For many companies SAP Learning Solution is the software of choice when it comes to learning and personnel development. As powerful as the SAP Learning Solution may be, its main focus remains on the formal training process. However to leverage all possibilities and complete the learning mix, employees should be supplied with tools that support informal and social learning. From an SAP perspective the obvious tool here is SAP Jam as it imparts all of the great features to connect employees and allow them to collaborate and share their knowledge in order to do their jobs better.
So now there are two separate software products covering the learning needs from both sides, formal and informal. The good news here, is that these applications don’t work isolated – they work in an integrated way while leveraging the individual strength.
As a result of our discussion feedback from our customers we wanted to realize several integration scenarios:
Let’s have a look at the first two scenarios one by one.
Bridging the gap from formal trainings to knowledge sharing groups
There are many ways for employees to discover interesting and useful groups on the SAP Jam platform. Now new services has been added to the existing mix and point employees, who are interested in taking a course, to the knowledge sharing group that covers the same topic. The idea behind it is that learners should get suggestions to relevant groups based on their booking activity.
Please note that these groups may have existed isolated from the course offerings for some time already and have built an active community. These groups are not meant to belong to the courses / course types exclusively.
Take a look at the process flow in detail:
The starting point is that the course administrator has identified (or created) a group on SAP Jam where a formal training exists on the SAP Learning Solution -side (1). If that’s the case, the group can be linked to the course type using new attributes based on the SAP Jam group ID (2). This works for web-based trainings, classroom courses and other delivery methods. Understandably the administrative effort should be kept as low as possible. Therefore the rest of the process has been automated (still individual events need to be scheduled manually as the dates cannot be foreseen(3)).
This means that the knowledge sharing group have been decoupled from the life cycle of the classroom trainings and therefore ignore other roles like tutors, instructors and course administrators on purpose. If you want to have these roles covered please continue reading.
Now consider the following: your learners finished a web based training. Unfortunately not all of their questions have been answered by the learning content. To make it easy for them to reach out to the experts, the solution provides links / buttons that guide learners to the corresponding knowledge sharing group right from the learning portal.
These links are available on the training home page (for web based trainings only), on the course type detail pages and in the training history. Surely customers who want to provide a modern learning experience might have some strong feeling about, what this integration should be called. For that reason easy configuration in that area allows adjustments to the label of the link / button that appears on the learning portal, supporting multiple languages as usual.
If learners for whatever reason decide to cancel the booking they will remain a member of the knowledge sharing group. This solution is based on the assumption that the group assignment should not only exist in combination with the course. Such setting would allow employees to continue being engaged on the collaboration platform for the originally selected subject. However, there is a customizing switch to choose if only booked employees should remain group members or not.
The following video will show the functionality in action:
Providing dedicated learning groups to enhance the experience of time dependent trainings
In difference to the above the following scenario explains how the dedicated learning group is much more tied to the life cycle of the classroom training. Therefore such learning groups are not available for time-independent delivery methods. The goal is to provide learners, tutors, course administrators and instructors a private learning group for a single course event.
Either the tutor or the course administrator created a group on SAP Jam (1). This group is not used for the actual collaboration. It is rather the master group that will be used as a copy template. This master group will be assigned to the course type using new attributes based on the Jam group ID (2). As this integration is much more tied to the course life cycle, the course administrator can maintain rules for “start of collaboration” and “end of collaboration”.
This way, administrators can define when a member of each role should join the group. Even an automatic “clean up” after the course ends is possible. In addition administrators are in a position to determine the role of the tutor / instructor within the SAP Jam group. This is particularly useful if learners shouldn’t have access to all documents stored in the learning group. If tutors and instructors join as group administrators they will have access to all private folders by default. There is no need to maintain this on an event basis.
After these settings have been maintained on the course type level there are no manual activities required in the day to day workflow to bring this integration to life. If a course is scheduled (3) the system automatically copies the master group (4), adds the responsible course administrator as group administrator (5) and assigns the newly created group as the actual individual learning group to the course (6). By leveraging the copy mechanism all content stored in the master group and almost all settings such as group description and profile picture are replicated. This implementation is much more efficient than starting from scratch or applying a native group template for each course event.
Now the tutors, instructors and learners will receive an invitation to join the group at different points in time dependent on the settings maintained for the particular course type (7):
Finally with the start of the course all of the participants will have access to the group according to their role (member, group administrator).
Similar to the first scenario – employees can jump to the event-specific learning group using a button on the training home page and a link on the course detail page. After the course ends the system automatically revokes the access of certain users if this is the desired behavior.
The second integration scenario really focuses on the formal time-dependent course, providing all the functionality of SAP Jam to enrich the learning experience. It can offer further support for course administrators as they can post event specific information like recommended hotels or the menu of the canteen. Even more important, the course administrator can assign a task to the instructor. This could be the task to fill out the attached attendance sheet at the last day of the course. Once the integration is set up there are sure a lot more administrator’ supporting use cases to be found.
It should come as no surprise now, that the processes for cancellations or any change to the tutor and instructor assignment have been automated. In case the entire course is cancelled the individual learning group will be deleted as it has become obsolete. Should the booking of a learner be cancelled the access is revoked almost immediately. The same logic applies to instructors and tutors.
The aim was to develop these services in such way, that course administrators won’t have to do any manual steps to ensure that only relevant persons can access the learning group.
The following video demonstrates the functionality in action:
Both scenarios are available as of this quarter and are targeted at organizations using the renovated learning portal and the enterprise edition of SAP Jam (view details). The SAP Services organization has created an engineered service to support customers during the concept and implementation phases.
Update: The third integration is about to combine formal and informal learning even further. SAP Jam groups will not only connect employees and help them share information in an informal way they will be the platform to promote formal trainings as well and let them go viral throughout the entire social network.