This is no trick and most likely not a treat for partners. Microsoft is making partners who subscribe to the Microsoft action pack take a Microsoft E-Learning course and pass its corresponding assessment test.
I honestly don’t know what Microsoft is trying to achieve by doing this, other than maybe ensuring their partners have some book knowledge in the products they are supposed to be trying to sell. I can’t really find anything on the public side explaining the reasons behind the change.
Anyways, I don’t think passing the assessment test will be too difficult if you work through the E-Learning course, finding the time will be the difficult part for most partners I think.
Details are here for partners here.