Microsoft Learn: Advance Your Skills…for Free!

Microsoft Learn

Written by Jackie Bilodeau

I am the Communications Director for CGNET, having returned to CGNET in 2018 after a 10-year stint in the 1990's. I enjoy hiking, music, dance, photography, writing and travel. Read more about my work at CGNET here.

June 1, 2023

Microsoft Learn is a platform that provides free training, videos, forums, certifications and documentation for Microsoft products. With 80 hours of free content, localized into 23 different languages, their aim is to empower IT professionals to become proficient with Microsoft technology through hands-on, interactive training, all customized by the trainee.  Essentially, you can select the content that’s appropriate to your role and goals and then create – and complete at your own pace – a personalized lesson plan.  And all at no charge!

How it works

With Microsoft Learn, you can decide if you want to tackle a single subject area (known here as a module) or start down a more comprehensive “learning path”, comprised of an organized sequence of multiple modules.

  • Modules are the building blocks of each learning path. Each module is made up of 5 to 7 steps, or units. These might be things like an interactive activity, a quiz, or simply reading material. Every module includes an overview, a set of learning objectives, time required for each unit, prerequisites, and an amount of Experience Points (XP) you will be rewarded upon completion.
  • Learning paths provide an end-to-end view of a technology area and ensure that you build a comprehensive skillset. Each path is made up of an ordered list of multiple modules and is organized around a specific role (like developer, architect, or system admin) or technology (like Azure Web Apps, Power BI, etc.). When you finish a learning path, you also get an achievement trophy.

When you are ready to start learning, just head to this page.  You can browse all available modules and learning paths (nearly 4,600 of them!), filtering by specific product, current experience level, job role and/or subject matter of interest.

Free Azure resources with Learn Sandbox

To take some of the complication out of the typical online learning process, Microsoft created the Learn Sandbox, allowing free, fixed-time access to an Azure cloud subscription with no credit card required. Here you can safely learn, create, and manage all your training resources hassle-free.

Learning by doing with Azure Cloud Shell

Many IT professionals prefer to “learn by doing”. To enable that, Microsoft has integrated the Azure Cloud Shell which enables you to run Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, .NET, Java, Node.js, Go and Python code directly in the shell, or use many of the included command-line utilities like Git, Kubectl, Helm, and more. All of this is available directly from your browser with no installation or configuration required.

Game on!

Microsoft has added an element of gamification to their training to make learning more fun. This also makes it easier to track and share your learning accomplishments on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can earn (and subsequently brag about):

  • Points, when you complete a unit in a module.
  • Achievements, when you complete all units in a module.
  • Trophies, when you complete all modules in a learning path.
  • Levels, which get higher as you earn more points.

With Microsoft Learn you have one stop for free, self-paced, guided learning on all of the Microsoft platform products and services.

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