Preparing for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam can be a daunting task for many people. However, Cisco Aspire is one of the newest games offered by Cisco Learning Network that can ease an exam taker’s worries. Cisco Aspire helps IT professionals prepare for their CCNA certification exam by focusing on networking fundamentals based on real-world examples of IT contracts in small to medium-size organizations . Users are brought into a virtual city with the premise that they have just started their network career. They are tasked with completing tasks while building relationships with virtual characters to develop both technical and networking skills.
The progressive level design of Cisco Aspire facilitates users progression to mastery. The tutorial introduces users to the interface and guides them in completing their first assignments. Upon accomplishing these early tasks, users are gradually tasked with more difficult assignments. By slowly increasing the level of difficulty and not overwhelm users, it empowers and motivates them to attain eventual mastery.
As users progress through the game, they will complete contracts and build relationships with clients and employers. When the user form relationships with these virtual characters, they will reward players by providing practice test questions for the users to practice. This unique reward system enables users to gain valuable information in the form of practice exam questions while highlighting the importance of developing networking skills.
While the virtual setting may provide an interactive learning experience, Aspire’s linear narrative and lack of helpful guidance in advance levels limit its full potential. The inclusion of a social interaction system between users such as BeatTheGMAT would boost the game effectiveness. Nonetheless, Cisco’s direction for providing its users with such learning tools is exemplary for other companies in the IT industry to follow.