If you are looking for SharePoint training – good news – there are plenty of choices available to you out there. However, how do you choose the best option available? Below, I would like to go over a few things for you to consider when evaluating various options and training providers.
First, important disclaimer! I provide a number of SharePoint Training options myself, among other SharePoint services. So while obviously, I am biased towards my own training approach and offerings, do consider the specific needs and wants of your organization, when choosing the SharePoint Training provider.
Forget about Training Manuals
One thing I want to answer right away is related to Training Manuals. Too often, my clients ask me about supplying training manuals or some cheat sheets for how-tos on SharePoint. Forget about it. You won’t find a training manual that contains accurate information. That is because SharePoint Online is always changing, and the training manual will be outdated by the time it is completed. Moreover, who reads training manuals these days anyway? Exactly!
I actually published a detailed article on why you should avoid training manuals some time ago.
That is why I am a strong advocate of the live training option that I talk about below.
Consider the Type of Training
So what are the different types of training you should consider for your organization? Well, I summarize the available choices below. There is no one-size fits all, so you must choose the one that first your company culture, budget, timeline, and availability.
Remote SharePoint Live Training
The first option that is my favorite option and one that I offer myself is Live SharePoint Training delivered remotely. The idea is that your team will dial into a Web Conference (i.e., Zoom or Teams), and the instructor will deliver the training in live format by sharing their screen.
The obvious benefit of this type of training is that attendees can ask questions, and since this is live training, most of the content can be expected to be the latest and greatest (the one that reflects up-to-date changes in SharePoint Online).
On-Site SharePoint Live Training
The next option is also Live Training, but the one that is delivered on-site (either at a client location or some other location (i.e., a dedicated training facility). While I used to deliver such training sessions in the past, I am not a huge fan of them as they involve additional logistics and setup. Expect this training to also be way more expensive than any other options.
On-Site SharePoint Live Training might make sense if there are exercises involved and attendees might need some hand-holding/assistance during such exercises.
SharePoint Recorded/On-Demand Training
The next option has become really popular lately, and this involves the attendees watching the training on-demand from the convenience of their computers (home offices or work computers). I do offer on-demand SharePoint training myself and pretty much offer the same selection of courses on demand as I do for Live training sessions.
The obvious benefit here is the fact that users can watch the course at their own pace and time and do not need to carve out several hours of a day in case of live training. The downside here is the fact that due to the nature of the training, attendees can’t ask questions, and depending on when the courses were recorded, the course might be outdated and not cover the latest changes available in SharePoint Online.
In case you are looking for additional pros and cons of all the options above, please check out this article as well.
Consider the Duration of the Training
One other important factor to consider when choosing training is the duration. I used to attend full-day and half-day training in the past, and trust me, I usually fall asleep by the third hour. No matter how great the instructor is and how engaging the content is, I have to take a nap after I get my lunch. From my personal experience, after having been training organizations for almost ten years, I find that 2 hours is the max you can rely on to hold the user’s attention. All my live courses, for example, are just 2 hours long. I usually reserve 1.5 hours for content and 30 min for Q&A.
Hands-on Interactive Exercises or Show-N-Tell?
Another decision to make is whether you just want a Show-N-Tell type of training or one with hands-on exercises. I personally do not provide any hands-on during my sessions, but that is because it is logistically a bit challenging to organize, especially when delivering remotely; plus, it just extends the duration of the training session. Since all my live training sessions are recorded, the users can easily repeat the steps later on at their own pace in their own environment.