Saturday, January 31, 2009

Microsoft Announces New Learning Plans Tool

Sorry I haven't blogged this week. I've been focusing on MY business. After all, that's the major reason for joining HTG.

But now let's return to YOUR business . . .

On Tuesday last, Scott Akin, Partner Enablement Director from the Microsoft Central region, presented a Butt-Kicking tool call Microsoft Learning Plans. It's really a set of tools.

Go to http://www.microsoftlearningplans.com/SignIn.aspx and sign in.

What you'll find is a very cool resource for navigating the sometimes-overwhelming training offers from Microsoft.

But wait . . . That's not all.

You can create customized training plans for your staff members,

You'll find recommended training "packages" and types of trainings available.

When you click to create a new learning plan, you get a very simple form:

Step 1: Name Your Plan

Step 2: Add Trainees
- Name and email address so the program can track their progress and send an email with the details of the events assigned to them.

Step 3 (Optional): Alternate Plan Owner Email Address
By default, the plan is sent to the email address associated with your Windows Live ID. If you prefer to have this sent to a different email address you can.

Step 4: Search for Training Packages
A training package consists of a handful of training events that, if taken, will assist you in reaching the training goals of a given package.

- - - - -

Let's say you want to figure out licensing so you'll be the only one in your county who understands it.

You can Search by:
- Exam
- Competency/Specialization
- Technology
- Role

So you select competency and then Licensing Solutions. You see four packages available:

- Licensing Products - What You Need To Get Started (Licensing Specialist Role)
- Licensing Programs - What You Need To Get Started (Licensing Specialist Role)
- Prepare for Exam 70-121 (Implementor Role)
- Prepare for Exam 70-122 (Implementor Role)

Each of these is a link so you can find out more about it. You take a peak at 70-121 because you're the implementor type.

Now you get a description:

Exam 70-121: Designing and Providing Microsoft Volume License Solutions to Small and Medium Business

And you get a pre-packaged Training Plan that includes the online tutorials and the related exam registration.

You can customize your Learning Plan by removing events from within a given training package.

One click and you've added this collection of events to your training plan. The relevant employee will receive an email with the details of the plan and a link to download it into an excel spreadsheet.

You can have more than one plan per employee, so they can track progress toward more than one target.

And YOU can track how everyone together is progressing toward your next competency.

Fair warning: Don't get carried away. If your employees come to work on Monday and see that you've set up all the training for their next 57 certifications, you might have a riot on your hands.

- - - -

Scott was extremely open to feedback on this tool. Just with a dozen partners, there were several suggestions that he added to the scope of the tool. So please check it out and give your feedback to Scott Akin: sakin@microsoft.com


Bonus Link

If you're looking for a specific roadmap so you can figure out what kind of training you might want, go to http://partner.microsoft.com/400.

Enjoy.

:-)

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