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The Benefits of In-Person Learning in an Era of Online Education

by Jennifer Cofer and Bob Oldrati | SAPinsider

April 1, 2013

The incredible advancements in mobile and online technologies have changed the way many people approach education. However, as we explore in this article, there are still some key benefits to in-person learning and face-to-face events.

With tablets and smartphones, fast internet connections, and online forums, e-learning and online courses are taking off. However, while these education methods have their own benefits, there is one major downside: the absence of face-to-face interaction. The ability to interact, in person, with peers and experts provides value that no amount of technological advances can diminish.

To learn more about the value of in-person events, SAPinsider sat down with Jennifer Cofer and Bob Oldrati, members of the ASUG conference program committee and planners of ASUG Annual Conference.

Q: With so many options for business education, why is it still important for SAP customers to attend in-person events?

Oldrati: Live conferences, like ASUG Annual Conference and SAPPHIRE NOW,1 give attendees the chance to interact, face to face, with both peers and SAP experts. These events provide opportunities to connect and network with other customers to learn how they handled certain business challenges. The chance to connect with professionals in the SAP and customer ecosystem and the opportunity to access hands-on demonstrations provide a unique value.

Q: Is there any benefit to having an entire project team attend a conference?

Oldrati: While some companies might send one representative to a conference and have them bring back and share any lessons learned, there is great value in having an entire team attend a conference as well. Larger events like SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference provide many networking opportunities, in-depth sessions on a range of topics, and plenty of product demos. Having an entire team present means you can divide and conquer to collect as much knowledge as possible and share the collective insight after returning to the office.

Q: Speaking of SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference, what kinds of things can attendees look forward to this year?

Cofer: As always, these events will provide customer insights and best practices based on implementation experiences, as well as information about how to get the most out of an SAP investment. SAPPHIRE NOW also provides a glimpse of what SAP customers will need to plan for to innovate for the future.

Oldrati: ASUG Annual Conference content is selected by customers, for customers, so we always know what people want to learn. In addition, the success stories and the lessons learned provide great value to returning attendees since these stories are always new.

Cofer: We have knowledgeable ASUG program committee members who play a critical role in selecting the content most important to customers, ensuring attendees are learning what they need to make the best business decisions possible.


Jennifer Cofer
Group and Community
Facilitator, BI Special Interest Group; Product Quality Subject Matter Expert, SAP BusinessObjects Strategic Special Interest Group


Bob Oldrati
Chair, Small & Medium Enterprises Special Interest Group; Program Chair,
Wholesale Distribution Special Interest Group


1 To learn more about ASUG Annual Conference and SAPPHIRE NOW, visit [back]

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