Learning is not an LMS/LXP. This means it does not provide the strengths of such systems, for instance it will not allow you to:
- upload SCORM -based e-learning files, creating and assigning different groups of learners, and then using extensive tracking to see how things are progressing
- assigning learning resources to more than just the people in your team, such as people from different teams or all the employees
- building courses that are more engaging or interactive than what you can provide in a movie or in PowerPoint
- building courses that blend material from third-party content providers with internal learning material and then includes a questionnaire
- building and tracking freestanding quizzes or as included in courses, including any question banks, to evaluate what people have learned
- easily capture interesting content from the internet and add it as learning resources for any learning group, such as YouTube movies, articles, podcasts, book tips, and more. You can of course include such links in a resource in for example PowerPoint, but it will not be as swift and easy and only Viva Learning admins can add learning resources
- add recorded online classes and webinars as learning resources that can be assigned to all users or selected user groups
- use a skills-based approach for your learning. This means letting employees rate their own skills for a certain job, let managers rate employees, and then match learning content to the detected skill gaps
- A function for tracking learning budgets. This is also included in some HR platforms, and helps companies avoid the administrative hassle and manual work for learning budgets spent on courses, books, and more.
The way ahead for you and Viva Learning
Since the free version of Viva Learning is available for any company with these licences, I would recommend that you enable it and see what it does. You will quickly realize whether you will want to add and launch learning resources, if the team-based assignment and basic tracking will be enough, and whether you can live without a skills-based approach and the other functionality above for now. If you don’t have an LMS/LXP today, then Viva Learning could be an excellent start for your formal and social learning via MS Teams.
If you do have an LMS/LXP, you can investigate whether that platform is stronger than Viva Learning, including the MS Teams integration, which several platform vendors have. For some of you, the LMS/LXP will far surpass that which Viva Learning offers, and for some of you an integration of the LMS/LXP into Viva Learning will be the best option.
The whole Viva suite is continually evolving, meaning the above status is correct as of February 2022. Meanwhile, the LMS/LXP providers are also developing their platforms, meaning this is an area we need to track and update about regularly.