March 21, 2021

What Microsoft Viva Can Mean for Learning and Development

By Travis Damgaard Campbell, Senior Business Manager
Travis Damgaard Campbell is a Microsoft 365 specialist focused on turning Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online into an integrated platform for corporate training. Travis strives to maintain a growth mindset and loves working with the Learning & Development community in his role as Senior Business Manager at LMS365.

 

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Microsoft Viva – an “employee experience” platform aimed at providing a one-stop shop for communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights.  Along with this, the company launched Microsoft Viva Learning – a module within the larger platform that serves as a content aggregator uses AI to recommend when employees might want to take training courses and other microlearning content.

This offers a whole new set of opportunities for learning and development leaders, and while this might seem like it could compete with existing learning management systems (LMS), the reality is that Viva is more of a complement than a competitor. Here’s a look at what Viva and Viva Learning offer, how they fit in with your existing LMS and what this portends for the future of learning and development functions.


Microsoft Viva Learning

Microsoft describes Viva Learning as a tool for “empowering people to grow and businesses to thrive by bringing learning into the flow of work.” The idea behind it is that learners should be presented with the relevant learning material at the right time and in the right place.

Viva is built into Microsoft Teams, the collaboration platform that has rapidly increased in adoption over the past year with the rise of remote work. Viva Learning makes your learning content available in one place – including Linked Learning, Microsoft Learn, third-party content providers, a company’s own content and learning management systems.


Viva Learning and Your LMS

In many ways, Viva Learning is a direct response to the “real-life” scenarios that we’ve all been put in over the past year in which there’s been rapid change and no one – not learning and development, not human resources, no one – has been able to come up with a structured training program that’s agile enough to respond to sudden work-from-home needs or other dynamic changes to the work environment.

Viva Learning is a supporting mechanism for the immediate need for this type of agile training  and for aggregating content from several different areas and enabling people to share that content. Learning management systems tie into this. Essentially, Viva is a just-in-time, AI-driven social sharing platform for learning, and it’s the LMS that provides all of the structured learning that’s been planned out in advance.

This includes things like compliance training, health and safety training, role-based professional development, and learning that has a structured path based on who you are or what your role is within the organization. Things like upskilling programs or professional development programs to advance your internal career would still be managed and delivered by the LMS.

With Viva and Teams, all of the content from the LMS is searchable and shareable for those in the organization. This democratizes learning and allows for taking socially driven suggestions to a new level; it’s making learning more agile and allowing for it to happen in the flow of work.

The Rise of hybrid Teams and the Viva/LMS Connection

Even as restrictions are lifted and offices open back up, the way we work is going to be permanently changed. Many organizations will likely switch to a hybrid approach moving forward, where some employees work remotely at least some of the time.

Microsoft’s report on Remote Working and the Platform of the Future found that 35% of employees prefer full in-office work, 18% are fully remote and the remainder prefer a mix of both. And according to Gartner, 94% of organizations are allowing employees more flexibility as to where and when they work.

This means that empowering employees with knowledge, skills, and continuous training that operate in a collaborative and agile manner will take on increased importance. The combination of Viva and your LMS is almost like the virtual equivalent of an open office floor plan where you’re empowered to ask questions within larger groups but also provide and share relevant learning content.


A New Partner in Learning

It may have seemed that when Microsoft Viva launched, it would act as a replacement for the LMS, but that’s not at all the case. Instead, Viva augments an existing LMS by creating one larger portal that transforms the learning experience by converging news about corporate learning opportunities with your current LMS and course content from a variety of sources. The Viva Learning component uses AI to recommend training that helps individuals reach their development goals.

Because it’s built into Microsoft Teams, employees will find it easy to use based on their familiarity with the Teams platform. The Viva system helps bring learning into the workflow of employees’ daily lives so that it’s convenient, and it includes the great collaborative and communication functionality of Teams that organizations have come to rely on.