In a previous blog (Learning Path Authoring Basics), we introduced Learning Path Authoring and the Content Library. As stated previously, Sidebars slide out from the right side of the application, and provide more information for users to quickly and easily get access to additional content.
Sidebars can include links, videos and other content to help users become familiar with a specific page or form that’s displayed.
There are two main steps for creating a Sidebar:
You first need to go to the page in Dynamics 365 where you want your Sidebar to appear. This is a small but very important step you must take BEFORE going to the content library to create your Sidebar.
For example, I wanted to create a Sidebar for Contacts. To do this, I navigated in Dynamics 365 to the Contacts main grid and went to Settings –> Training –> Content Library (or display the Sidebar and click on the Content Library icon from the Sidebar that pops out).
After the Content Library loads, click on to open the dialog to start entering in your Sidebar details
The following pieces of information should be collected as you start creating your Sidebar:
When you’ve completed defining the how the Sidebar is triggered and details of the Sidebar, click on Save to move onto the content editor.
After clicking Save on the initial Sidebar properties page, you’re presented with a blank slate to start adding content to your Sidebar.
In the top box, you can enter a title for your Sidebar that will appear for all users. By default, you can see 4 sections added automatically, but you can add additional sections via the Add Section button, or you can remove sections by clicking the section header, and then clicking the trash can icon that flies out to the left.
You can have at most 12 sections in a Sidebar, and each section can have different content types (videos, text, external links, buttons, links to Guided Tasks, links to Sidebars, or links to pages in CRM) to help your users become familiar with the specific page or form that’s displayed. Note that the Button content types give you the same 4 options as the List of Links content type, but by using buttons instead of hyperlinks (Guided Task, Sidebar, Page in the app, or External Webpage).
Just like with Guided Tasks, you can click on Preview to preview what your Sidebar will look like before checking it in and publishing it.
Here’s a Sidebar that I created around Contacts and how it looks in the designer.
When you’re done creating your Sidebar, click on the Save icon at the very top left of the Sidebar in the designer. Then navigate back to the Content Library, and select Manage –> Check in to make your Sidebar visible to all Learning Path Authors, and then click on Publish –> Publish so that the Sidebar changes can be visible to end users. You can check in and publish multiple pieces of content at once from the Content Library.
After checking in and publishing the Contact Sidebar, it looks like the following when a user navigates to the page you set it up for (remember when I mentioned the page you navigated to the content library is important). In this case, that’s the Contact main list view.
Note that the Sidebar comes with a search bar that allows users to search for additional help and training. This searches across Learning Path Content you’ve created, as well as external content outside of your organization that is publicly available.
With this great feature allowing users to add customized help throughout the application, there are still some limitations / considerations to be aware of.
Learning Path has great potential, and the addition of the ability to create your own content makes this feature much more valuable. I can see the need to create custom content for most of our customer deploys.
For more information on this topic, please see the other posts we’ve made about Learning Path: