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Author's profile photo Clemens Link

openSAP – The Numbers Behind the Courses

Six years ago, we started openSAP during the MOOC phenomenon. I was inspired by a course I had seen delivered on openHPI by Prof. Dr. Hasso Plattner and originally, we only planned to run openSAP as a short-term project to enable developers to get upskilled on SAP HANA development. When we started out, our goal was to reach as many people as possible – and we succeeded as our first course attracted 40k enrollments with just under 10k earning a Record of Achievement. In total, more than 100k learners have signed up to learn about SAP HANA native development with openSAP – something that we would never have thought possible in 2013. For the first few years, we focused on the enrollment and successful completion numbers.

Fast forward to 2019 and we have started to look at more statistics and revise how we calculate our numbers to deliver more meaningful data. Besides managing the openSAP portfolio, I’m responsible for reporting our statistics alongside my colleague Nathanael Schenk. Together we’ve conducted research into reporting across other MOOC platforms as well as learning and teaching analytics in general and I’d like to share some data with you and explain the rationale behind it.

Enrollments and Unique Learners

As I mentioned, our original intention was to reach as many people as possible and upskill them quickly. As of May 2019, we have over 820,000 learners on openSAP. The current trend sees 500 new learners join openSAP on a daily basis and we see more than 2,000 enrollments per day. In the table below, you can see the numbers on a yearly basis. On average, 12% of the learners in a course are new to openSAP and are taking their first course with us. I’m happy to see/report record breaking months in terms of new course enrollments from time to time, e.g. August 2018, October 2018, March 2019 and April 2019 with – believe it or not – 82,220 new course enrollments.

Year New course enrollments New unique learners
2013 178,000 79,846
2014 332,450 90,787
2015 500,607 123,532
2016 651,304 156,769
2017 654,380 144,808
2018 794,552 153,019

Active learners and successful completion rates                   

We’ve made some changes to how we report statistics. Since 2018, we’ve been tracking the number of learners who actively take part in courses per month. During this time, we see 50k learners actively participating in courses on openSAP per month, with some months seeing up to 70k, for example April and May 2019 with popular topics featuring on openSAP including SAPUI5 and SAP Cloud Platform.

During the past six years, we’ve also seen a trend that over 50% of learners who enroll to a course, show up and learn in the course. This recurring trend continues today. For the first few years, when calculating the successful completion percentages, we focused on the number of people enrolled to the course at the halfway point. Why? Simply because if you join a course after halfway, it’s rare that you’d have the time to complete the earlier weeks’ content and catch up on time to earn enough points in each remaining weekly assignment and final exam to get the points required for successful completion.

At openSAP, we offer courses with a variety of formats. Our standard courses run over a six-week period with new content in consumable chunks released each week. We also provide nutshell courses that give an overview about a topic with all content available from the start of the course and the content in total takes about 4 hours to complete over a four-week period.

To understand the numbers we investigated further; we discovered that learners who enroll during a course are more active (over 40% of 75% course active learners) and most likely to earn a Record of Achievement (RoA) or Confirmation of Participation (CoP) during the course run time when compared to learners who enroll before a course starts.

An example for a nutshell course:

An example for a standard course:

In 2018, after much research into best practices when reporting on MOOCs, we took the decision to go deeper into the numbers. Now, we report the successful completion rate based on the active learners in a course to show a more transparent figure, as only active learners are able to consume the content and evaluate its quality. In courses of our standard format we continue to take the halfway point as the time of assessment, whereas in nutshell courses we switched to the course-end date. The data showed that these are the last points in time, when for a learner it still makes sense to start being active in a course in order to successfully complete it with a record of achievement. Since we started this reporting, we see a trend that on average from the 50%+ that enroll to a course and are actively learning, over 30% successfully complete the course and earn a Record of Achievement and Digital Badge for the course.

6 years openSAP – Most attended courses per year

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA An Introduction to SAP HANA by Dr. Vishal Sikka

SAP S/4HANA in a Nutshell


Implementation of SAP S/4HANA


SAP Cloud Platform Essentials


Prepare for Your SAP HANA Certification- Development Associate
In-Memory Data Management In a Nutshell SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA SAP S/4HANA – Deep Dive Developing Web Apps with SAPUI5 Touch IoT with SAP Leonardo

Data Migration to SAP S/4HANA


Introduction to Mobile Solution Development Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud Platform How the Internet of Things and Smart Services Will Change Society Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud Introduction to SAP HANA Administration SAP Leonardo – Enabling The Intelligent Enterprise


Customer feedback and satisfaction

We have always taken our learners feedback seriously and react, where possible, to improve their experience. I remember in our very first course in 2013, a learner provided feedback that for those with a hearing impairment, it would be beneficial to include transcripts with each video. We worked tirelessly to make transcripts available as soon as possible to ensure that the learners could make use of the transcripts and learn the content. Since then, we always include the “I like, I wish” section in the discussion forum where we invite learners to provide qualitative feedback and we use this as a method to identify areas for improvement.

We also introduced polls and a survey at the end of each course to help us build an overview of our learners’ satisfaction. The results for this survey on average are:

  • 99% want to do another course
  • 95% say that the skills learned will help in their future work
  • 98% are satisfied with openSAP learning experience


As our MOOCs continue to evolve, we’ll continue to take a look at the numbers and trends to try and further understand our learners’ needs. We welcome feedback through our I like, I wish forums at the end of each course as well as through our course surveys. This helps us to further improve our offering. We’re also happy to see our satisfaction rates remain consistently high and learners continue to return to learn at openSAP. If you have any feedback or would like further information about openSAP statistics, please contact us at our help desk on our website.

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      Author's profile photo Mike Pokraka
      Mike Pokraka

      Thanks for sharing these insights.

      I found your comment that "learners who enroll during a course are more active" interesting, but I think no-shows skew the numbers. From my experience as a participant, it's quick and easy to enrol from the email notifications you send out months in advance (a good thing), and I'm pretty sure at least some people will do this just as a reminder even if unsure if they want to take part.

      To me this would explain the large no-show, as folks are quick to sign up and less motivated to make the effort to un-enrol. If you were to exclude no-shows, it looks to me you'd have a similar rate of record of achievement from the pre-enrolled people as with the others.

      Author's profile photo Clemens Link
      Clemens Link
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for your comments, Mike. I agree to your assumption that no-shows skew the numbers and excluding the no-shows indeed leads to a similar rate of records of achievement. This is why we – in our internal KPI reports – nowadays calculate success rates for active course participants instead of “enrollees”.

      On the other hand, enrolling into a MOOC without taking part for tons of reasons indicates an interest in a topic to us, which is very helpful in developing the openSAP course portfolio. It also supports decisions to repeat the one or other of our Enterprise MOOCs.

      Cheers, Clemens

      Author's profile photo Audrey Stevenson
      Audrey Stevenson

      Hi Clemens,

      Thanks for a very insightful post! The data is indeed very interesting.

      I've seen the excitement in the community when the openSAP missions and badges launched here, and it continues.

      It's on my list to take one of the courses sometime soon. I've only taken one MOOC before, a course on gamification several years ago by Professor Kevin Werbach, and I enjoyed it a lot. I look forward to doing an SAP MOOC!

      Author's profile photo Clemens Link
      Clemens Link
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Audrey,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words and your constant support of our openSAP missions and badges for the SAP Community. I’d be happy to welcome you in one (or more) of our openSAP Enterprise MOOCs in the future and look forward to your feedback. Of course I know that reserving some time per week to learn in a MOOC is not always easy for busy people.

      My latest recommendation is Creating Trustworthy and Ethical Artificial Intelligence, a course we built in cooperation with members of the European Union High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence. Here you only need to find 3-4 hours in total within the period from June 25, 2019 to July 24, 2019.

      I agree with you, that the Gamification MOOC by Professor Kevin Werbach on Coursera is awesome. You indeed picked a good one, which most likely could inspire you for your great work in the SAP Community.

      Kind regards, Clemens

      Author's profile photo Audrey Stevenson
      Audrey Stevenson


      Thank you so much for the recommendation. I think I am going to sign up for that one! It looks like a great choice!

      Author's profile photo Thomas Jenewein
      Thomas Jenewein

      Thanks for the stats - very interesting and probably also a good benchmark for MOOCs - in other free MOOcs I remember that the engagement esp. in terms of working through a whole course is not that high... Four short points:

      • as probably for all learners - the main challegenge (for me) is to find time, esp. in the weekly set-up
      • personally I also like the on-demand approach - so I leveraged some openSAP courses just when I needed the content, e.g. on Machine Learning - when I had a respective project
      • I also attended the Gamification Mooc from K. Werbach (not to the end :-)) - was also nicely done. I like the gamification approach, however we need to look that we go beyond PBL (Points, Badges, Leaderboards) to leverage intrinsic motivation and make learning fun
      • Great that openSAP is a home for some Podcasts incl. our Education Newscast. I think Podcasts could also play a bigger role for openSAP, e.g. providing updates for popular courses ...

      kind regards, Thomas

      Author's profile photo Clemens Link
      Clemens Link
      Blog Post Author

      I’m happy to read that you like our stats as well as the openSAP offering, Thomas. You mention the “learning on demand” aspect and I can confirm its importance in addition to the topics described in the blog. Thanks for delivering your popular Education Newscast via our platform. You can be assured that we’ll continue and even broaden SAP’s podcast offering at openSAP.

      Cheers, Clemens