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openSAP MOOCs: 1 Million Enrollments and Counting

January 28, 2016 by Susan Galer 187

In three short years, openSAP enterprise MOOCs (massive open online courses) have not only reached 1 million enrollments, but are beating industry attrition norms with student completion rates up to 35 percent.

According to Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President of Scale, Enablement and Transformation at SAP, MOOC completion rates generally hover around four to seven percent. He attributes openSAP’s success to course quality and targeted usefulness.

“Most of our learners are working with SAP solutions as customers, consultants or developers. So they have a vested interest in learning about the latest product innovations, as well as important business topics related to digitization,” said Welz. “The content is very valuable to them, increasing their desire to complete the course and earn a Record of Achievement that has proven market value.”

Understanding Business and Technology

Over 290,000 people from 180 countries have signed up for openSAP courses. Unlike academic MOOCs that can be more focused on entry-level job seekers, many openSAP learners are building skills to move ahead in their current positions. Although initially focused on developing software skills for priority SAP products like SAP HANA, the openSAP MOOC platform has expanded to provide general business knowledge in important areas like sustainability and digital transformation.

Jarmo Tuominen, a Finland-based developer at Accenture, has completed 35 openSAP courses. He also values the business-related courses on SAP’s cloud-based solutions, including Introduction to Ariba and Run Simple HR with SuccessFactors Employee Central, noting “While I’m focused on technology, having a business perspective helps me get a better feel for the business processes driving development decisions.”

Pathway to Career Success

Participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about the courses, which are built specifically for the online platform. Learners can download materials like videos, slides, and full course transcriptions. Instructional video demonstrations, hands-on software simulations, real-time discussion forums and peer assessments make knowledge easily accessible to people with a wide range of capabilities. Just as valuable are continual course updates in sync with innovations like SAP S/4HANA.

Ravi Krishna, who works in accounting and finance at Dubai-based Damac Properties, has found openSAP’s courses on cloud computing, business intelligence, analytics and enterprise resource planning (ERP) directly applicable to his daily responsibilities and career goals.

“I am not a technical person,” he said. “But in today’s world if you want to survive it is essential to understand technology innovations. The openSAP courses have helped me to understand the fundamentals of cloud computing and ERP. S/4HANA Use Cases helped me learn about efficiency effectiveness and agility applied to inventory, procurement and contract management. These courses have given me confidence to apply for jobs at SAP.”

Designed to Engage

One of the biggest misconceptions about MOOCs is that they can’t engage students in the same way as in-person classrooms. Tuominen’s experience contradicts this assumption.

“I have found openSAP courses to be quite engaging. Having weekly assignments with a final exam keeps me on track to meet course commitments,” he said. “I watch and listen to lectures using my smartphone and headset during my subway commute. The high quality of the materials overcomes the noise around me.”

Rajan Srinivasan, an SAP FICO Functional Consultant at Promantus in the United States, has aligned his personal training road map to openSAP’s course schedule. He appreciates the ability to learn at his convenience.

“I can plan my training using your step-by-step course releases,” he said. “While I always aim for a Record of Achievement, if I can’t meet the course deadlines, I can receive a Confirmation of Participation, and revisit the course later to earn a Record of Achievement.”

Speeding up Innovation

openSAP MOOCs are also becoming a faster way for developers to learn how to build applications on top of software like SAP Fiori user experience software. Fernanda Najah Maia, an SAP Business One programmer in Brazil, shared positive feedback after completing Build Your Own Fiori App in the Cloud last year.

“When my boss asked me to learn Fiori I thought it would be difficult because that’s what I’ve experienced when learning other SAP solutions in the past. But openSAP is so awesome. It’s exactly what we need to make programming easy and reduce customization costs.”

Lessons Learned for 2016

openSAP courses constantly evolve in response to participant feedback and experiences. For example, course transcriptions as well as subtitles on videos are now offered because participants with hearing difficulties and non-native speakers had requested them. Innovations this year include courses on corporate social responsibility topics like teaching refugees how to speak German, as well as supply chain management, Concur, and SAP Fieldglass.

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