Why do SharePoint users need training?

A question we sometimes get asked is, “Why does SharePoint require user training?” Often the preconception is that SharePoint is complex, or difficult to use. Whilst it is fair to say SharePoint does have some user interface 'kinks' (like any software), the reason that training is sometimes useful is actually much simpler.

Group of people receive SharePoint user training

Simply put, users don't need training in SharePoint. Just like they don't need training in Word or Facebook. We all manage perfectly well every day writing documents and updating our status. Similarly users can generally navigate SharePoint, download documents and read news items with no trouble whatsoever.

SharePoint Training gives Access to the Depth of Functionality

But SharePoint (just like Word and Facebook) offers much more functionality beneath the surface. Want a sophisticated records management system? SharePoint can do that. Want a content management system to build and edit a website? SharePoint has that covered as well. In fact SharePoint can do so much it hides lots of its functionality away in menus and screens that most users don't see.

The ribbon interface is most user's gateway to SharePoint, and it does a similar job to that of the Office version. It surfaces common icons and menus, puts them in the foreground, and makes them easily accessible. In this way things like bolding text or uploading a file become pretty simple. Where SharePoint training can be required is for more complex tasks, such as using those tools required to build a records management system for example.

This paradigm is actually no different to Word or Facebook. Most users can't use the more complex functionality of these applications without being shown. Can you set up mail merging in Word or edit your privacy settings in Facebook?

So SharePoint users can need training, but only in the more advanced topics. End users consuming information from SharePoint systems can generally get going with the minimum of intervention. Happily, with the release of the much improved 2013 version, SharePoint is now even easier to use.

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