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When I wrote my first blog introducing openSAP MOOCs to the world five years ago, none of us had an inkling of how this experiment would turn out. Then thousands of course registrations poured in almost immediately, leaving no doubt that this online learning platform was much more than a passing fad. Now openSAP deservedly boasts 98 percent satisfaction levels among attendees who total over 630,000 with 2.5 million course enrollments.

“Learner satisfaction is spectacular, almost unbelievably high,” said Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President, Solution and Knowledge Packaging at SAP. “At the time, some thought we were chasing hype. Five years later, we’ve established openSAP as our community learner network, enabling an expanding ecosystem to keep up with our open innovation strategy.”

Knowledge when you need it most

Yuksel Akcinar, a technology consultant at Istanbul-based CoretoEdge, agreed that MOOCS are flawlessly fit for rapidly changing markets. At CoretoEdge, he installs SAP software, and provides integration and maintenance services. The knowledge he’s gained from attending over a dozen MOOCs has been instrumental in helping him meet the needs of customers across Europe.

“We can help customers better plan their future because we have a greater understanding of what’s possible,” said Akcinar. “For example, I used what I learned in the SAP HANA MOOCs during onsite customer installations. I recommended customers take these courses too, so they can see what the architecture and orchestration looked like and how it can assist them.”

Not just for IT

Stella Chibundu, a U.S.-based entrepreneur, relies on openSAP courses for a combination of inspiration and IT know-how. They’ve helped her stay updated on the latest technologies and business trends, and she sees value whether someone is just beginning their career, rejoining the workforce or looking for new opportunities. Reasoning that the internet permeates everyone’s lives daily, Chibundu saw equal relevance of the classes for IT and non-IT professionals.

“I’ve come out of every openSAP class with important knowledge and experiences, directly related to either my IT background, my current position as a business owner or future pursuits,” she said. “I took the Women: Build Outrageously Successful Businesses from Scratch course, which applies to anyone who wants to own their own business. One of the analytics classes exposed me to how social apps use our data to sell us other products. I want to learn about the innovations in SAP Leonardo, and plan to take that course.”

How to be an inventor

Chibundu found some courses were extremely valuable for anyone developing products or creating a marketing strategy. Exchanging ideas during online discussion forums with other participants helped her understand how to apply design concepts to any invention.

“You get an idea of how people’s minds work. The Software Design for Non-Designers course taught me a lot about software design, but the assignment also gave me a framework to rethink a product, in my case, a toilet bowl brush,” she said. “Collaborating with other people in the course helped us think outside the box, and apply software design principles into a daily tool. You think both as an inventor and a consumer.”

Chibundu found the hands-on class assignments and peer reviews equally valuable. “When you had to perform the activities – set up systems, add your data, conduct the processes – you put your knowledge into practice, and retain much more of what you’ve learned,” she said.

A formula for success

Welz said the company relied on continuous feedback from participants like Chibundu and Akcinar to stay abreast of their learning needs. One example was reopening courses for attendees who wanted to take the final exam but missed the original closing date.  Welz is blown away by the sheer scale of the platform’s reach.

“The topic and format has huge appeal to many kinds of professionals who appreciate the short but concise four-week course structure in manageable chunks they can fit into their busy lives. The content is easily accessible offline at their convenience, and we make sure the quality never fails,” he said.

Indeed, Akcinar cited access to SAP experts among the top reasons he values openSAP MOOCs. He particularly appreciated the video demonstrations and access to technology.

“There is no better way to learn about configuring and applying these new technologies than by watching SAP experts do it first-hand and then doing it myself,” said Akcinar. “It’s so much faster than reading a document, instantly showing me how the software works and what it can do for our customers.”

Akcinar also found that taking the weekly quizzes reinforced what he’d learned, while the record of achievement was important for inclusion on his CV.

Celebrating a milestone with new features

The openSAP platform just rolled out a slew of new capabilities including subtitles in German, Spanish and French languages powered by SAP Leonardo machine learning. New digital badges will help learners share their achievements more easily. Recognizing that learners are increasingly on the go, the platform is also releasing a native iOS app so people can watch course content on their iPad or iPhone, and now supports MP3 files for downloading videos and slides. In addition, for the first time this year, developers can prep for their SAP HANA certification exam using openSAP courses.

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This blog was originally posted on the SAP News Center
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