Corporate Training In SharePoint 
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Corporate Training In SharePoint: Using SharePoint ‘Off-Label’ For Training?

Have you ever purchased something for a certain intent and then realized it actually works great for something totally different? Sometimes this happens in the pharmaceutical industry, for instance. That is why the term ‘off label’ is used which basically means to use a medication for a condition that it was not originally intended. A similar situation happens with SharePoint. While it originally might have been purchased for its incredible content management capabilities, businesses quickly discover that SharePoint excels in the training arena as well.

Companies that use SharePoint ‘off-label’ have discovered the best kept secret in training!

Training will always evolve and change, but eLearning is here to stay. In fact, analysts estimate that the corporate eLearning market will grow to about $31 billion by 2020. New technologies offer the advantage of being able to reach a wider number of trainees at a fraction of the cost of the traditional instructor-led classroom model.

After using SharePoint for a short period of time, many trainers start seeing the many parallels of SharePoint and a Learning Management System (LMS) - document sharing, calendaring, discussions, intranet-esque page design, and tight permissions for users.

So, it’s natural to ponder the idea ‘do I even need a separate LMS when my SharePoint offers multiple training features?’.

7 Key Training Features Of SharePoint

Right out of the gate, there are key features of SharePoint that will be very useful for training endeavors.

1. Content Management

Content management might not be a focal point of the Learning and Development department, but is a very important aspect to consider. As the eLearning market continues to grow, so does the amount of training material.There is no question that content is king and the backbone of any learning program. Trainers spend hours putting together learning material in preparation for a class, whether in-person or online. Often, this includes multiple people and several versions of documents. Having both content management and an LMS connected makes uploading training material that much easier. Version control and approval workflows also ensure a better-managed compliance system.

2. Permissions

Each day there are more and more regulations put on companies. SharePoint makes it easy to keep compliant by setting very strict permissions on anything within the system so only the right people can access training material.

3. Social

Social features are a highly sought after feature of an LMS. SharePoint already has a full social system from blogs, communities, Wikis, discussion boards and RSS feeds.

4. Working In Teams

These days we work in teams and learn in teams. SharePoint team sites are a perfect solution for project-based learning with features such as task lists, calendar, reminders, and newsfeed.

5. Single Sign On And Active Directory

The headache of remembering multiple passwords is over with SharePoint because it syncs with your active directory and other systems.

6. Training Feedback Using Surveys

One of the best ways to better your training program is with surveys and SharePoint offers multiple ways to get important feedback from your employees.

7. Anytime, Anywhere

SharePoint and Office365 allow trainees to access important training material from anywhere and on various devices.

These features provide a great training foundation, and for some, it may be enough for their basic needs.  However, SharePoint as a stand-alone LMS has its limitations when it comes to more complex training needs. Companies that have the resources to customize might be able to gain a bit more functionality like CorVel did in the cast study ‘Implementing SharePoint 2013 LMS.’

Increased Functionality Of SharePoint And LMS

When it’s all said and done, there will still be crucial LMS features that SharePoint just doesn’t provide for. Adding in an LMS built for SharePoint will close the functionality gaps even further while also offering a lucrative total cost of ownership. Here are a few feature deficiencies of SharePoint and where adding an LMS can accommodate:

  • SCORM / AICC / Tin Can compliance.
    On its own, SharePoint is NOT SCORM compliant. This is a very important feature to have because it will allow your company to reuse learning material on any training system.
  • Instructor-led training management.
    There will always be a small portion of any training program that will require in-classroom training. Being able to organize both online and offline learning in one system simplifies and organizes.
  • Enrollment requests, wait lists, multiple days training management.
    The larger the training program the more likely you’ll need to have a system that will provide enrollment requests, handle wait lists and offer more complex courses.
  • Compliance training management.
    SharePoint is a very secure system for companies with compliance needs. However, adding in a SharePoint LMS will give additional features such as digital signature, CEU tracking and recurring events.
  • Training tracking and reporting.
    Reporting is very important because Learning and Development managers must show a link between training and performance. SharePoint provides basic reporting but with an added LMS you can get granular with the information – user and team transcripts, custom reports.

As mentioned before, adding to your SharePoint environment can handle more complex learning needs. Imagine being able to target your learners with customized learning by title or department? Or, adding course perquisites and compound courses with auto reminders and notifications? The additional features that are possible are endless with a SharePoint-based LMS.

SharePoint is about giving you and the people you work with a better way to get things done together. This multifunctional tool can help keep your entire organization in sync, make processes and people more productive, deliver more engaging and effective customer experiences, assist in achieving legal and regulatory compliance and balance IT and business needs. All of these features make it a prime tool for use as an LMS.

Using SharePoint ‘off-label’ as a training system is increasingly becoming more popular. For basic training needs it offers a multitude of valuable features. However, businesses with more complex needs can build upon the training foundation SharePoint offers by adding a SharePoint-based LMS to increase functionality and better utilize existing software.

eBook Release: ShareKnowledge
ShareKnowledge
ShareKnowledge is an enterprise LMS that integrates with existing technologies while automating training, reporting and other business processes.
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