Tech Titans Dive Into Learning: Google and Microsoft
by Jim Lundy
Never underestimate an opportunity to make money. The latest opportunity is in learning and training. In an era of COVID, it is all about knowledge. To attain knowledge, one needs to be trained. In what is increasingly becoming a knowledge economy, skills are important. That is why so many learning providers are offering more training opportunities and more online courses as part of their subscriptions. This blog discusses the recent moves by industry titans to launch their own training initiatives.
Google and Microsoft Launch New Training Initiatives
There are multiple reasons why both Google and Microsoft have launched new training initiatives that target their prospects and customers. While the headlines are about being good corporate citizens, the hidden agenda is really about selling more current products and services. This should not come as a surprise to many in tech, but, regardless, it’s a welcome move that will be taken advantage of by many.
Google’s Digital Garage
Google Digital garage offers a host of training courses focused on specific jobs and specific skills. Hidden in the plethora of courses and different types of learning paths are courses to learn more about Google products, such as G Suite and Google AI.
Microsoft's New Learning Initiative
Microsoft got a full learning content provider when it bought LinkedIn. Part of the Microsoft update to its learning initiative is an attempt to leverage LinkedIn learning, which features learning paths for jobs such as software developer and sales representative. However, Microsoft Learn, which is a separate website, is all about learning Microsoft products.
Comparing the Two Learning Offerings—What Is Certification Worth?
The teaser from both firms is that you can get certified. We feel certifications are important, but a certification is only as good as the training that is delivered. In our examination of some of the courses that both firms offer, we found them basic and a little lacking in content.
The Microsoft Learn courses are very basic at the beginning and have a lot of reading and some graphics. Microsoft offers a certification exam that users have to pay for. For some courses, it also offers the option of live instruction in lieu of online learning
The LinkedIn learning courses use the approach of an instructor who gives a lecture with some slides as background material. Again, for sales training, you would not send your salespeople to this training. It is far too basic.
The Google training features video and regular quizzes, so we could say that they put a little more time and effort into their offerings. In our opinion, both firms could improve the quality of their courses.
Salesforce Trailhead—Just the Basics Please
While Google and Microsoft are offering their training, Salesforce has gotten more credit and has gone out of its way to market Trailhead, its training offering for Salesforce and other courses. As with Google and Microsoft, Trailhead courses are very basic and, in many cases, they have only text material, limited graphics, and then a quiz.
Tech titans want you to take their training. But before you push your people to do that, take the time to understand what they will really learn. In some cases, videos on YouTube from users do a better job of teaching than the basic courses these providers offer. So, at the end of the day, these are lightweight attempts at offering training. Your users deserve better.