I write this not as a trainer but as someone who has been working intimately with SharePoint for the last 5 years-- SharePoint training is a critical piece of a successful implementation and subsequent adoption. That much is a given.

As a trainer, however, I’ve noticed that people learning SharePoint fall into certain categories. My objective here is to explore who they are. I must own up that I am making some broad generalizations--in all fairness and reality, each student and each training experience is unique.

3 Types of SharePoint Learners

In my SharePoint training experience, there are a few different categories of students I come across:

  1. Self-taught SharePoint Power User
  2. Beginner with Limited Interaction with SharePoint
  3. Someone Thrown in the Deep End of the SharePoint Pool

These three types of students are coming from a very different perspective when they come to attend a training. Each of them has their own agenda, drive, and objective in terms of what they are looking to accomplish.

Let’s take a closer look.

#1: Self-Taught SharePoint Power User

This is the student who has been working with SharePoint for generally longer than a year or so as content owner or site owner/site administrator. This was a role that they adapted by way of being one of the key drivers or stake holders in a business process. They have put together their knowledge of SharePoint by finding information available on the Internet.

But they generally lack the all-encompassing understanding and fundamentals of the SharePoint build and technical architecture. So these students appreciate the approach I generally take in our public deliveries. They gain value and insight from the detailed breakdown of how and with what intent SharePoint is designed and created. This information helps them realign their functional understanding and knowledge of SharePoint with the technical and architectural design and empowers them to successfully leverage SharePoint in a more holistic manner.

#2: Beginner with Limited SharePoint Interaction

The beginner with limited interaction is usually someone who, although he or she has been using SharePoint for quite some time, has had very limited engagement and experience. Mostly it is restricted to uploading/downloading documents and working with “folders” in SharePoint.

These students, again, lack the in-depth understanding of SharePoint design and architecture as well as the fundamentals of what drives SharePoint and allows content owners to situate and define an information architecture. For them, it’s important to get a bird’s-eye view as well as an understanding of what is in the trenches (i.e., where the information is saved, and captured). A closer look at how columns, views, and creating lists and libraries work in SharePoint empowers them to elevate their functional understanding from working with documents to working with content definition and architecting.

There might be a bit too much information, depending on the level of training that they are attending, but any detailed layered information that introduces the student to the various facets of what defines SharePoint, is always welcome.

#3: Thrown into the Deep End of the SharePoint Pool

These students generally tend to be users who have been given new roles and responsibilities in their organization. This restructuring usually thrusts these students in a position where they have to adapt and learn quickly about SharePoint sites and content that they have to start managing.

At times, they might feel a sense of frustration and agitation at having to adapt to unwanted and undesired responsibilities and technologies. But ultimately, with the approach being to show them how SharePoint can simplify the way they manage the information and content or oversee a process around a specific set of data, they see they have ample incentive to invest into the technology and adapt.

These students too, benefit from the fundamentals and also get some added value from learning the tools that can help them build and expand their SharePoint sites by building custom solutions or customizing the experience of working with SharePoint. They value being able to utilize tools like SharePoint Designer and InfoPath Designer to enhance the experience of using SharePoint.

Know Where You’re At

Overall, as vital as training is, understanding and recognizing where users are approaching the training from, can help make a training far more successful. A successfully executed training, in turn, can then make their experience working with SharePoint more personable and affable, as well as making the whole implementation and the adoption thereof, a more well-rounded success. Feel free to contact me for more ideas and information at training@sharepointinnovations.com.

So, how closely have you looked at your training needs? I’m curious—do you recognize where you or people you have trained with fall within the realm of the three types I mention here?