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The Basics of Basics

What makes effective training differ from its obvious counterpart, ineffective training?  Understanding the basics – Basic Navigation, that is.  One of the major deficiencies I have encountered during SAP training projects is the lack of commitment to Basic Navigation training.  It seems that Basic Navigation is viewed by most as too time consuming or unimportant.

I have found Basic Navigation to be quite the opposite. A Basic Navigation course works wonders for the end-user.  It is the first real hands on experience the end-user has with the SAP software.  The more enjoyable and productive the experience, the more the end-user will embrace future training.

See Spot Run

Tackling Basic Navigation is just like learning addition well before learning calculus, or reading Dick and Jane before attempting War and Peace.  Since SAP is complex, end-users must be provided with several levels of training success. Each level of success must build upon the previous level.  I find the end users who experience early successes are much more interested in future course materials.  They are able to see the interaction of the training with their work. Ultimately they effectively perform their jobs sooner and at a higher level.

Tell Me, Show Me, Let Me

A SAP Basic Navigation Course is an excellent way to start end-users on a path to success.  It is an end-user’s first introduction to working within the SAP software. If presented correctly, it will become the cornerstone to build all future training.  When I say correctly, I mean a hands-on experience with a lot of tell me, show me, let me exercises.  New users need to learn by doing. They must touch the keyboard and see the interaction.  They need to experience the experience. It’s like learning to drive a car.  You can’t learn it from a book or a set of slides. You have to get behind the wheel.  Once the user learns to navigate or drive, the user can travel anywhere.

What is Basic Navigation? 

The definition of Basic Navigation really depends on the implementation taking place (APO, R/3, or BI).  However, Basic Navigation, put quite simply, is the common navigation shared by “ALL” users.

Basic Navigation certainly contains logging on and off the system, identifying common icons, selecting transactions, creating favorites, recognizing required fields, entering variables, recognizing system messages, etc.  It also introduces common terms building the bridge between IT and the users’ process responsibilities.

If everyone uses it, it’s Basic Navigation.

Losing the Yawns of Every Training Course 

Basic Navigation training facilitates a common learning point where transactional training can begin.  Every student brings a different level of expertise based on past experience and training.  Every end user may or may not take all of the transactional training based on their particular work needs.  Therefore, if Basic Navigation is not taught and a common knowledge not established, each course must first teach these basics.

When all end users start at the same place concepts do not have to be explained and re-explained for every transactional course. 

Imagine, if you will, a class where some of your end users have attended previous transactional courses and have been given the basics of navigation.  Now they are sitting in a new transactional class that requires a reiteration of the basics because there are other students who are attending their first transactional class and need to learn those basics.  It is easy to see how the first set of end users can become bored, distracted and possibly disruptive to the learning process.

Now imagine that same transactional training where all end users start at the same level.  They only are concerned with the transactions that deal with their specific work flow.  They are eager to learn and much more attentive than students who are hearing the same material for the second, third or fourth time.

I have experienced both types of training and the one where a structured Basic Navigation course was embraced proved to be more efficient and less costly in the end because you aren’t required to add an hour to an hour and a half to every transactional class to ensure students possess the basic navigation skills required.

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  • Hi Bill,

    I teach a Basic Navigation course at one of my customers. The course runs about 10 times per year and is the first day of a four-day end-user course on P2P, AR & GL.

    I find that I usually have one or two people in the course that have already been using SAP. They have typically been taught at previous employers or have just had a colleague show them how to use it.

    Interestingly enough I find having these "experienced" users in the session actually helps me. This is because I find these people have gaps in their knowledge that I can fill in. In doing so they have an instant interest in everything else I show them because they quickly realise that they don't know everything. This rubs off on the rest of the class.

    The best example of this seems to be Personal Value Lists. I am amazed at how many long-term SAP users do not know about this facility.

    The grumpy student who doesn't think they should have to "waste a day" on basic training gets a real wake-up call when they find the amazing new world of Personal Value Lists, or Selection Variants, or Multiple Selections, or whatever it is that they didn't know about.

    The great thing about SAP is that there are so many features you can always find something new to tell someone about.

    The terrible thing about SAP is that there are so many features you can always find something new...... (I don't have time to go into this thread)

    Graham Robbo