Provisioning the M365 learning pathways solution

This post details my experience of trying to provision the 365 learning pathways solution from the SharePoint look book and what I found that differs from the documentation.

Contents

Overview

The first thing to say about this is it’s quite literally a click of a button to actually provision the M365 learning pathways solution from the SharePoint look book, but please make sure you do read the prerequisites as that may well catch you out.

My one big takeaway from writing this post is that the initializing of the CustomConfig list is a crucial step.

Official Microsoft resources

Tenant admin or global admin?

The prereq’s makes mention of being a tenant administrator, the account I used was an O365 global administrator. A quick google search here shows that a tenant administrator is now the global admin role.

Google search of an O365 tenant administrator.

You can also use these steps in the troubleshooting guide to check if you have the relevant permissions.

Create an app catalog site

The solution requires an app catalog site to be created in order to work, to do this you’ll need to navigate back to the old SharePoint admin center, or the classic site collection page to be more in-line with the official verbiage!

To get there, press More features > under Apps, Open.

How to access the classic site collection pages from the modern SharePoint admin center.

From here it’s easy to create a new app catalog site, I’ve documented this before as part of the SharePoint start kit deployment, but to summarize:

  • Select app catalog
  • Press OK to create a new app catalog site
Select app catalog from the apps menu option
  • Enter the following details
    • Title: app catalog
    • Web Site Address suffix: enter your preferred suffix for the app catalog; for example: apps
    • Administrator: enter your username, and then select the resolve button to resolve the username
  • Press OK

Check global admin is app catalog site collection admin

You also need to make sure the provisioning account is also a site collection administrator for the app catalog site. To do this just select your app catalog site, press Owners > Manage Administrators and make sure its the either listed in the primary or one of the other site collection administrators.

Manage the administrators of the app catalog site in classic SharePoint admin.

Initialize the CustomConfig List & assign owners

Once the learning pathways site has been provisioned, the account used will receive an email to confirm. In the email there will be a link to the custom config list that needs to be run to set up the site for first use.

Once you load the CustomLearningAdmin.aspx page this page will be displayed.

If you don’t receive an email from the PnP provisioning service, then just navigate to your learning pathways site, then just add /SitePages/CustomLearningAdmin.aspx to the end of the url:

<YOUR-SITE-COLLECTION-URL>sites/<YOUR-SITE-NAME>/SitePages/CustomLearningAdmin.aspx

Next, you will need to add owners to the learning pathways site. Owners will have admin privileges on the site, but also be able to hide and show content delivered through the learning pathways web part. In addition, they’ll have the ability to build custom playlist and assign them to custom subcategories.

  • From the SharePoint Settings menu, click Site Permissions.
  • Click Advanced Permission Settings.
  • Click Microsoft 365 learning pathways Owners.
  • Click New > Add Users to this group, and then add the people you want to be Owners.
  • Add a link to Explore the Site in the Share message, and then click Share.

Issues & troubleshooting the learning pathways solution

1. Configuration issues within learning pathways site

Once the learning pathways solution had provisioned and I received a success message, I went in and started poking around in the site to see if content loaded etc.

Once I then started shared the site with a few colleagues I got feedback that they were seeing this message within each page:

“Microsoft 365 learning pathways has a configuration issue. Please see the browser console for detailed logs. For assistance check out the issues list at https://github.com/pnp/custom-learning-office-365/issues.”

What I found was if you don’t click the link to initialize the CustomConfig List, all of the learning pathways content that’s delivered from the web part won’t work. I also then tried to go back and open the link to see if the problem would correct itself. It didn’t and the CustomLearningAdmin.aspx page just hung and wouldn’t respond.

What worked for me in the end was to permanently delete the learning pathways site, delete the learning pathways solution from the app catalog site, wait 24 hours then provision again (this was I could use the same URL).

Naturally this time around I initialized the CustomConfig List from the URL before sharing it!

2. Delete sites from recycle bin in order to provision again

So stemming from issue number 1 above, I also noticed that unless you permanently delete your learning pathways site, you cannot create one with the same name. You will get a message similar to the below:

“Unfortunately your site provisioning at least partially failed!”

To permanently delete a site, all you need to do is delete it from Active sites (if not connected to an O365 group), then under Delete sites select the site and press Permanently delete.

How to permanently delete sites in modern SharePoint.

3. Multi factor authentication enabled for the provisioning account

I had an issue where I kept receiving a generic message from the provisioning service page saying:

“Unfortunately your site provisioning at least partially failed!”

The global admin account I used to run the provisioning service had multi factor authentication enabled, more specifically using the authentication app. What I found was when I changed by 2-step verification from using the authentication app to text, the provisioning service completed successfully.

4. app catalog site takes longer than 30 minutes to allow provisioning to complete

If you don’t already have an app catalog created, you will receive an error from the provisioning service similar to this:

“In order to provision the template you need to have an App Catalog in your tenant. Please, create one (for instructions you can read this document: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=2087251), wait up to 30 minutes, and try again.

When you then create an app catalog site, I found it took well over 2 hours before the provisioning service recognized as such.

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