[MVP Blog] Build Targeted Training on Office 365 Adoption Center: Part 2


This is part 2 of a 2-part blog series:

I highly endorse the idea of building an Office 365 Adoption Center as an effective tool to train on specific services across Office 365 as well as share employee success stories for how the tools are being used to make their work lives better. In this post, I pick up where I left off in Part 1 to build related pages in an Adoption Center on a modern SharePoint Communication site. If you haven’t read Part 1, please go ahead and do that now… I’ll be waiting here when you get back.


In part 1, I walked thru the setup steps required prior to building the pages for Targeted Service and Targeted Role training. In this post, we will create Adoption pages tagged with both roles and services and then a series of pages for SharePoint Targeted Service training and Customer-focused Targeted Role training.


The technical advantage of this technique is it will allow one page-reference to appear in several locations depending on how it was tagged. (Example: if a page was tagged with both SharePoint and Customer-facing, it would appear on both the SharePoint Skills page and the Customer-facing Skills page – a smart way of re-using content)


Now that we have everything set up, let’s start building pages!


Build steps

As a rule of thumb, always start building your modern pages from the detail pages up. In this way, all pages needing to link to a detail page will have a page to link to. For this example, we will build all the Adoption Pages first followed by the Featured Service and Featured Role Pages and lastly the home page.


Step 1: Build Adoption Pages

Build all related training pages for the SharePoint service. These are the pages that will be displayed in the “Related SharePoint skills” web part on the main SharePoint skills page and are where the main training content will live.


IMPORTANT: Please don’t “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to documentation for Office 365. Microsoft has already done a thorough job of this and you should leverage that wherever possible. What I do recommend is to build a site where you present the documentation in a more meaningful way (by role for example) for your own organization, however… ALWAYS link back to official Microsoft training material on your detail pages.


To build these pages, select New… Adoption Page from the toolbar. You can lay out your page anyway you want, however I would recommend including a header image on each page as the thumbnail image generated will be visually appealing when the page is rolled up to the Related SharePoint skills web part.


After creating each Adoption page, you must set the metadata to ensure it is rolled up to the SharePoint Featured Service page. To do this, go to the Pages library view, select the page and set the role and service (i.e. SharePoint) from the detail pane. Remember to publish the page after you do this!


Before continuing, you must wait for a crawl so the managed properties for AdoptionService and AdoptionRole are created. In the next steps, we will use these managed properties in our queries.


Step 2: Build Featured Service Pages


For each of the services Contoso wants to train for, create a new page based on the Featured Service Page content type:

  • All about SharePoint
  • All about Outlook
  • All about Planner
  • All about OneDrive
  • All about Yammer



To build these, select New… Featured Service Page from the toolbar. These pages may include a text section to include a definition of what the service is used for in your organization as well as a web part displaying all related pages for the service you’ve previously built in Step 1.


The Related Skills section is built using the Highlighted Content Web Part. I believe this will eventually become the modern page replacement for the Content Search Web Part although it has a fair way to go before it will have similar capabilities. As of the time of this writing, you cannot have multiple filters combined in an ‘AND’ or ‘OR’ combination in this web part. If you have multiple filters, it returns everything for each of the filters. Due to this, we will only be applying one filter in this example.



The “magic” of the Highlighted content web part comes from the source and filters you configure. In this example, we only want to include pages where the AdoptionService tag is set to “SharePoint”.


To do this, select a Filter option of “Managed property” and select the generated managed property name from the search schema, owstaxIdAdoptionService, as shown in the image.


Note: full crawl was required – no extra configuration was done in the search schema.


Once you add the Highlighted Content Web Part to the SharePoint Featured Service page, users will be able to see, at a glance, all related skills’ pages from this page.


Below is an example of the SharePoint Featured service page once the Highlighted Content web part has been added:



Step 3: Build Featured Role Pages

Follow the same steps as above for building the Featured Role Pages for each of the roles being trained for in Contoso:

  • Customer-facing Office 365 Skills
  • Office 365 Skills for Back-office Workers
  • New Employee Office 365 Skills
  • Office 365 Skills for Leaders

Add the Highlighted Content Web Part on each to show all related Adoption pages tagged with that role. Below is an example of the Customer-facing Featured Role page.




Step 4: Build 2 Landing pages


Once you’ve built all your Featured Service and Featured Role pages, build 2 landing pages to show them each rolled up. In our example, I built 2 standard site pages with a Highlighted Content Web part on each to display pages where the content type was Featured Service Page (shown in image) or Featured Role Page respectively.




Featured Service Landing Page

Here is the landing page showing the 5 Featured Service pages thumbnails in the Highlighted Content Web Part.


When you click each of the thumbnail images, you will go to the Featured Service Page where all related Adoption Pages will be displayed:



Featured Role Landing Page

Here is the landing page showing the 4 Featured Role Pages’ thumbnails in the Highlighted Content Web Part. When you click each of the thumbnail images, you will go to the Featured Role Page where all related Adoption Pages will be displayed:




Step 5: Review Pages built

The Contoso Adoption Center will be comprised of many pages. I have a combination of Site Pages, Featured Service Pages, Featured Role Pages, and Adoption Pages. For the screen prints I am showing above, here is a snapshot of the pages I’ve built and the tagging for each. As you can see, I have 3 pages tagged with SharePoint and 3 for Customer-facing with one of those pages being tagged with both:



Step 6: Update the Home page

Now that we have all site pages built, let’s move up to the Home page. Update the Hero web part to link two of the tiles to the Featured Service and Featured Role landing pages. Here is what mine looks like:





The technique described in this post can be used for building O365 service-based, role-based, or any other kind of targeted training pages. With tagged pages, you can surface the content anywhere that tag makes sense. It is a simple yet effective way to bring together related modern pages in your Office 365 Adoption Center and all of this can be done without any custom code. Have some fun with it!


Thanks for reading.



Credit: Featured photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash


Love it! Great meeting you last week in person for the first time. Can I suggest updating this one with a link to Part 1

Hi Tom! Thanks for the feedback! I've asked the Tech Community team to hyperlink the two posts to each other. 

@Joanne Klein Thanks for sharing this blog series with us. Really helpful in creating a user adoption centre / training portal.


In my experience, the Office 365 training should be tailored to meet the client's Office 365 environment and usage. As they may be using various Office 365 services which are configured in a specific way. E.g. Using classic vs modern UX in SPO, Use of Document Sets etc. 


Rather using Targeted Service based training, I would prefer to use Targeted Solutions (or scenarios) based training. Here are few examples of targeted solutions. 


  1. How to co-authoring proposals, presentations, reports etc. 
  2. How to discover people skills and expertise
  3. How to use <business application>? Business Applications could be Document Management System, Records Management Systems, Bid Register etc. 
  4. How to use cloud storage for personal/working documents?

I find that users embrace business solutions training better than generic Office 365 Services such as SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Delve. We need to train the users on how to derive business benefits out of this services to achieve better user adoption. 


Generic training of Office 365 service doesn't give us the expected results as users find it hard to relate to technology. Rather they relate to solving business problems specific to them. I think this is where your idea of Targeted Role based training comes in. Here is the structure I would use. 


  • Targeted Role
    • Solution 1 
    • Solution 2

Few examples: 


  • Receptionist
    • Find People
    • Browse Org Chart
    • Manage meeting rooms and equipment
    • Organise events 
  • Frontline worker
    • Raise a service request
    • Make a video conference
    • Browse and add to the knowledge base
  • Knowledge Worker
    • Co-author documents
    • Ensure Compliance
    • Find expertise

With regards to using the Microsoft support training materials, I find them slightly outdated or does not cover the complete feature set of the service. However, Microsoft is doing a great job lately in bringing us better documentation than what it used to be years ago. 


My two cents! 



Hey Jag, love it!!! I agree with building your "training" around true-to-life business solutions and tying that back to the different roles in an organization. There are many ways to "train" for Office 365 - I would argue there may still be a place for some level of training for specific services, but certainly that shouldn't be the primary focus.


I think I'll run with your idea of solutions to tie in with each role. Same technique as is described in the post.


Thanks for sharing!

-Joanne K

So friggin' cool. Great job @Joanne Klein