How Cisco Drives Social Media Training with Gamification

How Cisco Drives Social Media Training with Gamification

cisco social media training

Cisco’s Unique Model for Social Media Training

This is an Op-Ed by Leslie Lau, Sr. Manager of  Global Social Media at Cisco

At Cisco, we use gamification across a number of key programs. One program where we have extensively incorporated gamification techniques is our Social Media Training Program.

During the past two years, the Global Social Media Team at Cisco has invested in our Social Media Training Program. This program offers a unique opportunity for employees and contractors at Cisco to build their social media skillset. And the opportunity to leverage the skills they learn is manifold. For example, sales account managers learn to use Twitter to reach their customers and human resources representatives learn to use LinkedIn to reach potential candidates. And, there are many other job roles that benefit through social media, such as marketing (of course!) and product development.

The skills related to social media are broad – there are a lot of social networks out there, and many ways to apply to social media in a business context! We have over 46 courses available as part of the program, such as Social Media Security and Privacy and Getting Social Media Buy-in. Having so many learning options can be overwhelming. Where should a learner start?

Progression Levels

This is where gamification comes in. The Social Media Training Program includes three levels of certification: Specialist, Strategist, and Master.

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Each level of certification requires players to show increasing levels of social media expertise. At the Specialist level, players are required to take 15 courses. At the Strategist level, players are required to take an additional 13 courses and author a blog post. And, at the Master level, players are required to 10 courses and create case study illustrating an integrated social media initiative or create a social media strategy.

In addition, there are also four sub-specializations available:

  • Social Media for HR

  • Social Media for Sales

  • Social Media for Executive Communication Managers

  • Social Media for Internal Partner Teams

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These specializations are useful for individuals in specific job functions to learn social media skills directly applicable to their work.


Bring Fun into the Mix with Team Challenges

In addition, the program incorporates team challenges where players can join together in small teams or participate as an entire organization to complete the certification. This is an effective way for individuals in an organization to grow new skills together. And players earn badges for completing team challenges.

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Firing up Motivation

Learning is often an intrinsically motivated activity. Individuals enjoy the challenge of learning new skills. And, learning new professional skills can help them advance in their careers. And, when you combine the intrinsic motivation with gamification techniques, this further encourages participation and engagement. The Social Media Training program and the use of gamification drive engagement through:

  • Exploration: Players have fun exploring social media topics. There are many courses available, and participants can learn about the different aspects of social media through the courses.

  • Progression Loops: With three levels of certification, four sub-specializations, and mid-way level accomplishments, players can progress through multiple levels of learning. Each class completed is a small challenge achieved. And, each level of certification is the larger challenge. The goal of the game is to get from Specialist to Master for the core learning track.

  • Teamwork: Humans are social animals. And, the team challenges allow players to collaborate and compete with each other. Working together as a team to achieve a goal can be fun.


Over 650 individuals have been certified with more than 13,000 courses taken. And, this number continues to grow every day.

We are still early in our gamification journey at Cisco. The Social Media Training Program is only one example of gamification at Cisco. And, the challenge for our team is to continue to build out new use cases for gamification to drive engagement.


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