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What is Microsoft Viva Learning and how can it help my business?

The launch of Microsoft Viva – a new employee experience platform accessed through Microsoft Teams – has received a lot of attention in the digital workplace and HR space, and has piqued the interest of HR departments. Announced in early-2021 and still in the process of roll-out, we believe Viva is an exciting release which will become a core part of the Microsoft 365 digital workplace.

Microsoft Viva consists of four different apps:

Viva ConnectionsViva Connections: A gateway to internal communications and company resources, including policies and HR information, as well as the ability to participate in different social communities.
Viva InsightsViva Insights: Personalised analytics and related insights for individuals, managers and leaders that support wellbeing, collaboration, productivity and more.
Viva TopicsViva Topics: A knowledge discovery platform that uses AI to source experts and resources on different topics concerning Microsoft 365 tools and other digital channels.
Viva LearningViva Learning: A learning hub that aggregates learning resources from a variety of different sources including LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, popular third-party providers and a companys own learning content.

In this post, were going to take a deeper dive into Viva Learning and explore its benefits. Well also look at the impact on customers who have introduced LMS365 – a learning platform that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365 and Teams.

What is Microsoft Viva Learning?

Viva Learning aggregates personalised learning content from multiple places into one view which can then be easily accessed through Microsoft Teams. This content can reside in different libraries and collections, including:

  • Microsoft Learn – Microsofts own collection of learning content about its tools
  • LinkedIn Learning a huge source of learning and course material, previously branded as Lynda and now owned by Microsoft through the LinkedIn acquisition
  • Leading course providers including Skillsoft and Coursera
  • The Learning Platform or LMS integrations are planned with Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba, SuccessFactors and more, and APIs will be made available later in 2021 to enable other Learning Platforms to arrange integrations
  • SharePoint document libraries.

As learning content is accessed through Teams, it can also be shared in conversations and threads or accessed through tabs and channels with learning resources on different themes. To make learning relevant, suggestions are also personalised to the individual, leveraging the power of the Microsoft Graph. Another app, Microsoft Viva Topics, can also leverage Viva Learning resources to suggest learning content on different subjects.

Viva Learning is not a Learning Management System (LMS). However, managers do have the ability to assign learning to individual team members and track completion with views that report on the status of learning they have assigned; individuals can also view all the learning assigned to them. This facility can either be utilised through Viva Learning itself or through an integration with an existing LMS.

Microsoft Viva Learning is not yet fully available – it went into public preview in late April, but had to be closed due to overwhelming demand. However, we can expect it to be fully available later in the year.

What are the benefits of Microsoft Viva Learning?

We believe Microsoft Viva Learning has some real benefits that have the potential to transform learning in organisations. Lets explore some of the key potential outcomes.

Bringing learning into the daily flow of work

For far too long, learning has been on the periphery of the digital workplace. It has been focused on an LMS or e-learning platform that may have a less than satisfactory user experience, may not be available via single sign-on and may have low adoption. Viva Learning brings learning right into the heart of the digital workplace and makes learning assets far easier to view and access. Because it is experienced through Microsoft Teams – a place where employees are increasingly spending their working day – learning is brought right into the daily flow of work.

Brings in a more holistic view of learning content from multiple sources

Although learning efforts tend to be focused around a learning platform, content can actually come from multiple sources. Intranet pages, internal presentations, knowledge-sharing videos, third-party content and podcasts can all be excellent learning assets, but they may reside in different places both inside and outside your digital workplace. Microsoft Viva Learning can bring these all together into one place, presenting a more holistic and wider view of content that ultimately supports better learning.

Encourages organisations to think about learning in a more holistic way

Organisations simply do not prioritise learning as much as they should, and all too often do not take a holistic or strategic view. Consequently, training can be carried out across multiple functions such as sales, IT, professional development and so on with little or no co-ordination. When you introduce an enterprise-wide tool like Viva Learning, organisations are forced to think more strategically and holistically about learning, leading to initiatives that provide learners with more options and allow teams to deliver better training.

Ensures learning is available anytime, anywhere, any place

An emphasis on classroom-based training has tended to limit learning opportunities for many. The pandemic has undoubtedly swung organisations away from this approach, with more learning now available digitally rather than face-to-face. Introducing Microsoft Viva Topics further encourages organisations to make a higher proportion of their learning digital and provide easier access to it, meaning that learning is available anytime, anywhere and any place for a much wider set of employees. This simultaneously widens the learning opportunities for individuals and eases the administrative burden on busy training functions.

Empowers employees to take control of their learning

Learning becomes so much more powerful when employees can control it and drive their own professional development and career path. Introducing Viva Learning enables employees to start doing just that by providing easier access to content as well as encouraging the further digitisation of learning content and processes.

Brings learning and knowledge-sharing into peer conversations

Because Viva Learning is experienced within Microsoft Teams, it brings learning resources into peer conversations, making learning content more centred around knowledge-sharing and peer recommendations. This shifts the focus away from learning being a top-down activity, potentially changing the way employees feel about learning resources and kickstarting a powerful bottom-up culture of learning.

Focuses on the digital employee experience

Learning, personal growth and professional & career development are all parts of employee experience. Because Microsoft Viva Learning supports these areas, its a great technology to use as part of your overall effort to improve employee experience and prioritise those moments that matter.

How does Microsoft Viva Learning fit with LMS365?

LMS365 is an excellent learning platform and LMS that we implement for clients; its a fully working LMS with all the features that you will need, integrating completely seamlessly with Microsoft 365 and Teams; most employees do not realise it is a separate system. This makes it the learning platform of choice for anyone with a Microsoft 365 digital workplace.

LMS365 customers already enjoy some of the benefits that Viva Learning can bring because learning is directly in the flow of work and learning assets can be shared in Teams. However, were even more excited about the potential combination of LMS365 and Viva Learning which will bring a new dimension for customers of both systems. As the LMS365 team put it themselves, learning is super-sized.

Viva Learning is not a Learning Management System, and requires one to have most impact. When you have a learning platform like LMS365 that is already integrated into Teams and Microsoft 365, it means the entire learning experience is completely integrated, end-to-end, in one highly consistent experience. With other integrations with Viva Learning you may still be handed off to other systems such as Cornerstone OnDemand, but with LMS365 you stay firmly within the Microsoft 365 or Teams ecosystem.

This means end-to-end learning from discovery, to course registration, to development planning, to actually taking the courses is completed all in one place. For existing LMS365 customers, Viva Learning adds additional features such as integration with other elements of the Viva platform like Topics, as well as the ability to collate learning resources from an ever-wider set of sources and further embed learning into everyday work. LMS365 customers will also be able to leverage the future enhancements in Viva Learning that investment will inevitably bring.

Get ready for Microsoft Viva Learning

Microsoft Viva Learning is coming later this year. We can see enormous potential for it to bring learning into the heart of the digital workplace, and when combined with LMS365, the impact will be even greater. If you want to know how you can prepare for Viva Learning, or would like to find out more about LMS365, then get in touch.

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