How To Use Office 365 As A Learning & Development Tool

Kelly Edinger


This book is geared towards those wanting to supplement their existing Learning Management System or start one from scratch with Microsoft 365 (M365). All apps, features and processes are included in a standard E3 license. While a couple of features will require the participation of your M365 Global Administrator, most tasks can be completed by any power user with the will and time to implement.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this eBook

  • Why to even consider M365 as a Learning & Development (L&D) platform
  • How to create a scored quiz with Microsoft Forms and integrate it as a knowledge check in Stream videos
  • How to add Stream videos to modern SharePoint Online pages and Microsoft Teams
  • How to create and why to incorporate Yammer Communities
  • How to customize a SharePoint form with Power Apps
  • How to automate a training request with Power Automate, customizing a pre- built template
  • How to deploy and customize the Microsoft Learning Pathways solution
  • Putting it all together as a L&D Portal based on a SharePoint Online Communications site template
  • Best practices for incorporating L&D into Microsoft Teams

Side note

I am going to preface this by stating I am an M365 Solutions Consultant, not a developer. For the automation here, consider it an entry-level design. As you look at my solutions, you may see better ways, and if you’d like to share those ideas with me, I’m all ears.

Fortunately for all of us, there are many quite talented Power Platform developers in the Collab365 community. This book is designed to help you maximize your M365 investment by incorporating L&D.

Check the appendix for links to articles that dive deeper into these apps and their features.

Microsoft 365 vs traditional LMS Systems

Course Format & Compatibility & Integration with other Tools

Learning Management Systems have come a long way in the types of content that can be implemented, but most are still limited to a small number of acceptable data formats.

With Microsoft 365, the content can be almost anything:

  • Text, images, and links on web pages
  • Videos with transcription and embedded, scored quizzes
  • Surveys & polls
  • Office files and templates
  • PDFs
  • Training calendars
  • Approval workflows for requests, documents and more
  • Conversations and announcements
  • Task assignment and tracking

And you are not just limited to pure training materials, integrate:

  • Annual goals
  • Performance reviews
  • Peer feedback
  • New hire orientation

Security & Licensing

Everything discussed in this book is available with an M365 E3 license, no additional licenses are required, even for the forms and flows. That means one identity and license for your Help Desk to manage. And one identity to add to M365 Groups to grant access to their learning content, whether it be a set of pages, folders, videos, or tasks.

Time to Implement and Update

Editing in modern SharePoint Online is quick and intuitive, with flexible page layouts and drag and drop capabilities. Every time a page is published, an option to add the page to navigation is presented. And with page versioning on by default and a 2-stage recycle bin, mistakes are easily remedied.

While you will still want to consider design, user flow, and navigation, you no longer need a trained SharePoint staffer to create sites and page layouts and navigation.


By default, all SharePoint Online pages and Microsoft Forms are mobile-ready with responsive design built-in. Additionally, SharePoint, Teams, Stream, Yammer, and Office all have mobile apps to improve access and navigation.

Additionally, the Stream app allows users to download videos to watch offline.


Building your L&D Portal in your M365 tenant prevents you from having to add your brand to an external LMS. This gives users a seamless experience with the look, feel, and navigation.

Building Blocks



Forms is an integrated Microsoft 365 app that allows users to create surveys, polls, and quizzes that can be shared internally or externally. For this solution, we will create a scored quiz with Forms, and the two words, forms, and quiz will be used interchangeably.

Useful Features

Sharing & Security

Forms can be shared in a wide variety of methods:

  • Sharing link
  • QR code that can be scanned with any phone’s camera to load a form
  • iFrame embed code
  • Embedded into a PowerPoint slide
  • Embedded onto a SharePoint Online page, either to collect responses or display responses
  • Added as a tab Microsoft Teams in any of three formats:
    • Edit mode so the team can create together
    • To collect results
    • To display results
  • Embedded into a Stream video feed

Forms can be set so that only users in your organization can respond or anyone with the link. Forms are not discoverable via search, so even if the form is set to those within your organization, only those with the link can locate the Form. Additionally, Forms, even when internal to your organization, can be set to anonymous.

Shuffle Questions

Shuffle all questions each time a quiz taker opens the form with the option to lock some.

Assign Points to each Question

Assign more difficult and complex questions with more points than the simpler ones.


Forms have made improvements to their accessibility features. Learn more here: committed-to-inclusive-design-and-accessible/ba-p/257057


An organization can only have 200 Forms. Older forms will need to have their results exported to Excel and then be deleted to avoid this limit.

The branding here is limited to a hex color, background image, and images embedded into the form. Custom corporate fonts cannot currently be integrated.

Create a Quiz

Note: There is no Save button; all changes are automatically saved.

1. From or the app launcher click on the Forms icon

2. Click New Quiz, add a name (up to 90 characters)

3. Optional: add an image and a description (up to 1,000 characters)

4. Click +Add new, select question type, and type in the question

5. If a longer explanation is needed, click the 3 dots to the lower right of the question and choose Subtitle

6. For choice questions, hover over the question and click the checkmark to indicate

correct answer(s)

7. Optional: add a message to the respondent when an answer is selected by hovering over the question and clicking on the message icon.

8. For text questions, type in Correct answer(s)

9. Assign Points for question

10. Indicate whether the question is required

11. Repeat to enter all questions and answers

12. Adjust Settings by clicking the 3 dots in the top right corner

13. Leave toggle set to let respondents can see results right away

14. Leave radio button selected to Only people in my organization can respond

15. Uncheck the box to only allow one response per person

16. Check box to shuffle questions

17. Customize the thank you message so quiz takers know they can take the quiz again

18. Check the box to get an email notification of each response

Share the Quiz

As stated in the introduction, this quiz can be shared in a variety of ways. For this example, we are going to embed it as a knowledge check in a Stream video. Instructions are included in the next chapter.



Stream is your organization’s video streaming platform and is the Office 365 Video replacement. It has a compelling set of features, making impressive improvements over its predecessor.


Sharing & Security

Stream videos can be shared via various methods:

  • Sharing link
  • Embed as iFrame
  • Embedded into a PowerPoint, Sway, and OneNote page
  • Embedded onto SharePoint Online pages a single video, an entire channel (set of videos) or all videos
  • Added as a tab in Microsoft Teams
  • Shared to Yammer from Stream

While videos can be grouped into channels, viewing can be locked down to certain Office 365 Groups; once a Group has been created in Teams, Planner, Yammer, etc., it will be available in Stream to have videos permission to it. Groups can also be created directly from Stream.


All uploaded videos are automatically transcribed. And if you are the video owner, you can also edit the feed should spellings or punctuation need to be updated.

Deep Search

Search transcripts of videos to find the exact point in a video where a given word or phrase is mentioned, and then click it to go to that spot in the video.


Add knowledge checks at various points in the video timeline to ensure viewers understand the content.


For those who use screen readers, Stream has accessibility support. Learn more here: 8f6a57ec-74f8-4b5e-bc9f-3d9e3691a54f


Videos in Stream are accessible to your organization only. To share externally, videos will need to be downloaded and uploaded to a shared location.

Create a Channel & Add Videos


  • Will this Channel be available company-wide or just for a certain Group?
  • Should this Channel include all training videos, or should it be just for a certain technology, process, or role?

Create the Channel

1. From or from the app launcher, click on the Stream icon

2. Click + Create and Channel

3. Assign a channel Name and add Description

4. For this example, set channel access to a Group or Companywide

5. Optional: add a channel image

6. Click Create

Add Videos to Channel

Add Videos already uploaded to Stream

7. In the top navigation, click on My content

8. Click icon to add to a channel

9. In the Share with drop-down, select Channels and start typing the name of the channel

10. Click Save

Upload new videos

Drag & drop video files or click select more files to upload.

Share a Channel

The channel we just created is company-wide, so any user who has Stream enabled as part of their licensing (enabled by default) will be able to view these videos when they navigate to Stream. Rather than directing end-users to Stream, we will be embedding these videos on both SharePoint pages and in Teams.



Yammer has long been a misunderstood application, often labelled as ‘just social for enterprise.’ Historically, it’s also been another place for end-users to have to navigate to, understandably lowering its rank in usefulness. Now that it can be easily embedded as an interactive feed into Teams and SharePoint, that story is changing.

Yammer makes an excellent replacement for email distribution groups, creating a searchable knowledge base maintained by your end-users.

Useful Features

Q&A: Mark Best Answer

Rather than simply asking a question as a default Post, it can be added as a Question allowing the poster and the Yammer community admin to mark the best answer and saving time for others with the same question.

Polls, Praise and Announcements

Quickly add polls, praise and announcements to the feed

Live Events

Organize and hold Live Events in Yammer. The link to learn more about this is in the Appendix.

Sharing & Security

  • Yammer Communities can be embedded onto SharePoint Online pages
  • Add as a tab in Teams
  • Add Communities as an app in the left pane in Teams

Yammer now uses the same identities as the rest of Microsoft 365; users will not have a separate photo or account for Yammer anymore.

New Communities can be created to be internal only or allow external guests as well as be set to private or public.


Yammer includes features for users with low dexterity or low vision with keyboard shortcuts, a screen-reader, and more. Learn more here: us/article/Accessibility-in-Yammer-e16df68d-83bc-41f7-9f11- 636f9e5424e7#:~:text=Accessibility%20in%20Yammer%201%20In,for%20customers%20 with%20disabilities.

Create a Community in Yammer

1. From or the app launcher, click on the Yammer icon

2. In the left navigation, click on Create a Community

3. Enter the Name of the Community

4. Add Members. This can be handled one of three ways:

5. Add members individually

6. Creates a CSV file with email addresses and upload

7. Set the Community to Public and share the link via email so employees self-enrol

8. Leave toggle set to Public Access

9. Click Create

Share the Champions Community

Adding members in the previous steps essentially shared your new Yammer community, but in the ‘Putting it all Together’ portion, we’ll go over how to embed Yammer communities into SharePoint and Teams so that your users don’t need to navigate to a separate location.

Training Request Form


For this chapter, we will create a simple Training Request with a SharePoint Online List, add a custom form on top of it with Power Apps, and then add an approval flow with Power Automate.

Important: This Training Request should live on your official Learning & Development SharePoint site; if you already have a SharePoint Online Site created, use that.

Otherwise, create a new Communications Site OR wait to use the SharePoint site that gets deployed with the M365 Learning Pathways (next chapter).

SharePoint Online List

1. Create the List

2. From the landing page of your site, click +New and then List

3. Add a choice column titled ‘Type of Training’ with choices:

  • Course
  • Conference
  • Exam
  • Study Guide | Practice Test

4. Add a Number column titled ‘Cost’

5. Add a Date column titled ‘Start Date’

6. Add a Date column titled ‘End Date’

7. Add a multiline text field titled ‘Any additional info’

8. Add a choice column titled ‘Training Request Status’ with choices:

  • Submitted
  • Approved
  • Rejected
  • Cancelled

9. Set the default to ‘Submitted’

Conditional Formatting

Optional: Add conditional formatting for a quick view into request status. In the screenshot above, I’ve added red and green indicators for approved and rejected, and I’ve added them to the Title column. You can add it to different/more columns as makes sense.

To add:

1. Select the drop-down for the column you’d like to apply the formatting to

2. Select Column settings > Format this column

3. Select Conditional formatting and +Add rule

4. Set the rule to If Training Request Status is equal to Approved and click the Sample text box to select a green shade

5. Click Save

6. Click the back arrow to the left of ‘Create rule’ and then +Add rule

7. Follow the same steps to show the text as a shade of red if the status is equal to rejected

8. Click Save

Create a View for Logged in Users

So that users only see their requests, create a view that is filtered to Created By is equal

to [Me] and set this as the default view. Set as default view:

And add the filter:

Power Apps


Technically, this section is entirely optional. For the ‘Training Request Status’ field, you could add ‘for admin use only’ in the Description and then use the SharePoint form that gets auto-created with the list. I am adding a Power Apps form on top so that I can hide that field at all to the end-user. You may end up wanting to capture several fields of data that the end-user doesn’t need to see.

This is also where I point out that I am not, and likely never will be, a Power Apps pro. This is the most basic of instructions, with tons of room for upgrades. If you already know how to use Power Apps, save yourself some time, and skip this section.

Customize the New Form for the SharePoint List

Pre-requisite: the SharePoint list needs to be in modern mode. If you don’t see Power Apps in the ribbon, you may need to go into the List Settings > Advanced Settings and set the List Experience to ‘New experience’

1. From your Training Request list, click on Power Apps and then Customize forms

Let’s make the form wider:

2. In the top left corner, click on File > Settings

3. Change Orientation to Landscape

4. In the lower right corner, click Apply

5. In the top left corner, click the back arrow to return to the form

6. In the Fields pane, hover over Training Request Status, click the 3 dots and click


1. Click the ‘X’ in the top right corner of that pane to close it

2. Drag the right edge of the form to meet the edge of the canvas

3. IMPORTANT: In the right pane, change the Default mode from Edit to New (you could stop here, save and publish and have a functioning form, but I’m going to make some more edits)

4. Make the form 2 columns by changing the drop-down in the right pane

5. Grab the edge of the Title field to take up the whole first row

6. Let’s make room for a header at the top of our form by grabbing the top of the form

and pulling down a bit

7. In the ribbon, click on Insert > Icons > Rectangle

8. Place the rectangle at the top at the desired height

9. In the Insert ribbon, click on Label, click into the Label and add the name of the form. Use the editing ribbon under Home to style

Again, you can stop here, save, and publish because once this form is in SharePoint, the controls to Save and Cancel will be added automatically. If you would still like to add a submit button, keep going

10. First, we will need to create some space for it at the bottom of the canvas.

11. In the left pane, click on SharePointForm1, this will select the form so that you can drag the lower edge up a bit

12. Under the Insert tab in the ribbon, click Button

13. Drag the button down to the bottom of the canvas

14. In the right pane, in the Text field, replace ‘Button’ with ‘Submit’

15. As desired, change the size, font, and padding. (changing border-radius will give your button rounded edges)

Now the button needs a purpose:

16. With the button selected, set the OnSelect action to


Now it’s ready to save and publish:

1. In the top left corner, click File and then Save

2. Click Publish

3. Return to your SharePoint list and click New to see the form

Note: If you have published a form that you need to delete, you can delete the custom form while keeping the SharePoint list intact. Go to the List Settings > Form settings, select ‘Use the default SharePoint form’ and then click ‘Delete custom form.’

Power Automate


Next, we will add an approval workflow that looks up the requester’s manager and routes their training request for approval. I am starting from a template that is close to what’s needed to save some time; you could start from scratch if you really wanted to.

Note: if you do not want the requests to go to the requester’s manager, you could add

another field to the SharePoint List – add a people field titled ‘Approver’.

Create the Power Automate Flow

1. From the SharePoint List, click on Automate > Power Automate > Create a flow

2. In the right pane, select Start approval when a new item is added

If this is your first time using Power Automate, you’ll see a getting started dialog box,

3. Click OK

4. At the bottom of the page, click Continue

You will notice that most of this flow is pre-populated, the first container ‘When a new item is created’ already shows the Site and List. So now we will make just a few adjustments.

5. Grab the Get my profile (V2) container and place it directly beneath the first container, the start of the flow should look like this now:

Now that it is going to check for the submitter’s profile, we need to look up the manager.

6. Click on the + sign directly under the ‘Get my profile (V2)’ container

7. Select Add an action

8. Type in ‘get manager’ and select Get manager (V2) from the Actions list

9. Click into the User (UPN) field and in the Dynamic content pane, select User Principal Name

Next, we need to assign the approval task to the manager:

10. In the Start an approval container, click into the Assigned To field

11. If the Dynamic content pane does not appear, click on Add dynamic content directly under the Assigned to field

12. Choose Mail in the Get manager (V2) section

Now, the only thing left to add is to write back to the SharePoint list the status after it has been approved or rejected:

13. Expand the Condition container on the left

14. In the If yes container on the left, click on Add an action directly beneath

‘Inform item creator of approval’

15. In the search box, type ‘update item’ and select the SharePoint Update item in the Actions list

16. For Site Address, select the SharePoint site from the drop-down

17. For List Name, select the list from the drop-down

18. Click into the Id field and select ID from the Dynamic content pane

19. Click into the Title field and in Dynamic content pane, scroll down to the When a new item is created and choose Title from that section

20. In the Training Request Status Value, update Submitted to Approved

21. Next, follow steps b-g for ‘If no’ changing the last value from Submitted to Rejected,

the end of the flow should look like the following:

22. In the top right corner, click Save

23. Next, click Test and select I’ll perform the trigger action

24. Go back to your Training Request form and submit an entry

25. Return to the Power Automate flow to watch the progress

If no errors, this flow is active and ready.

Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways


Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways is a digital, customizable, learning app part that streams on-demand content to your end-users, without them having to leave your environment.

Rather than recreate all of Microsoft’s guidance in this book, I am going to focus on the

topics that I cannot find in their documentation.

It starts with four main categories:

  • Get Started
  • Scenarios
  • Products
  • Adoption Tools

Those categories are broken down into subcategories, and new subcategories can be added. At the time of this writing, there is no way to add more main categories. All new content will need to map to one of the existing four. For example, New Hire Orientation information could be added to Get Started. Organizational tools outside of M365 could be added to Products. Role-based training could be added to Scenarios.

It allows tagging content at three learner levels:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

It also allows tagging content to different audiences:

  • Admin
  • Help desk
  • Change manager
  • Champions/Trainer
  • Executive Assistant
  • VIP
  • End User
  • Content Editor
  • Content Manager
  • Group Owner
  • Site Sponsor
  • All

Currently, there is no way to edit the list audiences.


The person installing the solution will need to be a Global Admin, and the app catalogue will need to be set up. Learn more here: us/office365/customlearning/custom_provision#prerequisites

Add the Solution

Navigate to the Provisioning SharePoint PNP site to install the solution: 6b2f05344239

Once it’s ready, an email will be sent that has a link to the site and will need to set it up for first use. Learn more here: b872-4c9d-88e3-6b2f05344239

Customize the Solution

Before making updates to the solution, get familiar with how it’s built and how users

navigate through playlists.

Microsoft’s instructions for customizations are here: us/office365/customlearning/custom_overview.


Hide Unwanted Content

First, look at the default playlists and decide if anything should be hidden. If your organization doesn’t plan to use Yammer, you may want to hide ‘Connect your organization to Yammer’ in the Recommended subcategory and also hide the entire Yammer subcategory from Products. This can always be reversed if Yammer is later released to the organization.

Add Missing Content

Look at the existing M365 content and figure out if you have any assets you’d like to add to the existing products. Maybe you have document libraries or videos from internal training. For this example, we have a video in Stream that teaches end-users about Planner and has a quiz embedded.

To add this video and quiz:

1. From the Learning Pathways admin center, click on Planner and then the + sign in the top right corner

2. Enter a Title and Description

3. Select Planner in Technology drop-down

4. Set Level and Audience

5. Scroll back up and click Save Detail to enable adding assets

6. Click on +New Asset. This will allow you to create a new SharePoint page or point to an existing SharePoint Page

7. Add the Title

8. Assign Planner as the Technology

9. Click Create Asset Page and then Open Page

10. Edit the page and add the Stream app part

11. For Source, select Single Video

12. You will need to open another browser tab to navigate to that video in Stream to copy the URL

13. Paste the URL into the Video address field

14. Close the left pane

15. Optional: add text or other app parts to the page

16. Publish the page and go back to the Learning Pathways admin center

17. Click Save Asset

18. Click on Close Playlist

Next, focus on adding missing subcategories to the four main categories. Take the time to map out…

Category > Sub-Category > Playlist/Level/Audience

…before making any changes.

Carefully Consider Subcategories

In the example created for this book, I added five sub-categories to the Products category:

  • Power Platform
  • Power Apps
  • Dynamics 365
  • PowerBI
  • RPA

Number one looks redundant to the other four as they are all considered part of the Power Platform, but I wanted a way to tag individual content and a way to roll it up into one sub-category when adding to SharePoint pages, more on that soon in Putting it All Together.

Get Help

The Learning Pathways Admin Success Center contains links to help with planning, customization, and adoption. You’ll find the link to it under the ‘Home’ menu. Find the link to learn more in the Appendix.

Putting it all Together

Learning & development Portal on SharePoint Online


As stated earlier, this example is based on an organization using a separate SharePoint Communications than the one that was created with the Learning Pathways solution. I did this for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Learning Pathways site has helpful links exposed that are important to the L&D admins, and I do not want to hide those
  2. Many organizations have already started a SharePoint, somewhere, for L&D purposes and this will prevent them from having to start over and migrate existing content.

Add Learning Pathways App Part

The first step is making the Learning Pathways app part available on your site.

  1. From wherever you like to add new apps (landing page > New, settings cog > add an app, Site Contents > New), click to add an app
  2. In the left-hand navigation, click on From Your Organization
  3. Click on Microsoft 365 learning pathways. This will take a few minutes to become available.

Add Entire App Part

Create a new page and add the learning pathways app part so users can quickly see all playlists available to them. If there are too many playlists with restricted content, then skip this step and create pages with filtered app parts.

Add Filtered App Part

Next, to add a page that is specific to a category or subcategory, like the Power Platform or any role-based or scenario-based playlists you created, create a page, add the app part and then edit the app part. Filter as appropriate.

Other Integrations


On the landing page or on the page that has the entire learning pathways app part, add your M365 Champions Yammer Community.

The benefit of adding the Community to the page that holds all the playlists is that the feed stays visible as users navigate through all the products.

Note: when adding this app part, search for Conversations, not Yammer.

Leave the Conversation source set to Community and then click into the Search for a source field, all communities you can add will appear

Other Integrations

Pages can be added without adding to the Learning Pathways solution if desired. You have an entire SharePoint Site at your disposal. Create as many pages as you need and on each of those pages, you have the option to add Quizzes, Stream Channels and single videos, countdown timers, call to action buttons, training calendars, quick links and more.

Be sure to create a page for the Training Requests, with the request list set to the filtered view, and add it to the navigation.

I also added a ‘Call to Action’ app part that allows you to quickly add text and a link to the web page for an attention-grabbing button to submit new requests.

If you are new to editing modern SharePoint pages, check out the links in the appendix.

Department Workspace on Microsoft Teams


As so many of us live in Microsoft Teams throughout our workday, I want to show how to incorporate learning tools here to increase adoption.

Create a Training Channel

1. In your department’s Team, add a Channel dedicated to Training.

2. Pin the Learning & Development SharePoint site as a tab Hint: you will need to use the Website tab for this, not the SharePoint tab

3. The top navigation from SharePoint does not appear in Teams. Add a Quick Links app part to the L&D landing page to help users navigate.

4. On the SharePoint Site that is associated with your Team, create a Training page that is specific to the roles in your department.

5. Add a Stream web part that is connected to your department’s Stream Channel. Alternatively, you could add Stream as a tab directly in Teams, but pinning this page instead allows for more flexibility. You could also add a document library, text, and links to the same page rather than using multiple tabs to present the same information.

6. Add the Yammer community as a tab (note: search for ‘Communities’ to add)

Other apps to consider:

  • Pin quizzes directly into the Training channel
  • Install Quizlet (3rd party app) as a tab
  • Add Planner to help everyone stay on top of required trainings and get automated reminders

o With the charts view, gamify the completion of tasks


This is just the very beginning of what can be done in Microsoft 365 as a Learning & Development platform. The time invested in this ‘choose your adventure’ style of creation will be quickly offset by the savings in licensing and identity management, the increased adoption, and the integrated apps and automation.

With Microsoft 365, your organization retains ownership of all data and can apply retention policies to ensure the data sticks around exactly as long as it should.

Be sure to check out the linked articles in the Appendix to get more ideas and guidance.


Links for next steps:

  • Editing in modern SharePoint Online: us/article/create-and-use-modern-pages-on-a-sharepoint-site-b3d46deb-27a6- 4b1e-87b8- df851e503dec#:~:text=To%20make%20changes%20to%20your,your%20changes,


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