If you want to learn how to drive a car, it seems intuitively clear that learning about rules and theory – while necessary – only gets you so far. You have to practice, experience driving “hands-on”, get the feel for it in reality, only then you can really build up the skill. The same is true for many things, from sports to professional skills – and software is no exception. Whether you want to learn how to customize one of our standard business solutions, or how to develop completely new things on top: yes, you have to learn about important concepts but ultimately you have to get your hands on it and try it out.
That’s why from the beginning SAP training courses have always included system based exercises for the participants to exercise what they learnt in theory on the real system. And that’s why learners in our digital learning environment, SAP Learning Hub, complement their self-paced learning with hands-on experience via so-called SAP Live Access. But beyond this, we see growing demand for a wide range of “practical” use cases where the hands-on part becomes the center of attention. For example, you may have gone through an education program to become fully competent already, but now that you will soon start your project you would like to gain more doing-competence by practicing what you learnt in a high intensity setting in a team of peers. Or, you may have acquired a lot of product specific knowledge but are now looking to experience this in a broader scenario, simulating real-life challenges like converting a real ERP system to a S/4HANA. To address these use cases, we are now introducing SAP Hands-On Learning as a new breed of instructor-led classroom courses. While in most of our other training courses you typically find a theory-to-practice ratio of somewhere between 60:40 and 40:60, SAP Hands-On Learning courses focus as much as 90% of the course duration on practical exercises and simulations right on the system.
“Flipping” the Classroom
Especially “practice what you learnt” use cases for Hands-On Learning can go nicely hand in hand with digital learning on the SAP Learning Hub. The traditional wisdom of where it’s most effective to learn concepts and where to practice is “flipped”, hence some people like the term of the “flipped classroom” to describe this approach. As example for the traditional method I have to look no further than at my kids in elementary school:
- They go to a classroom where they are being lectured about theoretical concepts.
- To practice, they get homework that they do by themselves at home.
For many learning scenarios it is doubtful if this is the smartest and most valuable use of time and in-person presence. To the contrary, digital learning with our massive open online courses in openSAP and the SAP Learning Hub with its live sessions, collaborative Learning Rooms and highly engaging content formats has become so easy-to-consume and effective in the meantime, that many learners prefer to learn conceptual skills here in a self-study mode, at their own pace – rather than blocking whole weeks to travel to a training center somewhere. At the same time, when it comes to hands-on practice and real-life simulations, many prefer to do this in person, in a team and with a physical coach present. Net net, a “flipped classroom” addresses such cases where you rather see highest value und most effective use of your time and money in:
- learning concepts in digital self-study, and
- spending your in-person time and travel expenses on the practical experience
which is exactly the opposite thinking like in the traditional learning approaches described above. A great example is the fully digital learning program for S/4HANA Cloud on the SAP Learning Hub (find out more about S/4HANA Cloud Learning here) – always up to date by the minute a software update happens, highly effective, allowing you for minimum time required for learning – while at the same time the new SAP Hands-On Learning S4HC Implementation Workshop (planned to be released soon) provides an in-person opportunity to deepen practical skills and confidence level. (Please note that acquiring practical skills is supported in a purely digital learning approach as well for the learners who chose so, via SAP Live Access).
“Experiential Learning” for real-life scenarios
Beyond Hands-On learning to increase confidence and practice-readiness for what you learnt as part of a standard learning program, there are also use cases that expand your skills into typical real-life challenges, which you solve in a team on the real system. A typical example for such a scenario is HOA328 – SAP S/4HANA Conversion and SAP System Upgrade where the classe’s starting point is an SAP ERP system, which they convert step-by-step to S/4HANA: by the end of the class the complete ERP system has been converted and is up and running in S/4HANA. Next to system conversions, further use cases we consider for future Hands-On learning offerings include system upgrade, integration of several SAP and non-SAP products, as well as all sorts of problem solving and disaster recovery scenarios, and more.
Promote your Hands-On skills on Social Media via “Digital Skill Badges”
A lot of the examples above lead to skills that are highly sought after in the market-place. I’m not talking so much about pure “practice what you learnt” cases, but have a look at the examples below, if you acquire such skills you may be very interested in making them visible to your business ecosystem:
- “Converting an SAP ERP system to S/4HANA? I’ve done it!”
- “S/4HANA Cloud is quite new on the market but I’ve already proven I can implement it from A to Z – Hands-On!”
- “Connecting a Success Factors system to ERP? No problem, have done it already!”
- “Knowing about disaster recovery? They simulated the worst possible incident for me, and I managed to get it up again myself!”
To make this simple and effective, we plan to expand our “Digital Badge” offering (find out more about Digital badges here) beyond standard SAP Global Certifications to “Skill Badges” for selected Hands-On skills – which you can then share via social media, e.g. on your LinkedIn profile.
What is available today?
While “SAP Hands-On Learning” is a new type of offering that was just introduced, a first set of courses is already available, including:
- HONCJD – Hands-On Native Cloud Java Development
- HOS4HE – Hands-On Native Cloud Java Development with SAP S/4HANA Cloud SDK
- HOSCPD – Hands-On SAP Cloud Platform Development
- HOXSAD – Hands-On XSA Development
- HOA328 – SAP S/4HANA Conversion and SAP System Upgrade
- Planned to be released next: HOS4C – S4HC Implementation Workshop. This Hands-On Learning course will also be the first one where participants can gain a Digital Skill Badge:
You can find the most up-to-date list of SAP Hands-On Learning courses on our training web shop; either go to the SAP Hands-On Learning home page or search for HO*. We also plan to integrate each Hands-On Learning course into the relevant SAP Learning Journeys. A lot of ideas for additional Hands-On Learning are already under discussion. We will have a close ear on the market to see which the most demand topics are for such skill building via experiential learning.