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Superheroes of the Cloud Part Two: Be in Touch with your Customers

In my journeys of talking to IT organizations I come across individuals who really stand out in their drive and passion to transform their organization and achieve a pragmatic cloud for their stakeholders.  This is the second in a series of Blogs on the Superheroes of the Cloud.  What makes these individuals and their organizations special is that they distinguish their organizations by having a unique angle to their Journey to the Cloud.   I won’t spell out the exact formula but I will offer some tidbits on why I am impressed by these superheroes.

The move to the cloud and the force of that current has surprised analyst, vendor, and customer alike.  We at Cisco believe in a strong Partner Ecosystem to support our customers in their journey.  Four years ago we had probably a dozen experts in Intelligent Automation Software on the planet.  Today that number probably exceeds 200 and will be soon be above 1000.    We are actively training and enhancing expertise at our IA for Cloud partners so that they can help their clients leverage the value of our cloud stack.

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Creating a Social Media Training Program that Works

It’s daunting, exhilarating, and a lot of hard work, all rolled into one…that’s the day in the life of social media! Each day is different as this social communication channel continues to evolve and grow. So how do organizations keep their best brand ambassadors (aka their executives, employees, contractors, vendors, partners, and customers) up-to-speed with social media?

While it’s really a mix of components, including policies and guidelines, communication, and clear strategies, training is a key component. There are a variety of social media webinars, chats, workshops, and other learning resources out there, but often times, a more robust training program is needed to educate new users and enable those with an existing skill set.

With a collaborative effort, a common goal, and a set of focused training courses, organizations can empower these ambassadors to use social media effectively, build their own reputations, and bolster the brand. Internally our Corporate Social Media Marketing team has been working hard to build a robust training program for employees, contractors, executives, partners, and customers. Below is a summary of highlights from this expanded program, tips to creating a similar initiative, and an opportunity to participate in the upcoming @ciscosocial #smtraining Twitter chat on August 2, 2012 at 9am PDT. (Please note new date.)

Cisco Social Media Training Snapshot

After assessing internal company training needs around social media and existing resources, we looked for ways to expand learning, developing the following model and implementing it this past May.

Cisco's Corporate Social Media Marketing Training Program Snapshot

Courses are offered across Cisco both in live and on-demand session formats to accommodate different regions on an ongoing basis. And in the true spirit of collaboration, we work with Cisco subject matter experts (SMEs), global social media peers, fellow team members, and even a few guest speakers. Not only does this approach create a stronger shared investment across the company, but it also enables those interested in stretch goals, the opportunity to participate in a larger role. Lastly, the program includes special incentives including three levels of certification and gaming badges to earn along the way.

Since we launched the first course on May 29, 2012, we have seen a huge interest in the training programs with over 550 participants, with many on their way to the first level of social media certification! As the word gets out internally to more and more teams, we are seeing larger registration and participation across organizations such as engineering, support, marketing, sales, and several others.

Currently, we are also offering a smaller partner-focused set of training sessions. And at the end of this summer, we will launch the executive-focused track of this program, followed by customer training opportunities in 2013.

Tips to Create a Training Program

Creating a training program like the one described above takes resources, time, determination, and support. Here are some tips to developing this type of training program:

  1. Get to know the audience, internal and external.
  2. Assess the current training resources available to these audiences.
  3. Outline gaps in courses, materials, and other types of resources.
  4. Create a social media training strategy and get management buy-in.
  5. Look for ways to leverage existing resources, internal team member expertise, and external contacts.
  6. Build content that resonates with audiences, sharing a mix of best practices, techniques, and examples.
  7. Tie into the organization’s overall training programs and systems.
  8. Start out slow, evaluate course feedback and ratings, and build out program accordingly.
  9. Identify opportunities to gamify the program to further incent participants.
  10. Recognize those that reach milestones and acknowledge participant feedback and needs.

Over the course of the next several months, we will share more program details and best practices.

In the meantime, let’s meet up virtually for a @ciscosocial Twitter chat to learn more from each other regarding social media training and how different organizations are developing this type of education. Join us on August 2 at 9am PDT, following #smtraining, directly on Twitter or another Twitter application. (Please note new date.)

What questions are top-of-mind for you regarding social media training? Share your feedback with us using the comment section below and we’ll incorporate your questions into this special Twitter chat.

This post was developed in collaboration with Petra Neiger (@petra1400).

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Attending High School, Virtually, Online

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

A while back, I asked what the future of higher education might look like with the advent of distance learning. Even in just the last couple years, online education in higher-ed has grown enormously. A recent study by the Sloan Consortium reported that more than 6 million U.S. students (nearly a third of all students in college) took at least one online course in 2006, an increase of more than half a million students over the previous year.

It’s not surprising that forward-looking institutions of higher learning have been quick to embrace the potential of online coursework. What I never anticipated (although certainly others did) was how quickly online education would take hold in primary and secondary (K through 12) schools as well.

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Is Video Training Better Than Being There?

Videocast featuring  Dr. Susan Holliday, Executive Director, Technology & Information Services, Capistrano Unified School District.

  Is Video Training Better Than Being There?

  Date: June 19, 2012

  Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am Pacific

  Register Now

 

 

Enterprise video content solutions help you use video in new ways, from organizational communications to training and live events. In particular, training is an ideal use case for video—participants in a live training can go back and review the material at a time and place that’s convenient for them.

 Join Cisco and Dr. Susan Holliday, Executive Director, Technology & Information Services, Capistrano Unified School District, for a videocast on June 19, 2012, 10:00 am Pacific, to hear how they are using video for professional development. Serving 53,000 students in grades pre-K–12, Capistrano Unified School District (Capistrano USD) has 56 campuses spread over 195 square miles in Orange County, California.

Dr. Holliday will cover how the district first put the Cisco video content solution to work capturing and sharing professional development sessions on defining effective instruction and student engagement, for district principals and their site leadership teams. 

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Gamifying Training of All Types

May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am PST

Gamification to drive engagement for events, K-12 and higher education, wellness, and employee outreach has been discussed on this blog before and this post will focus on demographic/topic specific training.

Pew Internet recently published a report entitled, The Future Of Gamification, in which over 1k experts were interviewed with some university researchers indicating that gamification principals could actually improve creativity, learning, participation and motivation. So no surprise that K-12 and higher education has been an early adopter in trying out gamification tactics on programs. In the last month there has been a lot of buzz about gamification opportunities for training on more niche content areas for specific demographics. Let’s dive into some examples.

Financial Education

According to a recent press release, “Wall Street Survivor‘s online financial education platform offers a series of engaging, rewarding “missions” that guide users through a range of stock market concepts, from portfolio basics to investment strategies. The platform is geared toward millenials who consider themselves novice investors. Today, 30 percent of millenials turn to social media for information on the economy and investing strategies.”

The program incorporates a number of gamification techniques including badges and virtual as well as real world rewards. Learn more about the program via the video below.

Executive Training

Another recent press release explores the idea of gamification for executive training. Read More »

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