The pace of technology change is accelerating. Every quarter, companies like SAP are coming out with new technologies, such as SAP HANA or mobile solutions, increasingly these represent major shifts. For customers these solutions create enormous opportunity but the pace of change is overwhelming.


In technology and business, classroom-style training–and other traditional knowledge transfer methodologies–can no longer keep up. When we talk to our customers, they tell us the biggest inhibitor to adopting new technology is a lack of trained people.

To solve that problem, SAP is the first major corporation to offer free Massively Open Online Courseware (MOOC) to anyone who wants to join. The first group of course participants completed a MOOC, called  Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA, a couple of weeks ago.

MOOCs are notorious for low retention rates of 6.5% on average. This isn’t surprising, since the courses are free, it’s super easy to sign up and in a world of distraction and hyper-fast business cycles, a 6-week course can fall off the priority list. .

But the SAP MOOC numbers from two weeks back are super impressive. And I mean super.

Here some course statistics:

  • 18,033 learners were enrolled for day one of the SAP course;
  • When the final exam ended, this number had increased to 40,386;
  • 10,795 learners “wrote” the final exam.

Think about that: As the course went along, learner participation doubled to more than 40K learners and more than 10K learners took the final exam. Which means that the retention rate was 26% or a rate that’s four times better than the average MOOC.

Praise all around to Clemens Link Thomas Jung, Geoffrey Nolan, Rich Heilman  There are many more, but these are the people I know about.

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Here is part of the team in Walldorf when taping the course with Thomas Jung in the middle. Taken from Thom’s blog post introducing the course.


From where I see the world, with SAP Mentors and SAP TechEd, companies that innovate new technologies must disseminate that knowledge to as many people as possible within the shortest amount of time.

Well-developed MOOCs are developing to be the key to success. New technologies create enormous opportunities. People want to take full advantage of these opportunities and this is why the flock to these courses.

That’s why I really believe this course is a watershed moment for corporate education. As far as I know, SAP is the first FORTUNE 500® company to do a MOOC. Ten years from now, people will look back and say that was the time when business and technological education experienced a phase shift.

It will be quite a challenge for universities to keep up and compete with company provided free courses. Clay Shirky blogged more about that massive change that is coming to higher education: Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

So, who’s behind this education revolution? Both global trends and tech luminaries, such as SAP’s Hasso Plattner. I’m in awe of the technology revolutions to which Hasso Plattner has contributed: real-time computing with R/2; client-server with R/3; and currently in-memory database with HANA. And now, via theHasso Plattner Institute and OpenSAP, he’s bringing the education revolution to the enterprise via MOOCs.

Join the MOOC revolution and sign up for the Introduction to Mobile Solution Development that started this week and has already 23K participants. This excellent guide tells you how to get your system ready to get the most out of the course. Enjoy!

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