What is Microsoft SharePoint? Well, the answer to that question isn’t straight forward as Microsoft SharePoint isn’t a program it’s a platform. Let me further explain; one might be used to a program/software like Microsoft Word which is used in creating documents or Microsoft Excel which is used in crunching and representing numbers; these are programs/software that can do only a specific task. On the other hand you’ve Microsoft SharePoint which can be used in;
- Sites: SharePoint can be used in creating sites; a site for an organization, a team within an organization or even a personal blog. You don’t need to be a web developer to create a website using SharePoint.
- Communities: Each group within the organization can have their own community on SharePoint where they can share calendars/documents/sheets and collaborate on them.
- Content: SharePoint is a powerful content management system; where an individual or a group within an organization can create, follow and edit content (Word Files, Excel spreadsheets, Access Datasheets, presentations, etc.).
- Search: It can also be used in search; where individuals can search all of the content available on SharePoint from documents to people, each individual would only have access to the content available for them.
- Insights: SharePoint can help organizations compile and understand available information, thus making better use of available resources and opportunities.
- Composites: SharePoint capabilities could be extended to fit the organization/team/group specific needs via the creation of workflows and even applications.
The bottom line of the above explanation is that when you start thinking of Microsoft SharePoint, don’t think of it as a program like Microsoft Word/Excel/Access/PowerPoint but think of it as the entire Microsoft Office Suite (a platform); a set of tools that can help an organization accomplish different goals. Finally, it’s worth noting that SharePoint is used by nearly 78 % of the fortune 500 companies.
This post is a road map for anyone willing to start learning Microsoft SharePoint online for free from scratch, the post will present and compare between the best online sources where beginners can start from and follow along, the sources stated in this post are full structured courses so you won’t find a link to a single video or a group of unrelated tutorials.
Starting Learning SharePoint Online for Free from Scratch
The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is the first free online outlet where beginners can start learning Microsoft SharePoint from scratch, what is unique about this outlet is that it starts SharePoint from scratch assuming that you know nothing about it.
Structure: The training is divided into 4 sections, each section is divided into lessons and each lesson covers a certain topic in SharePoint, the course is well-structured and organized for beginners.
Interface: The interface is very simple, just click on the lesson you’re interested in and you’ll be directed to the lesson’s window.
- The training is well-structured and organized for beginners.
- The course only covers the very basics of Microsoft SharePoint.
- The training covers an old version Microsoft SharePoint (SharePoint 2010).
Verdict: This is an excellent source for beginners to start learning Microsoft SharePoint, though it’s worth noting that it’s not enough on its own.
Simplified SharePoint (Update: Not Available) Simplified SharePoint is the second free online outlet where beginners can start learning Microsoft SharePoint from scratch. You don’t have to register in order to have access to the course.
Structure: The course is divided into 2 parts, each part is divided into sections and each section is divided into lessons that cover various topics in Microsoft SharePoint.
Interface: The interface is very simple, just click on the lesson you’re interested in and you’ll be directed to the lesson’s window where you shall find the video and the text tutorial.
- The course is available as video as well as text.
- The course is well-structured and organized for beginners.
- The course doesn’t cover any intermediate or advanced topics, though that won’t be a problem for beginner.
Verdict: This is an excellent source for beginners to start from, it’s highly recommended that you try this in conjunction with the The University of Chicago training.
Alison is the third online outlet where beginners can start learning Microsoft SharePoint for free; you need to register in order to have access to the course. What’s unique about Alison is that you can receive a certificate at the end of the course, if you pass the assessment of course, but I’ve to warn you that the course is free but the certificate will cost you round 10 $.
Structure: The course is divided into 3 parts, the first part is divided into 8 modules, the second part is divided into 11 modules, each module is divided into lessons and each lesson covers a certain topic in Microsoft SharePoint. The last module has the assessment that tests your understanding for the lessons and if you pass it you’ll be eligible for the certificate of completion.
Interface: The interface is very simple, the lessons are arranged one after the other, after you finish a lesson just click on go to the next lesson and you’ll be directed to it.
- The course is well-organized and structured for beginners.
- The certificate is really a unique thing about this outlet.
- The course covers an old version of Microsoft SharePoint.
Verdict: This is an excellent source for those who’re interested in getting a certificate in Microsoft SharePoint.
SharePoint Tutorial YouTube Channel
SharePoint Tutorial YouTube Channel is the fourth free online outlet where beginners can start learning Microsoft SharePoint from scratch. You don’t need to register in order to to have access to the training.
Structure: The course is well structured for beginners; the training is divided into 7 playlists, each playlist has a group of tutorials that covers various topics in Microsoft SharePoint.
- The course is well-organized for beginners.
- The training coves an old version of Microsoft SharePoint.
Verdict: This is a good source for beginners to start from, especially those who’re interested for example in SharePoint Administration and nothing else, or SharePoint for End Users and nothing else as you shall find a playlist for each category.
The recipe for learning Microsoft SharePoint:
- The University of Chicago is the best place for beginners to start from and you should continue your course from Simplified SharePoint.
- If you’re interested in a certificate then Alison is the place for you.
- If you prefer books then you shall find a good collection of free books here.
Remember that the first step is always the toughest step, and the aim of this post is to provide you with resources that will help you take your first step in Microsoft SharePoint.