Whats your learn-hack? See Tips & Tricks from the SAP Community!
What the hack?
In today’s fast-paced, complex & dynamic world we all need to constantly learn new skills, behaviors, and even sometimes change our mindsets & behavior routines. There are many buzzwords flying around like agile-learning or microlearning which propose solutions. But what are real tips to stay up-to date and keep on learning – being motivated, doing the right things, getting the right sources and investing your time best? We take “workhacks” as a metaphor. Workhacks are small rules or methods, which improve work, collaboration and challenge rigid routines. So we would like to foster the exchange in the SAP community around helpful, smart learning tips – or “learn hacks”.
Examples of Learn Hacks
- Learn hacks can be new approaches – like leveraging a canvas & agile workshop techniques to design your teams’ learning journey, instead of delivering/doing lengthy training needs analysis surveys. Please see example below
- A learn hack can be the leveraging of other sources & tools. Instead of learning new SAP applications by trial & error you could subscribe to an edition of SAP Learning Hub. There you can learn when you need it via e-learning, ask questions in trainer moderated communities or learn via cloud-based training systems. For further reference you can register for a SAP Learning Hub demo in German or English .
- Another learn hack is to use other tools & new approaches for content development. In many SAP projects documentation and learning material is still created manually with word or other simple tools. A smarter, more efficient and scalable way to create learning & documentation content is SAP Enable Now – you can check out a Demo here.
- However, learn hacks can be also pretty small and simple tips, like: Reserve time in your calendar , book a silent space to invest in learning, or try out something new.
Your Learning Hacker Mission: to get the Learn Hack Badge
To earn the badge in this mission please share your tips or hacks to learn smarter and better. Simply do that by posting your LearnHack below in the comments. Our Learning experts will review those and we will issue the badges on a weekly basis.
Please note: The mission ended December 19th. However there are many insightful comments below from more than 50 SAP Community members. Check them out and keep adding comments if you like.
My learn hack is pretty simple, but I find it very effective. It basically involves getting used to not feeling guilty about taking time to learn, combined with finding a good slot in the day. The key activity of a developer is, arguably, to learn, so making time to do that should be a priority. I wrote about not feeling guilty, and making time to learn, it in a blog post: https://qmacro.org/2017/08/30/things-i-do-to-make-my-work-life-better/#learn
absolutely true. sounds simple - but not taking time to learn as short term things seem more important is absolutley critical. Thanks also for the link to further tips!
Thanks. There's also more here: Monday morning thoughts: the learning continuum which you may find useful.
DJ, as Craig Cmehil knows, the guilt of which you speak, about taking time for learning and development, is something that I struggle with myself. It took several mandates before I could overcome that guilt enough to finish a book about online community management that I had listed as one of my goals to read this year.
Nice comment, Audrey. Yes, sometimes it's difficult to convince yourself that it's OK to do. But no-one else is going to make you do it or even give you explicit permission. Give yourself permission. You know best.
My tip to learn smarter is to use a visual tool like mindmapping tool Mindomo.com or Trello.
Mindomo helps you to visualize topics and enrich them with links and images.
Trello can be used as to-do lists (also in Agile approaches). You can easily re-use shared templates. This helped me a lot.
Googled Mindomo and it is very impressive. Thank you! My learning hack is to stop and look up something when ever I get stuck on a problem or have a question. I may not find THE answer, but I always learn something new.
My learn hack is to list down my task with time frame and then finding the right slot to pursue that, for example, If i want to sit for a certification, i decide that i want this to be completed by end of next month. Then, starts the preparation and other activities.
So, having a 'delivery date' first works for me and then 2 hours early morning work towards the goal before your family wakes up does wonders.
Mine is similar to Gaurav and Mark Finnern wrote about it here: https://blogs.sap.com/2013/09/18/get-stuff-done-balance-your-life-tips-from-sap-mentors/
Like Thomas Jung, I take screen shots, notes, and create a list of things to do each day, which include learning.
I do need to "unplug" to learn more like Jon Reed mentions in the blog
Nice initiative Thomas Jenewein and Now I will know how others are learning …. I never used those tools others suggested, but love to try and see if they will help me out further
I don’t have any schedule or sorting the things that I’ve to learn.. Mine is kinda simple, I just spend atleast 1 hour a day in the Community.
Let’s take SAP community(can be any community) as an example and target one or more topics. We don’t need to comment or answer or write blogs. Just going though the community blogs, Q&A would be enough to gather information about what is happening in the SAP world.
For improving our existing skill, go through Q&A more.
To learn new things, go through Blogs more.
I do it atleast 1 hour(sometimes less) a day (from 1 year I think)… I do it In my office when I get bored with work or when I am at gym in between exercise breaks or ( at home before sleeping or Early morning when I get up).
There is something similar already going on in the community. Check out the blog by Craig Cmehil originally initiated by Nabheet Madan
One more important thing in learning something is to go through the official documentation before going though all those half baked tutorials out there (Assuming the documentation is written well, which is in most cases).
Any doubt, check the documentation and then with the community, which I try to do always and It helped me a lot!
Mahesh, I love love love that you list spending time in the community as a learning hack! That is really an excellent tip.
My learning hack is pretty simple. Find a topic and invest all free time at work to dig as deep as possible. After two month decide if you want to stay with it or leave it alone.when you stay you have enough arguments to talk to your boss about investing more time ( and money).
if not, you’re still able to have a high level overview and do not believe only the marketing slides?
Podcasts about software engineering/architecture and SAP topics. Podcasts are an easy way to consume valuable and up to date information. I am usually able to listen to podcasts for 45 minutes during weekdays, for example during my commute, lunch, or other times when my brain would otherwise be mostly idle but my hands are full 🙂
Many podcast players are able to increase playback speed and/or eliminate pauses in speech, so you can even go through more content. For iOs, I use the app Overcast.
On this page, there is a section with the podcasts I listen to:
I'd like to especially point out this great community page with SAP related podcasts:
great point - Podcasts are a great learning ressource. We have one on Education also - mostly in german - but sometimes also in english like this one with Craig Chmehil: ▶️ openSAP https://lnkd.in/dYg_ArQ ▶️ Spotify https://lnkd.in/drRuHRb ▶️ iTunes https://lnkd.in/dj-6p9X
As time allows, I like to work through tutorials which - even if they are fairly high-level - at least give me an overview of what all is involved to set up things like an OData-Service. Going through the steps myself and seeing the results in a system helps me more than just reading some documentation.
To better remember lectures and/or sessions I participated in during events such as SAP TechEd, I like to put my thoughts and some tidbits of information into blog posts instead of just jotting down notes for myself.
Voilà -> you have to learn the topic and you have a deadline. Works for me at least 🙂
Wow! this needs to get more likes!!! Researching and deadline surely increases your knowledge!
Alternatively we can also write blogs, which does a similar thing I believe atleast in my case
The difference is that the blogs don't have a deadline. I have about 20 half-written either in my head or in some random Notepad file that I never got around to finishing. Because there is always the next day. 🙂
But submit a conference proposal and it's tick-tock. Works with the books too, on a larger scale. 🙂
😀 I mean the researching part applies to writing blogs as well 😉 I also have couple of blogs started and have to finish 🙁 🙁 Too lazy 🙁 But atleast I am researching on that 🙂
Yes, ideally, blogs should deserve just as much research as anything else. It's a public post, after all, and on an SAP-branded website (speaking of SCN blogs specifically). I really wish other authors followed your example and did at least some search (forget the re- part 🙂 ) before posting. That would drastically improve the content quality and readers' ROI.
😀 😀 haha had a good laugh with the "re-part" 😀 :D..
I usually think 100 times and search as many times to just make sure my content is not a duplicate and is a valid one. It's good that I've that phobia of what others will say about the blog 😀
I agree to 100% - I do it always with a webinar! Schedule a webinar and invite people. That creates the necessary pressure!
I learn using open.sap.com open.hpi.de and lately also the TechEd learning hub. I listen to “easier” sessions while at work, e.g. when checking mails or during tasks, where I have longer waiting periods in-between (e.g. where something needs to be processed by a system which takes longer).
I also use some of my leisure time for these courses, as I also have a personal interest in keeping my skills up to date.
Moreover, I take some home office days whenever I have to do some more advanced/complex programming. Then I also take the time to explore new approaches (if it makes sense) because I personally believe it is always better to write state-of-the-art programs then I-do-it-the-classical-way-as-I-already-did-it-for-the-last-ten-years programs…
Finally, it is always worth to attend SAPinsideTrack events...not only for continuous learning but also for getting to know new people and expanding your personal network!
Mark Wagener and Uwe Fetzer, I like the learning hacks around SAP InsideTrack, both the tip to submit a session and the tip to attend them! Svea Becker would surely agree.
Nice! Here's my learn-hack:
If I don’t know something, I write it down. (publicly, if possible, e.g. in a blog)
Then I keep on trying to find out.
If I do find out I’ll add answers to my question.
My preferred LearnHack is: explore, experiment / tryout, reflect.
If I want/ need to learn something new I explore (google, Moocs, our enterprise social network...) and try it out fast. Via MVP, protoype or whatever. 3rd Step is to reflect - if I have time via a blog or faster via Twitter/ LinkedIn.
Sometimes I need to learn something really quickly; mostly this involves trying to learn to do something in a program I don't use very often, like MS Excel. And I will admit that my learn hack is to search Google for a little description or even better a brief video for how to use that function or feature in a program or app. I figure there are enough users of most programs out there in the world that someone has already figured out how to do whatever it is I'm trying to do, and I can learn from their experience. It usually works, too.
We should start “Audrey Googles. Be Like Audrey” ™ line of t-shirts.
English not beein my native language, when I encounter a word I don't now I
1. Look it up.
2. Write it down.
That gave me words like:
(some of them from our own Jerry Janda )
If I helped you expand your English vocabulary, that makes me happy. I'm gonna guess that prolific, meticulous, and visceral came from me. 🙂
actually "botched" and "lenient" are the ones I can attribute to you.
And I think it was you and your broad lexis that made me start that list! *thumb up*
Dear Thomas, Here are my hacks which I publish weekly on LinkedIn and on my blog: www.wilmahartenfels.com/blog-1
My learn hack is - learning on the move - learn (or at least reinforce learning by listening again through Podcasts, Audiobooks and of course videos on SAP Learning Hub and SAP Learning Rooms. I can cover so much material in the car or on the train - don't watch the videos if you're driving though 😉
My learn hack is to write a dossier for myself after attending a course, listening to a video, reading a book or studying an e-learning. All I have learnt about a topic goes into the dossier. In the dossier I am also collecting examples. Today I am doing this online, but for the most important learnings and facts I am still using old fashioned index cards. In a second step I discuss open questions with experts to get answers. Finally, I am trying to apply my knowledge and again I am documenting results and feedback.
Like that a lot! I try to do that, too, but fail at being consequent! 😐
My learn hack is the following: "Connect with the attendees of your training course".
Building a network of people with the same interests as yourself, helps you whenever you face problems in real life. Because in the classroom it all works fine, but when you get to your desk or at your client, it all seems to be slightly different.
Connecting with people you have learnt with, helps you building a safety net for yourself and also enables you to take the next step in your learning (together). It does not matter if you met them in real life in a classroom or seminar or online in a MOOC, connecting with them will most certainly become useful in the future. Live by the rule: Sharing is Caring!
The learn hack I use and that I advise my trainees to use is "see one, do one, teach one".
See someone else do what you're trying to learn.
Do it yourself and make sure it works.
Teach someone else how to do it. This is really the key - I find I internalize the learning when I have to walk someone else through it and answering questions that I might not have thought of. This is one of the primary reasons why I started answering questions in various forums as I have moved through my career.
I like how you summarized it in 3 points, Dell. I'll try to live by this. Thank you for sharing!
My learn hack is the following: “Participate in Mokumoku-kai”.
There are many events called “Mokumoku-kai” in Japan. “Mokumoku-kai” means meetup where people get together to casually study, work, read, etc. on their own (“Mokumoku” means “silently” and “kai” means “meeting” in Japanese).
Our community hold SAP-related Mokumoku-kai irregularly. In the Mokumoku-kai, each participant sets their own goals and executes them (e.g. openSAP, Tutorials on developers.sap.com).
The benefit of this event is that participants can concentrate quietly and immerse themselves in learning. And participants can also ask other experts there. This event is a very small and easy study session with a few to less than 20 participants. This is usually done offline, but can also be done online.
very interesting, thanks for sharing. reminds me to some peer learning formats we do in germany
This is very much like the Working Out Loud movement, Taiki! I am a fan!!
My Learn Hack - when exploring , researching and discovering a complex topic, trying to break down and draw it out on a sheet(s) of paper. Getting back to the basics using colors shapes and charts help me to simplify , and even memory recall down the road, I see a point I mapped out in color or shape .
Hi Thomas Jenewein,
I shared my learning hack in a blog earlier which can be seen here:
Attending a training? Ensure better learning!
Here is its quick summary:
Before the session
During the session
After the session
In addition to these learning hacks for any training, I also wrote about Developing learning profile with openSAP courses
Happy learning 🙂
My learning hacks are fairly simple:
1. I have a dedicated color categorization in my Calendar for Learning Time. Before this, I used to skip virtual learning engagements because they weren’t distinct. But when I started giving it a special designation visually, it caught my attention more.
2. I think of my mentor and my coach as my watchers aside from being my advisors. If we talked about me updating my LinkedIn profile to build my brand, I invite my coach to take a look at it in 2 weeks. If we talked about me learning how to summarize and whiteboard, I present samples of my summary on our next mentoring session.
3. Outside office hours, I bring my phone and earphones when I go to the gym. When I am on the treadmill or elliptical trainer, I play informational videos either from Youtube or Lynda/LinkedIn Learning. When I shower, I listen to quick learning podcasts. When I am stuck in traffic, I pass the time reading insightful articles rather than the humdrum of social media.
4. I talk about what I learned! I share when appropriate and try to inspire others to do the same. My confirmation of having learned something is when I can externalize and "publish" it for others' consumption.
My learning hack is more focused on functional consultants and my tip is to avoid focusing only in the SAP features but also focus in learning the processes and the fundamentals of the functional area you are covering. A long time ago I wrote a blog with a list of useful books to study Production Planning and there are several books that are not exactly related to SAP, but in the PP processes:
Recently I found out that switching between 2-3 very different topics several times per day works for me better compared to focusing on a single one for days or weeks.
I also learn a lot from SAP notes (this is not a real hack but it seems that many consultants are unaware of their existence or usefulness).
And I follow people on SAP Community who post content from which I can learn.
Great topic and mission!
My learning hacks, for SAP / ABAP:
1: In my earlier days of ABAP development, I use to have a small pocket diary with me where i would have noted down important transaction codes, program names, table names and function modules. It helped a lot. Now i am using Google Keep for that. You can use any note taking app like Evernote or One Note or a thousand other available products. End product doesn’t matter. What matters most is that you should have information available when you need it. Remember to arrange the information in a way that works for you. You can use tags, colors, labels to arrange this.
2: You can also use private folders in transaction SBWP to store system specific information. Like in production environment, for some Z transactions where you want to remember some Z table names that are used for logs etc. Even for standard transactions like during support, some issue which you receive not very frequently (every few months) and you want to note down the steps you take to analyze/resolve the issue, i find it helpful to store such information in a private folder in SBWP.
3: This is more developer oriented. Look for improvement areas in your job or day to day activities. if something can be improved, go for it. Try to develop a utility or automation program to resolve the issue. You will notice that when you have set a goal and then started working on it, learning is automatic by product of it. Like you develop a utility program to automate transport request reviews or may be a library app in ABAP to catalogue all those PDFs that you have gathered over the years for SAP articles. This way if you set up a goal first and than start working on it, it keeps you focused and you learn new things with it.
My are similar to these already said:
1.) Education like SAP Courses (we get them paid), opensap courses, general IT courses (requirement engineering, testing, ITIL ...), english if you are not a native speaker.
2.) There are also the tutorials you can do (https://developers.sap.com/tutorial-navigator.html)
I admit that I am hooked with gamification, learning is great, but getting a badge also.
3.) I take some minutes of my daily work time to read in the sap community and in newsgroups. If I find something interesting, I write it down (like Rashid) in a kind of personal diary. Also if it is something from my work. I have made the experience, better invest five minutes as to search some month later for hours (like you ask a collegue "can you remember, three month ago, there was a problem... how was the solution?" and then the search starts).
So my personal "diary" was often very helpful.
Of course there is improvement for this: You could use a wiki in your Department instead of personal "diaries". So knowledge is not lost, if someone leaves the organisation. Of course it should be up to date, but that is a general Problem with all kind of documentation.
I wanted to provide some Tools in the form of a set of Applications to help you educate yourself through (online) content … However, an important Skill is to be able to ‘curate’ all the possible content that is out there. In my view it is not always obvious what content (either in spoken word, video or print) is the real deal or is ‘fake news’ or just pure marketing. And with a little experience, you can develop your “gut feeling” on which content providers offer consistenly “good content”.
So when you have curated some of the online content streams (perhaps SAP Blogs, SAP Partner Blogs, SAP UserGroup articles, etc.), you could check if they offer some kind of RSS Feeds-mechanisme. With that, you could make use of an Desktop / Online / Mobile FeedReader Tool that will update you automatically on a ‘probably, relatively’ interesting Article, Blog, or GitHub Code-commit.
For instance, a Tool like Feedly or your E-mail Client could pick up the Feeds from a wide range (possibly not all) of Website and Blogs, notifying you on regular updates without having to access its original source yourself.
Here is a tip : The SAP Community Tags and RSS features have been around for some time (see this Blogpost). The SAP Community pages through their Tags and subsequent RSS-Feed can allow you to get regular updates such as “the latest Blogposts Tagged with SAP Community” (which can be accessed through this RSS-link). By adding these “RSS-Feeds-by-SAP-Community-Tags” along with other curated content in your RSS-enabled Channel, your curated Reading List will update itself …
So with some careful curation of content, you can (TRY TO) keep up with the latest updates in your Area ot Expertise …
Hope this helps
I use several learning hacks to trick myself to make some time during busy periods.
I love the "To-Learn" List next to ToDo Lists! Very good one.
Hi, I use learning cards, I have an App in which I create questions and answers and a review section. I have this app on my laptop, tablet and phone and it syncronize’s all the data and randomly selects cards for me to go over, any time anywhere. I have never found it so easly to learn something new… ? ? ?
My hack to learn something new...
My hack to stay up2date and explore new blogs...
just to check as i am unsure if this is serious: so you are really reading random wikipedia articles on the toilet? Although: we could perhaps create an own mission & badge for that....
I'm 100% serious about this. Most of the time you have the phone with you anyway and do senseless things with it while visiting the toilet. I bookmarked the random-URL and sometimes I get an absolutely uninteresting article and sometimes something absolutely exciting. Just try it out 🙂
If there should be an own badge: I'm looking forward to it 🙂
My "learn hack"?
1. Each morning as I have my coffee and am "waking up", I spend about an hour on other tech sites that are non-SAP related learning a new skill/topic/etc such.
2. At some point in the day, I take a break from SAP and will go do some "code exercises" on some other site such as FreeCodeCamp or the code challenge sites. These may take 10 minutes or an hour, but are a way to clear my head a bit and/or look at solving problems in a non-SAP way.
3. I stay involved in several, local "meet up" groups related to tech and coding. Most meet once a month. These allow me to see/hear how others are using tech in other ways/companies/etc as well as stay up on coming/new tech too.
In a nutshell, I spend enough time at "work" keeping up with SAP so I like to spend my "free" time keeping up with all tech outside the SAP world but still finding how it relates. Heck, this is how I learned all about "containers" (like Docker) as it was being mentioned in SAP. haha
We learn by teaching.
Write a blog (or a book***), post a video tutorial (make that a full playlist) and explain how xyz works. You will discover, as I have many times, that only in the process you discover how it actually works.
From Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca (who is Seneca?) | The letter reads “dum docent, discunt”, “men learn while they teach”.
I use a mix of everything already said, to be honest:
Of course, I cannot do all I want due the lack of time, but, even if i don't manage to achieve all the results, i find myself more "flexible" into digging in new stuff.
Troppo onore, Simone!
Each of us knows a small piece of the puzzle. It is with team work that the magic happens!
Grazie comunque 😉
Agree! It's always a matter of team works!
"Team work makes the dream work" hahaha
My learning hack is to maintain, a repository on the live project scenarios. Initially used to maintain the information local system based, HTML based format. Later on maintaining it became tough. I made an attempt, to move the entire set to confluence, which was partially a success. Now, I maintain, a plain word format, document with an index, with screen shots, maintained
Find the document, very useful, at a later point!
My Learning Hack is to take a course which are needed for my profession development in mooc platform (open.sap.com , HPI etc ) and complete the course when it is going live for weeks. When the course is live in mooc we get active forums where the course team and other peer learners answers our queries and most importantly there is deadline for assignments etc, which push me to complete the learning content and take the assignments to earn the course certificate which is free.
When we do courses at our own pace , sometime we would loose the motivation to complete it.
SAP Blogs and Developer Missions also a good way to get hands-on knowledge.
My favorite "Learning Hack" - Listen and Learn!
Using podcasts for learning is like having a radio show, audio book or lecture that I can listen on my own schedule or during the "dead time" like traveling to work. Recently, during a 2,5 hours flight, I've listened to podcasts from the SAP Education NewsCast. Listening to podcasts I've learned a lot of new thinks, collected new ideas for my daily work and ...the time passed quickly:-) Coming back to work I was able to go back to some topics where I'm interested in and to think about how to use them in my working area.
My recomandation: Whether you're road tripping, flying, or hanging around home, there are a number of great podcasts you can listen to and ...learn a lot of new thinks.
oh - thanks so much Carmen for the kudos for our podcast - that is very motivating 🙂
Below are some of my learning hacks,
Also I guess, this is highlighted in the below as well,
Thanks all of you who commented or who read the comments that far untill this one. This is a great list with many PoVs, Tips & Hacks. I will try to summarize this somehow via a sketchnote or similar and post it here.