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Author's profile photo Claire Devereux

Learning Gone Viral with openSAP

****This blog was originally posted under University Alliances on January 13, 2014****

The Solution and Knowledge Packaging organization launched an educational series known as openSAP on May 27 of last year. The first course was entitled: Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA. It started as a pilot project under the lead of Clemens Link to test, in an enterprise context, an
increasingly popular online-lecture format from academia. The results exceeded all expectations with more than 175,000 enrollments in five different courses
within the first six months. The lecture series is now an integral part of SAP´s knowledge transfer strategy. It enables people to adopt innovation at scale in
the cloud.

Anyone, anywhere, at any time can learn about SAP innovations thanks to openSAP. The courses follow the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format. This of weekly video lectures, self-tests, gamification, weekly homework, an online-discussion forum and a final exam. Participants who achieve over 50% of the overall points available receive a Record of Achievement. Courses are open to anyone interested in learning about key SAP innovations including SAP employees, IT professionals, partners, customers and students. On average 30% of the registered participants complete the entire course. This is four times higher than in a typical academic MOOC, demonstrating how well the format is accepted. All courses are available for self-study outside the scheduled times. This allows participants to continue the learning experience at their own pace.

Participants from 158 countries

Who are the participants and where do they come from? Geographically, about 60% of the students come from the U.S., Germany and India. In total the
participants come from 158 different countries. About 12% of the students are SAP employees. Most of the participants are IT professionals with an average of five years experience. At least 20% are from SAP partners such as Accenture, IBM, HP and Wipro. Approximately 8% of the participants come from an academic environment.

The scalability of the approach is astonishing. With a fairly small team, SAP is able to operate several courses with more than 60,000 participants in parallel. The automatic grading has allowed SAP to process more than 1,000,000 self-tests and 160,000 assignments.

“With openSAP we can transfer knowledge of our latest innovations to everybody who is interested,” says Bernd Welz, executive vice president, Solution and Knowledge Packaging. “And this on a global scale without delay. The learning experience itself is very attractive which is proven by the high
percentage of participants who stick with the course until the end. The adoption of openSAP is indeed viral. Most participants come from social networks to

Improving the platform

So far, openSAP offers the following courses: Software Development on SAP HANA, SAP HANA Cloud Platform and Mobile. Future courses will continue to
combine technology innovations with business innovations. In addition to developing new courses, enhancements to the platform are also planned along with an alignment with SuccessFactors Learning to support the SAP-runs-SAP strategy. There are also plans for a mobile app which will allow participants to download content for offline learning and synch with openSAP once connected to the Internet.

The success of openSAP is not only recognized internally but also externally. The Learning and Performance Institute recently named openSAP as a finalist in
The Learning Awards 2014 for the category of Innovation in Learning. Stefan Haenisch, head of Knowledge & Enablement Solutions, says: “We are honored to
receive this recognition and to be included amongst finalists such as Tata Consultancy Services, PwC and many more. In early 2014, a new organizational
team openSAP University will be established to deliver openSAP courses. We look forward to continuing to deliver courses on key SAP topics and showing the world how SAP is adapting its enablement approach to help our customers run better and improve people’s lives.”

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