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Digital Skill Development in Online Learning Communities: The Impact of Webinars, Videos, and Gamification

Introduction

The current situation poses enormous challenges for companies and society and further fuels the trend towards digitization and digital learning. Studies (Hoberg et al. 2017; Kirchherr et al. 2018) show that digitalization makes many simple tasks superfluous, but strongly increases the demand for digital skills – especially in the areas of Big Data Analytics, Digital Security and Internet of Things.

Against this background, SAP investigated to what extent the development of digital skills, such as skills for data scientists or SAP developers, can be supported by Online Learning Communities (OLC) on SAP’s digital learning platform for SAP professionals: SAP Learning Hub. Online Learning Communities on SAP Learning Hub combine informal learning with self-paced training, webinars, practical exercises and collaborative elements. Until today, Online Learning Communities on SAP Learning Hub have been joined by more than 350,000 learners with more than 30,000 monthly visitors. All Online Learning Communities on SAP Learning Hub are moderated by experienced SAP trainers and experts.

Effective Skill Development in Online Learning Communities on SAP Learning Hub

Overall, 83 Online Learning Communities were examined, and an online questionnaire was launched to investigate the question in detail. Participation was anonymous and voluntary. The results (figure 1) show that more than 70% of the respondents achieved their learning goals with Online Learning Communities. And nearly 80% stated that they were able to update their knowledge in Online Learning Communities. The previous knowledge proved to be an important moderator variable: Advanced and experts indicated that they benefited the most from Online Learning Communities.

 

Figure 1: Percentage of respondents who agreed to the statements a) “This Online Learning Community helped me to achieve my learning goals” and b) “This Online Learning Community helped me to keep my knowledge up to date”

 

Impact of Webinars, Videos and Gamification on Community Activities and Skill Development

In 54 of the 83 Online Learning Communities examined, webinars were offered, 38 featured additional learning videos, and 15 used gamification elements such as learning missions, badges and reputation points.

Figure 2 shows the effect of webinars, videos and gamification on community activities. In Online Learning Communities with weekly webinars more activities, such as comments, were observed. The same applied for videos and gamification. A one-way analysis of variance proved the statistical significance.

 

Figure 2: Boxplot diagrams for activities in Online Learning Communities with none or weekly webinars, none or many (more than 10) videos, not used or used gamification elements.

 

To measure the skill development, two survey questions with 5-point Likert scales were aggregated:

  • “This Online Learning Community helped me to achieve my learning goals”
  • “This Online Learning Community helped me to keep my knowledge up to date”

Figure 3 shows that webinars and videos also have a significant impact on skill development whereas gamification makes no difference. Skill development in Online Learning Communities with additional webinars and videos can be significantly increased.

Figure 3: Boxplot diagrams for skill development in Online Learning Communities with none or weekly webinars, none or many (more than 10) videos, not used or used gamification elements.

 

Summary

In our study, we examined digital skills development in Online Learning Communities on SAP Learning Hub. Online Learning Communities on SAP Learning Hub combine informal learning with self-paced learning, webinars, practical exercises and collaborative elements. All Online Learning Communities on SAP Learning Hub are moderated by experienced SAP trainers and experts.

Overall, 71% of all learners surveyed achieved their learning goals in our Online Learning Communities, and 79% stated, that they were also able to update their knowledge.

In order to examine the impact of webinars, videos, and gamification on community activities and skill development, additional analyses of variance were conducted. These analyzes provide impressive evidence that webinars and videos are crucial for skill development. As expected, gamification led to more community activities, but did not had an impact on the development of skills.

 

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