I am one of more than 32 thousand people signed up for the openSAP course Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA.
The course started on 27th May and runs for 6 weeks – but I am sure you could still register and join in now. The entire course is being delivered online and it is essentially free to take part. I say “essentially” because to fully benefit you will probably want to have access to your own HANA system to develop your code on. SAP have worked with Amazon and Cloudshare for this purpose so you will have to pay fees to one of these providers for your personal HANA system – or share one between a few mates. 😉
I was going to write a bit of a review of the course but really Kumud Singh has already done a great job of this so I would encourage you to read her blog What makes openSAP highly impressive!.
Instead let me share some early observations I have about the course.
It seems to me preparing and delivering a course online is not a lot different to doing one face to face. The same things make the course successful – or unsuccessful. My very rudimentary list is…
Step 1. Preparation. Have good quality content, well structured and audience appropriate.
Step 2. Exercises. Make them appropriate to the content, easy to follow, designed to reinforce new concepts.
Step 3. Delivery. Pick the best presenter. Ideally someone who is a subject matter expert, a good communicator, and empathetic.
For me this course is setting a new benchmark for SAP knowledge transfer. There is clearly a lot of work that has gone into all these aspects but the organization and delivery is all pretty seamless. I imagine that Thomas Jung has played a great part here although there is probably quite a team behind him that should get credit as well. I have been fortunate to assist Thomas with some of his SAP TechEd and Mastering SAP Technologies workshops over the years and his preparation is always meticulous.
An online course does require a good delivery platform, high production values for content (esp. video/audio), and a different mindset about the content. Anyone who has tried to get electronic copies of SAP training materials will know how precious SAP Education are about controlling there distribution. This must change in a world of online delivery.
Because the course is delivered entirely online the students can pick their own time to participate and take their own time to absorb the content. They can download the lectures and slides to consume at their convenience. The great thing about self-paced training is that you can rewind and replay key points until you fully understand them before moving onto more advanced topics – something that can be difficult in the traditional classroom environment. This is one of the things that Sal Khan often mentions as a key aspect of The Khan Academy.
And of course an online training experience like this provides scale. As mentioned there are more than 32 thousand people signed up for this course. If just 10% of them complete the 6 week course that is 3200 more people trained on SAP HANA development than at the beginning of the month. And the course can be run over and over again as demanded.
There is also a very active social component to the training as well. The openSAP platform has community areas and discussion forums so that students and instructors can share experiences, ask questions, work through problems together. A shout out here to the openSAP team who are responding to posts in record time. And of course those of us taking the course are touching base regularly through our usual channels like Twitter and SCN and keeping each other apprised of our relative progress. There is definitely more happening here than just training – there is a community building around this course.
I have no idea if openSAP is officially part of SAP Education. My impression of SAP Education is not that positive, and hasn’t been for such a long time, so from afar it is hard to see how that organization could have come up with openSAP unless major changes have taken place. If such changes have already happened then I welcome them – and if they haven’t then I suspect the SAP Education world is about to be shaken to its’ core. 😆
But the big question facing us all – is what happens next week? How long can this go on before we see some repetition? Can Thomas maintain the variety?
Here he is in week 1.
A nice opening gambit – safe and conservative.
And week 2.
Wow – that’s stepping it up considerably. It’s almost like he is about to go out to a disco.
Then week 3.
A bit disappointing really. Perhaps he attracted too much attention at the disco and wants to sneak in quietly and find a booth at the back this time.
Most impressively – no SAP logos anywhere. I don’t think we have ever seen Thomas without a SAP logo somewhere since the days of Kimball. What’s going on here – has someone moved my cheese?
I think he can do it. Three more weeks to go and I am betting on three new shirts. We haven’t seen a blue one yet so that seems pretty obvious. I suspect yellow might be a bit frantic for Thomas so perhaps a green. Then just one more and we are home. I always wondered what colour puce was. Perhaps I will find out. 😛