Teams Real Simple with Pictures: Deploying Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways in Teams as a personal app

This blog is part of a series on Teams. For more articles, check back often.

Written: 16/08/2020 | Updated: N/A

Learning pathways is a customizable, on-demand learning solution designed to increase usage and adoption of Microsoft 365 services in your organization. It’s one of those things which has been on my radar to write about for some time. Having your learning site in easy reach of your Team – within Teams itself – and bringing your learning content where your Team is working on a day to day basis saves time and makes it easier for them to access without needing to navigate to another application. Add in the fact that you can customise content and you have a really powerful application that is great for increasing the teams’ knowledge and adoption of Microsoft 365 services, provides a greater return on Teams, SharePoint and other 365 applications as well as provide a platform for the organisation to deploy it’s own content. No need to necessarily splash out on that LMS

This blog will focus on the deployment of Learning Pathways

WHY WOULD WE DO IT?

  • To provide training and skill up the team
  • To provide a training application within Teams which is close to hand
  • To increase the return on investment in Teams, SharePoint and other 365 apps through skilling

PREREQUISITES

To set this up

1.) Global admin role as well as Site Collection Administrator role with owner over the site to deploy into SharePoint Online. For deploying in Teams, the user needs to be licenced for Teams and have access to App Studio as well as having Teams Administrator role to create or modify any app setup and app permission policies

2.) There needs to be an app catalogue site in your SharePoint Online environment. If there isn’t, one needs to be created otherwise you will run into issues when provisioning the Learning Pathways site. The end result should be that app catalogue site ought to be under site collections: it can take 10-15 minutes to provision and you should leave it for 2 hours before trying to provision Learning Path (Step 11 below)

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3.) At the time of writing, the Learning Pathways app downloaded from the SharePoint Look Book is version 4.1.2 whereas the latest version of Pathways is 4.1.3. After installing 4.1.2 from the SharePoint Lookbook go here to download the 4.1.3 .sppkg file, upload to the app catalogue and then update the version via the site contents of the home page. All steps are outlined in the article with the link above. Highly recommended to do this immediately after deploying Learning Pathways and prior to integration with Teams

HOW

1.) The first step is to ensure the global admin who is setting this up does not have a language set. Login to https://login.microsoftonline.com

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2.) From the waffle, select All Apps

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3.) Select Delve

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4.) Select Me

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5.) Select update profile

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6.) Select Here under ‘How can I change language and regional settings’

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7.) Select More Options (…) and then Languages and Region

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8.) If there is a language here under My Display Languages, remove it so it should read No languages selected. Scroll to the bottom of the page then select Save all then Close

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9.) In a new browser tab, go to the SharePoint Lookbook here. Select Add to your Tenant

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10.) Tick Consent on behalf of your organisation and select Accept

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11.) Confirm the email where provision will notify once completed and the Learning pathways site URL (/sites/M365LP by default) and then select Provision

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12.) Select Confirm

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13.) You will get confirmation that the provisioning has started as well as confirmation of the Learning Pathways URL

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14.) After around 15 minutes, Learning Pathways is deployed

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15.) We are now going to create a personal app in Teams. On the app bar on the left hand side select More Options (…) and then search for and select App Studio. Note: you may not see it if App Studio is prohibited in your app permission policy which may need to be amended

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16.) Select Add

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17.) Select Manifest Editor and then Create a New App

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18.) You will now be asked to fill out the app details. Fill in the following mandatory fields

Short Name: Learning Pathways
App ID: Generate an App ID. This is important – make a note of it
Package Name: Learning Pathways
Version: 1.0.0
Short Description: Learning Pathways
Long Description: App to help users learn about Microsoft 365
Developer/Company Name: Your name/Your company name
Website: Your website
Privacy Statement: URL of your privacy statement
Terms of Use: URL of your Terms of Use

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19.) Add your logo and leave the advanced blank. Note there are logo guidelines. You must have one logo which is 192 x 192 and one that is 32 x 32. You may need to use an editor at this point such as paint.net to help resize

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20.) Having now completed the App Details, select Tabs and then select Add a Personal Tab

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21.) Complete the following Tab details and once done select Save

Name: Learning Pathways
Entity: Unique Entity of the Tab. Example 100001 used here

Content URL: The content URL is very important. In order for Learning Pathways to render, it needs to be written as follows

https://yourtenantname.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/teamslogon.aspx?SPFX=true&dest=/sites/yourlearningpathwayssite

For example, the one I am using for this demo is:

https://m365x821868.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/teamslogon.aspx?SPFX=true&dest=/sites/M365LP

Website URL: Leave Blank, unless you want to a click out to the browser in the top right of the tab. If so, then use the URL of the Learning Pathways site

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22.) Select Domains and Permissions, copy in the App ID that you previously generated then add the URL of the Learning Pathways SharePoint site itself under Single Sign On

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22.) Select Test and Distribute and then Install 

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23.) Select Add

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24.) Learning Pathways is now in Teams

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25.) However, we are not done yet! We need to distribute this to the Team. Select App Studio from the App Bar, select Manifest Editor. Select the Learning Pathways app and select Test and Distribute. Select Download

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26.) The Zip File has downloaded to your downloads folder on the local machine

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27.) Login to the Teams Admin Centre (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com), go to Teams Apps and then Manage Apps, select Upload

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28.) Select Select a File

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29.) Upload the zip from the downloads folder. This will be marked as successful if successfully uploaded and you can then search for it in the app list

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30.) Users, after quitting and restarting Teams, should now see the app and can pin it to the app bar (subject to app setup policy)

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31.) If you just want to a specific set of users to see and use the app, as well as set it in a specific place on the app bar use app permissions and app setup policies in the Teams Admin Centre. Note these may take a few hours to propagate and users may need to log out and log back in for it to apply

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Our job here is done

The deployment of learning pathways is, by all accounts, straightforward and pain free. However, three critical points to remember are

1.) Install the app catalogue site in SharePoint (see prerequisites) prior to trying to deploy the Learning Pathways App
2.) Ensuring the Learning Pathways App is up to date (see prerequisites)
3.) Ensuring the Content URL in the App Manifest within App Studio is correct as outlined otherwise Learning Pathways will not surface in the Teams Desktop App

Also, one final note is that you could make things easier by downloading a ready made version of the Teams app from here, uploading, substituting the details for your own and then re-downloading and uploading to distribute. However, I thought it just as quick to build the app from scratch

You can now go on, customise the Learning Pathways SharePoint site and create custom content for your organisation or your customers. Happy training!

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