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Learning SAP with a little help from your friends

Julie in magazine.jpg

Find out why it’s safe to raise your hand in an SAP learning room

In school I was really bad at Math. What’s worse, I would try to make myself invisible in class for fear that the teacher might call on me.  This caught up with me in a big way during my freshman year in high school.  I was a new kid in a new school when I encountered the scariest teacher in the history of teachers – in Algebra class!

Out of fear and respect (mostly fear), I can’t tell you her real name.  The upperclassmen called her “Sarge,” which was fitting.  If nuns were allowed in the U.S. Marine Corps, she would’ve been a perfect drill sergeant.  What’s worse, she kept a club called “Killer” on her desk.  I never saw Sarge use Killer, but I never doubted that she would it if provoked.

At the end of each class, Sarge would give us a set of Algebra problems for homework.  Then, the next day she’d call us to the front of the room in small groups to write out our solutions on the chalkboard.

Every day I stood in the front of the classroom with my back to 20 classmates I hardly knew and waited to be picked on for my Algebra ineptitude.  One day I really screwed up and Sarge said to me, “Conners, you are the President of the dumb-dumb Club.”  (She even wrote it on my homework paper!)

Is there any wonder I chose a career as a writer?

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This summer at SAP I met the opposite of Sarge. By all accounts, Mark Green, an SAP instructors based in the U.K., is a great guy who cares about helping students learn SAP.  My hunch is that he wouldn’t give me a hard time if I asked a question, for example, about “temporal joins” or “fuzzy search” in SAP HANA.

Mark’s made it his mission to make learning SAP more accessible to those of you who can’t travel to class, or would simply prefer to learn when and where you choose.  To this end, he’s become an evangelist for learning rooms within SAP Learning Hub.  Right now he’s a moderator of the SAP HANA Introduction, Implementation & Modeling room.

The truth is, learning rooms aren’t that way at all because they’re run by people like Mark.  As he puts it, learning rooms are filled with “learning buddies” who are there to help each other.  To make his point, he’s written a fun story about a consultant name Julie, who rides the learning room express all the way to SAP HANA certification.  The story is called With A Little Help From My (Learning Room ) Friends.

Why should you read Mark’s story?  “Because if you know how to use the resources available in learning rooms, you will increase your chances of certification success,” he says.  “You’ll also widen your network of contacts who can assist you whenever you have a question or need help.”

Click here to read why it’s safe to raise your hand in SAP learning rooms

A footnote about my high school Algebra career.  Despite the obvious trauma, in the Spring of my freshman year I scored a 95 out of 100 on the New York State Regents exam for Algebra.  I never got to thank my teacher for all the help she gave me – she wasn’t at our school the next year.   So, many years later, thank you Sister for steering me toward a career in writing.

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  • Hi Mike

    Very entertaining piece to read here. Thank you for sharing. I had quite a chuckle reading you algebra story and know a few others who dread class attendance as they worry being bottom of the class. I guess it's similar to no-one wanting to raise their hand with a question or suggest out of fear of being wrong.... on reading the articled you linked, the author made the same comment:

    I post a question to the group, but I’m careful to avoid making myself look too dumb by using big words in my question. .....After this experience, I solemnly swear I will never hold back when I have a question.

    Fantastic to hear about the types of Moderators in the Learning Rooms. I'm starting to join some of them but haven't been motivated to do (possibly the topics - am hoping the GRC one is released shortly).

    It was a nice read of the article to hear first hand experience of someone who used SAP Learning Hub and the Learning Rooms to prepare and sit for Certification. I hope I find myself in a similar position

    Question to you: Is this true of all SAP Learning Rooms or do you need to purchase SAP Live access as well? "A live training system? Yes, it turns out that through Live Access, there is a fully configured training system available to all SAP Learning Hub subscribers."



    P.s. - I added some tags so that this post appears in Certification and Careers spaces - hope you don't mind 🙂

    • Hello Colleen -

      SAP Live Access is a complementary offering to subscribers of SAP Learning Hub to purchase time on a fully configured training system including necessary data to allow students to practice the exercises from the courses books as they would do it in a classroom training.

      Check out the available portfolio of supported courses in the Training and Certification Shop (it will grow further). SAP Live Access is available for the courses of some Learning Rooms, such as Mark´s "SAP HANA Implementation & Modeling" Learning Room. SAP Live Access is not mandatory to participate in Learning Rooms but is an ideal addtion to support learners in their progress along the provided training paths.


    • Hi Colleen!


      Thanks for your comments about learning rooms.  In the article mentioned above, we tried to convey that learning rooms are more than just collaboration sites with a lot of cool stuff.  Instructors like Mark Green (the author of the article) spend many hours applying their instructional design skills to lay out learning paths to help you reach your objectives.

      These instructors also serve as moderators.   My anecdote about “Sarge” was a little melodramatic (and totally true!).   But as I’ve watched learning rooms evolve, I’ve noticed that many people are like me – hesitant to jump in.  You may not know the people in the room, and it may be intimidating to ask questions, comment on a lesson, or just make yourself known.

      But here’s the deal:  If you start asking questions and giving feedback, you’ll make an
      instructors day!  They live for feedback, and for the chance to help you guys.  That’s why they became instructors in the first place.  And like you, I think they struggle with the virtual aspect of these rooms because if they don’t hear from you, they don’t know if they’re helping you.


      In short, Mark’s title is very appropriate.  You’re among friends in any learning room within SAP Learning Hub.  And they're here to help you.

      Colleen, I also need to make a clarification.  The “Julie” in Mark’s article is actually a fictional character.  As a good instructor, Mark wanted to tell a story that teaches the different ways he’s seen people use learning rooms.  He also wanted to share his own tips and tricks.   This was best done with our made-up character Julie, who is quite impressive in her quest for certification!  Of course the situations she faces are very real, making this a great lesson from a great teacher.

      Oh, and if you want to see the current list of learning rooms, check out Haythem Oueslati's blog, SAP Learning Hub - Available Learning Rooms.

      Thanks again!


      • Thanks for the clarifications 🙂

        My father always reminds me when I get too black and white: don't let the truth get in the way of a good story. I found it entertaining to read and whether fictional or not the underlying message was the same.

        • Hi Colleen - My comments certainly weren't directed at you, or your laser focus.  When we originally created this "story," some people who reviewed it thought Julie was a real consultant.  So we went to great lengths to explain how she came about in the introduction to the story, in our e-magazine (  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not linking you to that introduction.  I think the article is really good at walking you through different real-life scenarios. It's just that we decided to have a fictional character (based on many real ones) be your guide.  I'm seeing a movie script in here somewhere...


          • Hi Mike

            Again thanks for feedback and adding this link in

            I hope others out there embrace SAP Learning Hub as an alternative approach (or supplementary) option to learning and preparing for certification. It's definitely a tool I wish was around a few years back when I was beginner.



          • Hi Colleen,

            I agree - we wish Learning Hub was around a few years back as well!  I'm hoping that you'll find the content that's available today useful, even though you're working at an advanced level.

            Oh, and I wanted to make another quick comment about what you said about our character "Julie" a while back.  It's funny.  As I mentioned before, when I showed this article to our editor she though Julie was a real SAP consultant and was anxious to meet her.  Then we fooled you (which isn't easy to do!).  Honest - we weren't trying!

            Now I'm hearing that people are looking for "Julies" in their learning rooms.  The fact is, we're all "Julies" (or maybe her learning buddy Vinnie).  Mark didn't write the "Friends" article to paint a picture of how things are today.  He just wanted to show you some best practices that will help you be successful.   And he wanted to make you feel good about trying them.

            So please, don't be like me in Algebra class!  Jump into the learning rooms with both feet.  Ask questions.  Help others.  Make suggestions!  We're all anxious to hear from you!


          • Hi Mike

            It's definitely an error I would like to jump in more but I think my low participation is more due to the topics. They are not my areas. At the same time, perhaps it is a chance to broader skill and pick up some more new topics!