Learning Roadmaps step readers through the set of published text or multimedia resources to build prerequisite, introductory (Level 100), intermediate (Level 200), advanced (Level 300), and expert (Level 400) expertise for a technology, feature, product, or solution. They are designed to reduce technical ramp-up time by providing a focused, customized, self-study-based learning plan.


This article describes the process for creating and publishing your own Learning Roadmap.

Step 1. Make a list of skills and knowledge areas

What are the key prerequisite and core elements of your technology? Beyond core knowledge, what should the learner be able to do in the form of skills such as plan, test, deploy, migrate, operate, and troubleshoot?

Step 2. Make a list of key learning resources

Scour TechNet, MSDN, TechNet Virtual Labs, MS Press books, blog posts, Wikipedia, and videos on YouTube.

Step 3. Match the skills and knowledge areas with the learning resources to create the master list of learning steps

A learning step is a step in your eventual Learning Roadmap.

Step 4. Sort the master list of learning steps into the prerequisites and level 100, 200, 300, and 400 sections

Here is the guidance for the sections:

  • Prerequisites  This includes resources that are not directly part of the technology area, but for which the reader must have an understanding before moving into the technology-specific topics.
  • Level 100  This includes introductory and overview information, and assumes little or no expertise with the technology but expertise with the prerequisites. For IT pro content, it typically covers concepts, basic functions, and features and benefits.
  • Level 200  This includes intermediate material and assumes level 100 expertise. For IT pro content, it typically covers planning, deployment, operations, and basic troubleshooting.
  • Level 300  This includes advanced material and assumes level 200 expertise. For IT pro content, it typically covers detailed technical information, advanced features, advanced troubleshooting, and information about complex and cross-product deployment or development scenarios.
  • Level 400  This includes expert material and assumes level 300 expertise. For IT pro content, it typically covers expert-level coverage of topics such as system-level troubleshooting—the ability to interpret log files, trace files, and network protocol captures—and advanced deployment information, such as performance optimization and capacity analysis.

Begin constructing your Learning Roadmap. To help with this, use the Wiki: Learning Roadmap Template as a starting point. If you use this template, your Learning Roadmap will have the same structure and boilerplate text as other Learning Roadmaps.

Step 5. Within each section, sort and number the learning steps so that they build expertise in a natural progression

After sorting, begin creating learning steps. Each step should contain:

  • Title  Typically starts with a verb and includes a brief summary of the overall learning goal.
  • Resource  A brief explanation of how the step is relevant to the purpose of building expertise and a reference to the resource.
  • Learning goal   A statement that identifies what the reader should understand after performing the step. You want to reader to be able to use this to determine whether or not he or she needs to perform the step or already meets the learning requirements of this topic.

Step 6. Go through your draft roadmap as if you were a new learner/owner

Does it make sense? Does it build expertise in a logical fashion? It is too incomplete to be useful?

Step 7. Send it to peers for their review

Send the draft to your peers to see if it makes sense to them.

Step 8. Revise and publish

Make revisions based on peer feedback and then publish in the appropriate forum. For example, publish your Learning Roadmap in the TechNet Wiki (article form) or the TechNet Gallery (white paper form). Also feel free to publish in your own publishing venue, such as a blog post or your own or industry wiki.

Step 9. Tell the world     

Advertise your new creation in your social media outlets and add a link to it from the Learning Roadmaps Portal Page.

General Guidelines

Consider the following when building your Learning Roadmap:

  • The key to investigating your Learning Roadmap is to try and remember what it was like for you to ramp up on the technology when you were first assigned to it. Write your Learning Roadmap as the set of steps that would have helped quickly build your expertise when you started learning.
  • If you don’t have enough content for a Learning Roadmap, then don’t publish one. A Learning Roadmap that contains two steps in Level 100 and one step in Level 200 is not complete and probably not worth publishing. Reconsider a Learning Roadmap when you have a more complete resource set.
  • Learning Roadmaps should be focused on either the IT pro or developer audience, not both. A Level 100 developer topic might easily be a Level 300 topic to an IT pro, due to the lack of development expertise that an IT pro specialist might have. To serve both audiences, make two separate Learning Roadmaps: one focused on the expertise needed for an IT pro and one focused on the expertise needed for a developer.
  • Do not include references to classes that the reader needs to attend, such as those offered from Microsoft Training Centers or other third-party training vendors, because of the costs typically involved. Learning Roadmaps are designed for self-study.
  • For book references, consider individual books from Microsoft Press and other publishers if they fit the requirements for your technology. Be sure to include a link to the publisher’s page for the book to help the reader find the full title, ISBN number, etc., that is typically required to place an order. It at all possible, use the publisher’s page (such as the page for the book for Microsoft Press or O’Reilly).
  • When referring to a resource, be specific. For example, don’t just point the reader to a 300-page white paper and expect them to be able to assimilate all of it. Instead, specify a section of the white paper and design a learning goal for that section. Similarly, don’t just point the reader to a book and expect them to understand all of its contents. Rather, include chapter numbers and, if applicable, section titles and page numbers to scope the content to fit the learning goal.
  • Consider inclusion of documents of any type and in any media format, appropriately scoped to fit the learning goal. Videos, podcasts, screencasts, posters, etc., are all valid content types for inclusion, in addition to the typical web articles and white papers.
  • Try not to reference multiple resources that contain the same information for the same learning goal. Reference the one resource that best addresses the goal. This should be a streamlined process for the reader.
  • Typical technologies should have Levels 100 through Level 300 represented. Focus on getting a solid Level 200 foundation. Most technologies should have some Level 300 resources available. Most technologies will not have Level 400 content.

Examples:

For more information and a list of published Learning Roadmaps, see the Learning Roadmaps Portal Page.