Embrace the Collab365 “BLUE Method”: A Superior Approach to Power Platform Learning

Mark Jones
May 31, 2023

In an increasingly digital age, Microsoft’s Power Platform has become a pivotal tool for businesses worldwide. This integrated application platform, comprised of Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents, enables professionals to build customised apps, automate workflows, analyse data, and create virtual agents – without needing specialised technical knowledge or extensive coding skills. A study by Forrester has shown that the use of Power Platform can yield a 362% return on investment over three years.

While this innovation has broadened the landscape of possibilities, effective learning methods are essential to truly harness this platform’s power. Traditionally, many educational programs have leaned towards a theory-based training approach, which heavily focuses on conceptual knowledge. However, this style often fails to provide learners with the practical, hands-on experience they need to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios confidently. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, “learning by doing” leads to better retention and skill acquisition than traditional educational methods.

That’s where our unique training methodology, BLUE (Build It. Learn It. Use It. Enhance It.), comes into play. Moving away from a purely theory-based approach, BLUE emphasises a hands-on, practical learning experience where students create, refine, and use real-world applications throughout their learning journey. This practical, immersive approach fosters a deeper understanding of the Power Platform and equips learners with actionable skills they can directly apply in their professional settings.

If you’re a hands-on learner eager to dive into the heart of the action and create meaningful, valuable applications, BLUE is designed for you.

Stay tuned to discover how BLUE can transform your Power Platform learning experience.

1. Why is “Learning By Doing” so effective?

The effectiveness of “learning by doing,” also known as experiential or active learning, has been well-documented in educational research.

1. Improved Retention: According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes with active learning. The study also indicated that students in active learning sessions perform better regarding grades.

2. Engagement and Motivation: Research from educational psychology suggests that active learning increases student engagement and motivation, which are critical for effective learning.

3. Learning Retention: The National Training Laboratories’ “Learning Pyramid” suggests that we retain up to 75% of what we learn when practising what we’ve learned, compared to just 10% of what we learn from reading. This points to the effectiveness of experiential learning in promoting the transfer of learning to real-life scenarios.

learning pyramid active vs passive
Source: Arlo.

As such, our BLUE approach, which is grounded in the principles of experiential learning, offers a highly effective way to learn and apply the capabilities of the Power Platform in a meaningful, practical manner.

2. Unpacking BLUE: An Innovative Learning Methodology

A. Build It

The first pillar of BLUE emphasises the importance of building real-world solutions from the very start. Instead of using contrived examples, the BLUE approach encourages learners to construct functioning applications that address genuine business needs. According to a report from LinkedIn Learning (2021), 56% of learners state that relevant, real-world applications aid in understanding and retention of new skills.

The process of building and problem-solving not only bolsters theoretical knowledge but also develops critical thinking skills and creativity. This hands-on experience is a fundamental step up from purely theoretical learning. It provides an engaging, immersive experience that keeps learners invested and motivates them to pursue more challenging projects.

B. Learn It

In the BLUE method, learning occurs organically through the process of creation. By building an application from scratch, learners engage directly with the platform’s tools and understand their functionality intuitively. They will encounter obstacles, allowing them to develop problem-solving skills, an aspect often missing in traditional theoretical training.

Immediate feedback during the building process further enhances comprehension. Research published by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology found that direct feedback improves knowledge retention and the ability to transfer new skills to different contexts. This makes the learning process more efficient and effective.

C. Use It

The next stage of BLUE involves learners using the applications they’ve built. This is critical as it allows them to view their creations from a user’s perspective. They have the opportunity to evaluate its usability and identify areas for improvement. This testing process provides learners with insights they would not glean from theory alone.

Learning by doing has been proven to be effective in many domains. According to a study by Harvard Business School, learning through active practice, where individuals carry out tasks and activities, significantly impacts their retention of new knowledge and skills.

D. Enhance It

Finally, learners refine and enhance their applications. They revisit their work, iterate based on user feedback, and improve the product. This process mirrors real-world development cycles, offering a practical understanding of the challenges and rewards associated with continuous improvement.

This innovation cycle, closely tied to the concepts of Agile development and Lean Startup methodology, provides a realistic, hands-on experience in today’s fast-paced technology industry. A survey by the Project Management Institute found that 71% of organizations use Agile approaches often or sometimes, emphasizing the importance of this skill in the current workplace.

BLUE’s unique blend of practical, real-world exposure, hands-on creation, and iterative improvement is a robust learning methodology that adequately prepares learners for professional environments in a way that conventional, theory-based training cannot match.

3. Why BLUE Beats Traditional Methods

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, learning methodologies must keep pace. While helpful in establishing foundational knowledge, traditional theory-based training approaches often fall short when it comes to equipping learners with the practical skills they’ll need in the real-world workplace.

The primary limitation of traditional training is its inherent passivity. Learners are often expected to absorb information without actively engaging with the material. According to a report by the National Training Laboratories, the average retention rate from lecture-style learning is only around 5%. This compares poorly with the rates observed in more active, hands-on learning settings.

In contrast, the BLUE method brings the ‘learning by doing’ approach to the forefront, placing practical skills and knowledge at the heart of the educational experience. A meta-analysis conducted by the American Psychological Association demonstrated that practice-based training resulted in 20% higher post-training skill acquisition compared to traditional methods.

This learning philosophy is rooted in the concept that when learners actively create and solve problems, they acquire skills that can be immediately applied in their professional environment. This benefit is twofold: it not only fosters a deeper understanding of the subject matter but also equips learners with a toolkit of relevant, tangible skills that can be immediately applied in the workplace.

Further, BLUE’s iterative ‘Enhance It’ stage reflects the industry’s shift towards continuous improvement models, such as Agile development. This ongoing refinement process promotes a mindset of constant learning and adaptation, which is crucial in today’s fast-paced digital environment.

The BLUE method delivers a comprehensive, immersive learning experience that aligns with industry demands. By engaging learners in real-world tasks and promoting an iterative mindset, BLUE not only imparts critical knowledge but also nurtures the adaptability and problem-solving abilities essential in the digital age. As a result, learners are well-equipped to transition seamlessly from the training environment to the professional world.

4. Concrete BLUE Outcomes: The Power Platform Challenge

One of the best ways to understand the effectiveness of the BLUE method is through concrete examples. A standout instance of BLUE’s practical approach in action is the Power Platform Challenge.

This task is a practical project within the curriculum designed to test and reinforce the skills learners have acquired throughout their training. The challenge aims to develop a fully functional vacation booking app that addresses a common business problem: streamlining the vacation request and approval process.

Build It

Learners conceptualise and start creating the app during the ‘Build It’ phase. They tap into the Power Platform’s capabilities to design an intuitive and user-friendly interface while meeting the task’s business requirements. This hands-on experience, right from the start, deepens their understanding of the platform and its functionalities.

Learn It

As they move into the ‘Learn It’ stage, learners realise the platform’s intricacies, discovering functionalities they were previously unaware of. This phase provides an immediate feedback loop, allowing learners to correct misconceptions, deepen their understanding, and improve their skills.

Use It

In the ‘Use It’ phase, learners experience their creations from a user’s perspective. They test the app, identifying any flaws or usability issues. This hands-on testing and usage phase provides invaluable insights into user experience, an essential aspect of any app development process.

Enhance It

Finally, during the ‘Enhance It’ stage, learners refine their app based on the feedback and insights gained during testing. This iterative process simulates a real-world development cycle, reinforcing the importance of continual learning and improvement in the technology industry.

The result of this Power Platform Challenge is not just a working vacation booking app. Still, a more profound comprehension of Power Platform’s capabilities and practical skills to apply this knowledge in real-world situations. The hands-on nature of the BLUE method means that learners leave the course with a tangible output and the confidence to use their newly acquired skills to future projects.

The Vacation Booking App Challenge perfectly exemplifies the power of the BLUE method. Through building, learning, using, and enhancing, learners develop a practical, real-world product while deeply understanding the technology they’re using. It’s this direct, hands-on experience that sets BLUE apart and prepares learners for success in their professional careers.

5. Conclusion: BLUE is for You If…

As we’ve seen, the BLUE method offers an innovative, immersive learning experience that goes beyond theory to deliver practical, real-world skills. This ‘learning by doing’ approach enhances understanding of the Power Platform and fosters a mindset of continuous improvement that’s invaluable in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.

So, who would thrive with the BLUE method? This approach will appeal most to individuals eager to roll up their sleeves and dive into hands-on work. BLUE is for those who understand the value of active engagement and direct application in learning. If you prefer doing to watching, creating to consuming, and iterating to stagnating, then BLUE is designed with you in mind.

BLUE is also ideal for those seeking to make a real impact in their professional environment. Suppose you’re looking to quickly transition from training into the workplace, armed with tangible skills and a comprehensive understanding of the Power Platform. In that case, BLUE’s practical, results-oriented approach will be a perfect fit.

Moreover, with the rising demand for Power Platform professionals, the career prospects for BLUE-trained individuals are bright. According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Emerging Jobs Report, roles involving Power Platform have seen a 70% increase in demand year-on-year.

So, are you ready to embrace the BLUE approach? The journey towards becoming a Power Platform pro starts with a single step. If you’re eager to learn in a way that’s engaging, effective, and equips you with the skills to hit the ground running, then we invite you to take the plunge and experience the BLUE method for yourself.

Join us at the Academy and embark on a learning journey that will transform how you learn and your potential impact in the digital age. Your future in the Power Platform industry starts here. Embrace the BLUE.

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