Cisco Systems has added several new features to its popular and helpful CCNA Prep Center Internet portal lately, including a bundle of learning games, practice questions for certification exams and advice from experts on a variety of topics. These new offerings have helped drive registration for the Web site past the 50,000 mark, company officials report.
The company very recently announced the launch of its learning games suite for the CCNA Prep Center. This collection includes Rockin’ Retailer, which deals with Internet protocol (IP) communication solutions and associated issues like communication, inventory and customer service; Network Defenders, which focuses on comprehension of networking, types of attacks and security techniques; SAN Rover, which involves building a storage area network (SAN) in a Rover on Mars; and a word search that covers terminology used in Cisco certifications programs. There also are plans to add wireless networking game—set in outer space—to this group sometime in the future.
“All of the three original games, plus the fourth game, all basically have the same idea behind them,” said Don Field, senior manager of certification at Cisco Systems. “There were really two things we were looking to do: to have some fun diversions that would attract people to our site, and also to provide an engaging way that folks could gain some exposure to the concepts, technology and terminology involved in various areas of advanced technology at Cisco.”
Although these games are not an appropriate resource for certification candidates preparing for a particular exam, it is an effective introduction for novices looking to break into a particular niche. “Our certifications are very much about breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding of particular areas, so in that way, I certainly would not say the games are designed to provide that level of breadth and depth,” Field said. “However, we do offer several certifications in each of these areas. What the games do allow us to do is expose individuals who may not have been familiar with the technologies in an area they didn’t start with, to an area that might be of interest for them to pursue from a training and certification perspective. It certainly could provide an opening or introduction to someone to an area in which we offer robust certifications.
“I think they say things about the way that people learn,” he said. “The notion that people can learn when they’re doing something fun and don’t even necessarily recognize that they’re learning is powerful. It’s something we recognize is a match with the learning style of many of the individuals that we encounter in technical learning. It is a technique among several that we think is valuable and useful to individuals who are Cisco certified or thinking about Cisco certification.”
“Audience tests that have come back to us anecdotally or through qualitative or quantitative research suggest that the technical audience that pursues certifications leans towards games as a way of getting familiarized with concepts,” added Nader Nanjiani, marketing programs manager in Cisco’s Internet Learning Solutions Group. “That is a good sign for an organization thinking about innovative ways of teaching audiences, especially technical audiences.”
The games, which also can be found on the Cisco certified community Web site, are available for anyone who registers for a free login to Cisco.com.
For more information, see http://www.cisco.com/go/prepcenter.