Viva Forever?

Microsoft Viva in MS Teams

In the past few weeks, Microsoft officially launched Microsoft Viva and made some substantial changes to Microsoft Educator Centre. Microsoft Viva is a product aimed at employee engagement within MS Teams. It consists of a number of parts but one element of interest to educators is the Viva Learning section.
The Learning section in Viva combines all the learning resources in a single location, including tools from LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Microsoft Learn, edX, and the content created locally. To quote one review “Viva Learning makes it quick and simple to discover, share, track, and even assign a variety of learning experiences as a standard part of the workday.”

List of providers

Viva is built on SharePoint so some experience here will allow a lot of functionality to be designed for any audience such as a body of students or a school staffroom. At present, it is available with an M365 licence. The other major announcement is the merging of Microsoft Education Center (MEC) into Microsoft Learn which was the repository for a lot of Microsoft courses that would have led to Microsoft certifications. Microsoft Learn as mentioned above will form part of the Viva Learning menu which means an ICT coordinator with M365 admin privileges could construct a series of learning pathways based on MEC courses accessible in a “just in time” format with MS Teams. Initially, my first reaction looking at Microsoft Learn was that it could provide a very useful substitute to a TY student already proficient in Office completing another Microsoft course.

Microsoft Educator Center (MEC)has been a major success in education and it is a surprise that it was added to Microsoft Learn as I feel the MEC is a bit overwhelmed by all the other offerings on the site. On the other hand, the serendipity of a teacher stumbling across a data analytics course in Microsoft Learn that leads to an innovative teaching tool or methodology might make it all worthwhile.

A comment from a teacher working in an online k-12 school on the ease to “plug and play” a Google Applied Digital Skills course into her curriculum resonated with me from during the pandemic. It is interesting that both Microsoft and Google (Applied Digital Skills) are developing platforms/programmes with a series of courses that are traditionally delivered online in FET or second-level institutions. Is this a portent of the future? Are we evolving from the ECDL and Gaisce awards to a wider palette of internationally recognized certifications? Interesting times ahead!

A reminder! The deadline for the second round of Microsoft Innovator Educator Expert applications is December 15th. The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert program is Microsoft’s program created to recognise innovator teachers. MIE Experts share their learning with colleagues and other educators through local training programs in their own school systems, presentations at conferences, blogs, social channels, and more.

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