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Get Your Learning Game On: Gamification of Education

February 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm PST

I ran across this great infographic regarding the potential for gamification to have a truly meaningful impact on education. Some key stats that stuck out for me:

  • 1.2 million fail to graduate high school each year
  • 3B hours are spent on playing video and computer games

Gamification of Education

Of course gamification isn’t the end all, be all solution for upping the students investment in their education. I read a great post about 3 Reasons NOT to Gamify Education and the quote that stuck out for me was:

“I don’t think just because you offer an award, like a badge, it will motivate students intrinsically or help them at all. But, tying it into your classroom to make the overall experience fun, meaningful and a challenge can help.”

I think this is a key point that anyone considering gamification of their product/training/event/etc. should consider. Basically slapping on a gamified approach won’t make it successful. Serious thought should be applied to what it is you are most wanting your demographic to think/know/feel/do and when appropriate a gamification tactic can be deployed to motivate your demographic accordingly.

Jesse Schell breaks down how gamification and games can make a significant impact on education. About 14 mins in he talks about one of my favorite example Quest to Learn, which I have blogged about previously, and another example I recently became aware of called Khan Academy.

So what are some examples of good vs. bad gamification for education? Surprisingly I found my good and bad examples, of course this is in my opinion only, from the same company. Read More »

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Meet Our SMEs: Muzhi Yu

February 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm PST

Meet Muzhi: Early Adopter of Social Media in Greater China

A Client Services Manager based in Shanghai, China, Muzhi is one of the earliest proponents of social media in his country. He became a member of the Cisco Greater China Social Ambassador Program (a company-wide initiative with the goal of increasing the breadth and depth of SME engagement with social media) shortly after it was launched in November 2011. Thereafter, Muzhi joined Sina Weibo (China’s most widely used micro-blogging site akin to a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook) and created a personal Sina blog which he uses for discussions and educating others about technology.

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Meet Our SMEs: Janel Kratky

February 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm PST

“Meet Our SMEs” is a new blog series designed to acquaint you with some of our behind-the-scenes Cisco SMEs (subject matter experts) who have gone above and beyond to integrate social media into their day job. In addition to introducing you to their background and areas of expertise, we have highlighted some of their social media achievements and best practices. We hope you find these SMEs’ stories interesting and possibly even applicable to enhancing your own social media practice.

Meet Janel:  A Cisco DocWiki Expert

A Project Manager noted as a social champion for her remarkable participation on Cisco DocWiki, Janel is an expert within the realm of collaboration and social media for the Knowledge Management & Delivery team. In particular, she aims her focus on empowering customers by delivering relevant content on a timely basis while maintaining meaningful two-way conversations with them on numerous social channels.

Janel’s Leadership on Cisco DocWiki and Other Social Media

Read More »

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More potent experiences come from ‘reductive’ design

Sometimes, to create a high-quality experience, a product just needs some time to simmer.

Soups, sauces, and consommé are the result of boiling down to an intensely flavorful product and technology can benefit from a similar process of distillation.

The reductive process in cooking derives a more concentrated mixture with less volume than before the boiling but with a much greater quality. With frequent stirring, the impurities are brought to the surface and removed, leaving a more concentrated, and potent, product.

We’ve done some simmering, stirring and reduction of the support site recently. Ten links were removed from every overlay on the support home page in January.

That’s a reduction of about 150 links from one of the most frequently viewed pages on Cisco.com, and yet the change went unnoticed.

The links we removed were for the top 5 documents and top 5 downloads in each product category. Our user testing suggested they might be valuable, so we added them when we launched the redesign in July.

As we monitored the site metrics, those links accounted for less than 2% of all clicks on the overlays.

So we got rid of them.

This distillation process applies to websites as well as almost any technology product. A feature-set refined to its essence can provide a richly concentrated experience.

But most products, websites and mobile apps keep adding new features, content and capabilities regardless of whether people are using them. Too many product teams either loathe or are apathetic to remove features.

Nonetheless, reductive design is becoming more critical as web tools and content migrate to mobile devices where there are more constraints and restrictions.

For example, the smaller screen-size forces designers to make some tough choices.

CNET has an article about the latest release of Bump Technologies’ Bump app that talks about how the team actually removed functionality that wasn’t adding value and simplified and focused the app. This definitely runs counter to the routine “add more features in every release” approach, so prevalent in software industry.

It’s a great example of monitoring app usage metrics and changing the app based on what users are actually doing.

Like any ingredient, a new feature can seem like a good idea in isolation. However, when added to a delicately complex stew of other features and content, it can get lost in the mix, or dilute or otherwise weaken the balance of the concoction.

In this regard, designers are a bit like a chef who knows that too much of anything can be just as damaging as too little.

More Kudos for Cisco.com Global

February 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm PST

Cisco.com was just once again rated in the upper stratosphere of global web sites – just behind Google and Facebook. In the respected ByteLevel Research Web Globalization Score Card for 2012, Cisco.com grabs a very nice #3 ranking among 250 web sites for global corporations.  Cisco has consistently held this #3 position overall since 2007.

Also exciting for our global team, Cisco is specifically called out as a regular of the top globalization list: “Companies like Cisco, 3M, and Samsung have become regular faces in the top 10.

It takes an incredible amount of energy to design and regularly update our major 85 regional sites, and our Cisco.com Global Team works literally around the clock to keep things humming  (I know that for sure because I am always invited to attend their midnight and 6 AM meetings!)

You can read a little more about the 2011 Web Globalization Score Card at ByteLevel Research’s web site.

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