#OTSTWIT Viva Learning with Asif Rehmani – Episode 44

In this episode of This Week in Teams, Jay and I continue with our Microsoft Viva series by talking with Asif Rehmani, the CEO and founder of VisualSP, about Employee Learning and Training | Microsoft Viva.

Asif introduced himself and expressed that he does not work for Microsoft, have never worked for Microsoft, but his career has been aligned with Microsoft. He joined Jay and Craig to talk about the good and the not so good of Viva Learning.

Viva is a brand came up because of the whole exposure while the the focus on employee experiences. Asif has looked into and played around with all the different modules modules or Viva. Some Viva connections, Viva topics, Viva insights, but because of his background, he dove deep on Viva learning.

We then talked with Asif about both pros and cons of it. First found out the licensing model of Viva learning. Actually, in the beginning there wasn’t licensing licensing model. You know, it came out slowly, but when it was revealed, that would be $4 per user per month. That surprised Asif and it is something that he has given feedback to Microsoft about because we’re talking about aggregation of all this content in one place using Viva learning. We’re not talking about the actual LMS system that you still need. We’re not talking about the content source like and when I say content source and talking about edx, Coursera, LinkedIn. You need to Viva learning to put it all together. When he speaks with organizations and talks about this, they tally up the cost and it becomes pretty big.

There’s a free version of Viva learning too. That one that he has seen many, many organizations adopt because there is no downside to it. In fact, it’s already pushed out to almost every tenant anyway. So you have it already. Organizations need to decide to do with it, that’s up to you. Do you publicize it? Do you like, just let people discover it by chance? Asif’s advice has always been that you do let your users know that it exists and here’s what it’s going to do for you. But you also let them know some of the gotchas as well.

So here’s a gotcha which I definitely do not like, you get to see all the content that’s available through, let’s say LinkedIn library in Viva learning, not everything that you have access to, but everything that’s there and you can get to a point where you see it see it in it, I’ll say Oh yeah this course on I don’t know dynamics 365 sales help makes a lot of sense. Let me figure that out. You click on it you get the next screen where it tells gives you a tile gives you all the synopsis everything else. You’re happy and think, “OK, I have access to it. I was going to learn to learn it anyway.”, and then you click on it and you’re surprised when you when it asks you for your login credentials. Then you will have access to only the things you have permissions to actually view.

We then talked about the good. You get to show everything that your organization has in terms of learning in one place so that people don’t have to go to different places. In fact, if you have the paid version of it, you can get into the assignments which your analytics are. You can expose all that stuff from your LMS through Viva learning as long as there’s integration, which is huge because it is truly learning in the flow of work, you’re looking at your chats, you doing your meetings, you’re doing everything in. and now you’re getting all that other information directly in teams as well. So I really like those features for Viva learning.

We then talked a little about pricing and licensing before shifting to talking about implementing an managing Viva Learning and the people side of things. If it was all automated, where it was just plug and play, then it would be wonderful. The free module is that plug and play, where you just it just works. There’s nothing to do. It’s available. It’s when you go to the paid version of it where you have to integrate and expose different things and manage and assign and spotlight and all that stuff. That’s where the human component is super necessary. Otherwise, you’re paying for things that’s going to go stale pretty quickly.

With with Viva and the employee experience there are different requirements and it seems more and more we’re not talking about a technology admin or developer type. We’re talking about much softer skills. Asif says there are many skills and roles needed to make Viva Learning succssful:

  • Knowledge Manager
  • Learning Manager
  • Human Resources
  • Talent Development
  • Content Managers
  • Trainers
  • Teams Admin

Also, organizations can’t expect to buy it and it will work and people will love it. Nope. Sorry. It doesn’t work like that. It it has to have that commitment from the organization. Otherwise you’re just wasting money.

We then closed out the episode by talking at little bit about what Asif will be doing in the coming months. In April, he will be presenting a the Microsoft 365 Conference and serving as the the chair for the Dynamics 365 track. After that, he is presenting at a conference that has nothing to do with Microsoft and is called the Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando. He will be presenting there talking about learning in the flow of work, blended learning, digital coach, performance support and a lot of these other concepts which are pretty common in the learning industry.

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