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Organizations today face a multitude of challenges when it comes to employee learning. The chief learning officer (CLO) is often called to justify investments in learning software systems. Some organizations deploy formal and digitized learning but do not reap the returns, because employees today do not learn or operate solely via traditional methods. Others experiment with social systems but fail because it is not business-driven. Finally, a few bravely customize integrations at their own peril, often ending up with complex, one-off, and non-scalable monstrosities with high total costs of ownership.

SAP recognizes the conundrum. We have taken two successful market-leading applications, SAP Jam Collaboration, a social collaboration platform, and SAP SuccessFactors Learning, a powerful learning/tracking system, and integrated them to deliver a seamless, secured, and modern solution. It is highly configurable, highly scalable, and 100% subscription/cloud-based. It also fulfills all the industry’s promises of collaborative learning.

Let’s examine how the features and technology behind this solution support companies and learning departments:

Work patterns make good things repeatable

At the heart of SAP Jam is the concept of a work pattern, which is a repeatable business process that encapsulates experts, content, processes, tools, and data. SAP Jam offers several work patterns for learning processes. In one specific flow, when a course administrator publishes new learning content in SAP SuccessFactors Learning, it triggers a new virtual training room in SAP Jam. The training room allows instructors, moderators, subject matter experts, mentors, and learners to gather privately and exchange ideas, hold Q&As, and engage in discussions that are focused around one particular learning item (typically a course).   Whenever learners help one another, direct trainer costs are reduced.

What makes work patterns unique is that when success is proven in one instance, it can be replicated easily in other instances.  If something is not quite right in one attempt, customers will immediately reconfigure and tweak the system. They can “find their own work pattern” to meet unique organizational and situational needs. 

Customers, working alone or with a systems integrator, can stretch their IT dollars by extending work patterns beyond the prebuilt classes and courses. They are free to develop use cases around programs, curricula, catalogs, and learning plans, using open technologies such as OpenData protocol application programming interface (OData API), HTML5, and standard javascript.

No learner left behind

At the center of a work pattern is the learner. Here, anyone who is assigned or enrolled in a course is invited to a training room. This invitation process is entirely automated right out of the box, which means less maintenance for the learning administrator. When learners join a group, they get more than a mere digital representation of classroom instruction. They are encouraged to participate with local and remote learners, before, during, and after the actual training event itself. Training becomes a continuous, peer-to-peer, and career-long process.

Learners who took this class might wish to consider …

Course instructors and content developers can highlight courses from the SAP SuccessFactors Learning catalog in SAP Jam. They can reframe and drive attention to select items via “featuring”. This powerful concept lets them promote training courses where they count the most, inside relevant groups, and on everyone’s home page in SAP Jam. Learners discover courses that they may not have been aware of, and are potentially missing out on useful learning opportunities. SAP Jam changes how learning works ––socially.

The process is simple. There is a one-time configuration using a drag-and-drop page designer interface, along with content widgets, and with absolutely no involvement from a customer’s IT department. Once set up, the promotional page runs everywhere, on the Web or on a mobile device.

When students see something interesting, they instinctively ask questions in SAP Jam. Past participants provide valuable insights on instructor experience, suitability of content, and skills applied. Enabling a social Q&A around each training item ensures employees’ expectations are better met, and they are happier with the outcomes. Essentially, they get to “try before they buy.”

Federated searching improves discoverability

Another effective way to promote content is search. SAP Jam offers a powerful search engine that instantaneously searches across one’s entire accessible catalog for both formal and informal content. Looking for a course on leadership? The system will show you all course offerings plus content within SAP Jam: documents, wikis, blogs, commentary, and ratings from other learners on the topic of leadership. The real benefit here is making an informed decision to enroll based on relevant search results.  The more relevant the training, the faster one becomes productive at their job.

Behind every great course is a great instructor 

With SAP Jam, course developers, curriculum administrators, and instructors can gather in a private, staging space, such as a private group or a subgroup, where they collaboratively develop and refine learning materials. They leverage collaborative reviewing, commenting, annotations, and templates, to help craft and update student guides, exercises, quizzes, and exams.  They take into account the feedback from students, both past and present, as well as from subject matter experts in the community. When ready, the content is published and syndicated to multiple training rooms via mirroring. Subsequent updates are made to one master version and changes are automatically propagated to all mirrors, thus reducing distribution costs to zero.

Transformational learning is here. It is the predominant and preferred way by which employees learn today. SAP Jam with SAP SuccessFactors Learning offers the best solution for all learning programs.  It is the go-to solution for organizations that want results which matter: reduced learning costs, increased employee engagement, and faster time to productivity.

For more insights, see Sameer Patel’s blog: Make Learning Continuous with SAP SuccessFactors.