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This article was part of a submission for an education award. I feel that the concept of learning rooms is very interesting, which is why I decided to share it here with the community. I look forward to reading your comments at the end of the article.


SAP is a leading provider of enterprise software and is headquartered in Walldorf, Germany. Since its foundation in 1972, SAP has evolved through innovation and growth to become a leading provider of enterprise software. Thanks to SAP’s applications and services, more than 253,500 customers worldwide are able to operate profitably, constantly adapt to new requirements, and achieve sustainable growth. In 2013, SAP employed 660,000 people.

SAP Education is SAP’s training organization – and one of the largest providers of IT training services. Each year, some 500,000 employees, partners, and customers in about 60 countries are trained in SAP software or technology. SAP Education provides not only training but also education consulting in SAP projects and sells training products such as e-learning authoring systems (Workforce Performance Builder, formerly Datango) and learning management systems (SAP Learning Solution and SuccessFactors Learning, formerly Plateau).

Having previously focused primarily on classroom training, SAP training has shifted its focus increasingly to e-learning, blended learning, and virtual classrooms. Yet with informal social learning gaining in importance, SAP Education has been offering “supported learning” in learning communities since 2014. These communities are the subject of this article.

Brief outline: community-based learning for SAP products – social, mobile, and fun

SAP Learning Hub provides a new way for SAP customers and partners to access all cloud-based SAP knowledge and learning content such as manuals and e-learning materials. Access is available as a 12-month subscription for a flat-rate fee. As well as access to self-learning materials, there is an option to subscribe to training system exercises, which allows users to put all they have learned into practice using prepared exercises.

In learning communities – also known as “learning rooms” – learners can learn, practice, and discuss topics together with trainers and other learners. These learning rooms use the very latest methods in terms of massive open online courses (MOOCs), social and mobile learning, as well as gamification.

Learning room model

  • Guided by SAP Education trainers (content) and moderators (processes and technology)
  • Defined learning objectives on a more general topic such as particular SAP software 
  • Minimum of 200 participants (the critical mass of learning communities)
  • Self-study with SAP Learning Hub content
  • Learning material provided weekly by trainers (videos, exercises, blogs, and polls)
  • Collaboration through discussions, polls, and synchronous info sessions
  • For a brief introduction to SAP Learning Hub, a free test version (Discovery Edition) is available
  • To motivate learners, gamification missions were created:
    • Mission 1: Find the courses from the test version that are freely accessible – to raise awareness of SAP Learning Hub (I Found SAP Learning Hub mission – unlimited period)
    • Mission 2: Encourage social learning by writing short reviews of the online courses (Learning Hub Explorer mission – limited to 2 months)
    • Mission 3: HANA Quiz Challenge – accept and take part in a quiz with questions about SAP HANA. Content is available in SAP Learning Hub courses.

Results

  • In the first half of 2014, 10 learning groups each comprising 300-500 participants were carried out – all were time-based like MOOCs.
  • Evaluation of a learning room: commitment value of the participants (at least one activity per participant): 40%-54% (target was 20% in accordance with the creator/commentator/lurkers model)
  • The “I Found SAP Learning Hub” mission was completed successfully about 4,700 times, and the Learning Hub Explorer mission about 90 times. Gamification therefore helped to raise the level of awareness and commitment and is still being developed further, especially in the learning rooms. (I’m publishing a blog about this soon – here’s a snapshot.)
  • Since mid-2014, approximately 60 open learning communities have been developed and launched – each based on curriculum areas of SAP Education. The first learning groups (based on xMOOC designs) were criticized in the evaluation as lacking flexibility due to their limited time and closed nature – hence such groups will be used for selected topics only, such as Big Data.

More information: demo on YouTube and blog on SAP Community Network

Description of the concept: community-based learning for SAP products – social, mobile, and fun

SAP Learning Hub provides a new way for SAP customers to access all cloud-based SAP knowledge and learning content such as manuals and e-learning materials. Access is available as a 12-month subscription for a flat-rate fee. As well as access to self-learning materials, there is an option to subscribe to training system exercises, which allows users to put all they have learned into practice using prepared exercises.

Reports about the use of learning content and about learning progress enable companies to determine which employees are most suitable for an SAP project. And because the solution is cloud based, the customer doesn’t have to worry about IT resources, support, or software updates.

With the flat-rate approach, similar to that used by Spotify and Netflix, SAP customers can ensure that their employees are optimally trained, and at the same time, reduce travel expenses.

Employees who have taken part in SAP classroom training and obtained certification from SAP Education generally also require further training to refresh or enhance their existing skills.

In learning communities – also known as “learning rooms” – learners can learn, practice, and discuss topics together with trainers and other learners. These learning rooms use the very latest methods in terms of MOOCs, social and mobile learning, as well as gamification.

Features of learning rooms

  • Virtual spaces on SAP’s social media platform SAP JAM for learning groups, where learners can collaborate and deepen their knowledge
  • Structured and guided by SAP instructors to help participants achieve defined learning goals
  • Learning scenarios based on experience
  • Enables learners to directly contact and interact with trainers and fellow learners to collaborate and network
  • Allows synchronous collaboration (chat and application sharing) and asynchronous collaboration (discussions, feeds, and documents)

  1. Introduction to the learning room with introductory videos and learning material selected by the trainer

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2. Opportunity to ask questions, submit feedback, access synchronous live sessions, use training systems, as well as work and learn together

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3. Timeline/feed: for example, with a poll, assigned tasks, comments, and questions

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4. Participants can subscribe to updates via e-mail or mobile app to be kept informed

/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/lh4_721447.png

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Roles and responsibilities in the learning rooms


Trainer (SAP Education)

  • Responsible for content
  • Selects self-study materials
  • Creates interaction (weekly)
  • Answers questions

 

Moderator

  • Sets up and closes the room based on a template
  • Contact person for technical questions
  • Reporting

 
Person responsible for topics (Portfolio Manager)

  • Selects topics for learning rooms
  • Finds trainers

Operations

  • Maintains the learning management system of SAP Learning Hub

Tips for learning room moderators

1.   Motivate and actively involve participants, for example, with polls.

2.   Introduce yourself in a video. Also ask learners to introduce themselves.

3.   Explain how learners can use the learning rooms.

4.   Offer additional exercises for individuals and teams.

5.   Check the learning room once a day to answer questions (set aside about an hour a day – especially at the start).

6.   Organize synchronous events such as expert chats and info sessions.

Results and findings so far

  • In the first half of 2014, 10 learning groups each comprising 300-500 participants were carried out – all were time-based like MOOCs.
  • Evaluation of a learning room: commitment value of the participants (at least one activity per participant): 40%-54% (target was 20% in accordance with the creator/commentator/lurkers model)
  • The “I Found SAP Learning Hub” mission was completed successfully about 4,700 times, and the Learning Hub Explorer mission about 90 times. Gamification therefore helped to raise the level of awareness and commitment. Work is under way to develop gamification further in the learning rooms – particularly with the aim of encouraging learners to get more actively involved. Missions are a key element here – in the form of individual or team tasks.
  • Since mid-2014, approximately 60 open learning communities have been developed and launched – each based on curriculum areas of SAP Education. The first learning groups (based on xMOOC designs) were criticized in the evaluation as lacking flexibility due to their limited time and closed nature – hence such groups will be used for selected topics only, such as Big Data.
  • A separate “trainer learning room” was set up for trainers and moderators. While many trainers are familiar with classroom training, they may find it difficult to moderate a learning room “on the side” – as certain change management activities also need to be carried out.
  • The didactic concept is flexible and focuses heavily on completing exercises and sharing experiences in small, closed groups. This concept most certainly resulted in the very high participation rate in contrast to other social learning scenarios such as those for MOOCs.
  • More than 50% of participants are currently actively involved in the learning rooms each month.

Students are given special access – see the information graphic prepared for this target group. If you are interested, simply request the free test version (Discovery Edition) – where there are always plenty of learning rooms to try out.

More information: demo on YouTube and blog on SAP Community Network

 
The initial Learning Room Project Team: Christoph Haffner Lars Satow Thomas Jenewein Arnold Jung

The main work now lies in the hands of SAP Education instructors who infuse their knowledge into the learning rooms as well as all related supporting experts like moderators, portfolio managers or people from operations. Kudos to all of them as they are the ones who now drive this new form of SAP Education into practice.

Would be great if you could share your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

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1 Comment

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  1. Rob Phillips

    Hi Thomas

    Great article, thanks for sharing.  In case anyone is interested, you can see the full list of available learning rooms in the different editions of SAP Learning Hub via this link

    Thanks

    Rob

    (0) 

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