In 2016 Microsoft launched their technical documentation site, docs.microsoft.com. Since then, the site has grown to include documentation on every Microsoft product and service available. There is a plethora of information on everything from .NET to Yammer.
Just last week Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Learn which gives a more structured learning experience within Docs. Microsoft Docs is essentially a repository of information that you can search and navigate through freely. Now with Microsoft Learn, you can take online training courses on your own schedule that will expand your skills and prepare you for certifications.
How is Microsoft Learn Different from Other Learning Channels?
This is the one question that I’ve had since I first read about Microsoft Learn. How is it different from the other learning materials that Microsoft already has? Microsoft already had a site dedicated to Learning and now they have Microsoft Learn. Thanks for making it less confusing by removing the “ing” on this new learning method (Are you catching my sarcasm?).
Microsoft can be a confusing universe to navigate, and right now we’re just trying to understand the learning part of things. Here is my attempt at trying to sort out their different learning options:
As I mentioned above, Microsoft Docs is the home for all documentation on Microsoft products and services. In my opinion, creating this repository of information was a great idea. I have questions all the time and when I search on Google, these Microsoft documentation pages are always some of the first results. For anyone with questions, they are directing them back to the Microsoft website, rather than a random forum or partner site.
There is a wealth of information on the Docs site which is great. I just wonder how they will keep it up to date as products and services continue to update. In a nutshell, Microsoft Docs is a way to browse or search for documentation, additional information, or answers to any questions you may have about products for services.
Then there’s Microsoft Learning, which gets into the more structured learning channels. You can even see in the screenshot above that they advertise and link off to the “New Microsoft Learn” landing page. I didn’t include it, but at the top of this page, there is a large slider with two slides that link off to Microsoft Learn pages. It seems to me as though they will continue to expand Microsoft Docs and Learn, and the Learning site will slowly fade away. Who knows, I could be wrong.
Right now, Microsoft Learning seems to be the hub that links off to information on different topics:
- Training courses (online and in-person)
- Certification exams
With the Learning channel, Microsoft is helping to guide users and developers through training that will allow them to gain certifications and advance their knowledge, and hopefully their careers.
As I see it, this is Microsoft’s dive into achievement based training courses. What that means is that you can take courses and as you complete different modules you earn experience and badges. It makes learning seem like more a game and helps to increase user engagement. Years ago, I took quite a few courses through Codecademy, which is a similar type of learning experience for programming languages. That’s just an example, as there are many other similar sites out there.
At first, I wondered why they didn’t name this new channel something different like Microsoft Academy, but then I quickly realized that they already have a learning platform called Microsoft Virtual Academy. I’m not even going to get into that right now. Let’s just focus on Microsoft Learn and what it currently has to offer.
Current Learning Opportunities
To start they have developed courses in five different product areas. Those products include Azure, PowerApps, Dynamics 365, Flow, and Power BI. Within each of these product areas are different learning paths and modules. A module is an individual learning course and a learning path is a series of related modules that together create a comprehensive course on a broader topic. Below is an example of an overview of an Azure learning path.
From the main menu on the Microsoft Learn page you can explore all courses they currently have to offer in Azure and Microsoft Business Applications. There’s also a Browse All option where you can filter modules and learning paths based on Role, Level, Product, and Type.
On their site, Microsoft states that “Microsoft Learn is just the beginning.” It seems as though they’ve created this new channel to be the stepping stone to more advanced training courses. “Start with the basics, then move to advanced methods that address real-world challenges. Microsoft Learn meets you where you are and takes you where you want to go.” – Taken directly from the Microsoft Learn website.
It’s possible that Microsoft saw a gap in their training materials which left out some of the basic knowledge that users and developers needed to get started. Microsoft Learn is possibly the answer to that. They have started out with a core group of modules and learning paths, and according to the site they will continue to expand their offerings. It will be interesting to see what direction they go in with Docs and Learn. I’m also curious to see if they will clear up some of the confusion between the Learn and Learning channels.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft Learn? Do you think it will be useful? Please let us know in the comments below!