Last year, I had the opportunity to meet with Harvard Business School Associate Professor of Business Administration Mikolaj Jan Piskorski. Prof. Piskorski had heard about the Cisco Learning Network, and decided that he wanted to learn more about Cisco’s innovative use of social strategy and our collaborative approach to IT education that addresses the challenges and opportunities of the networked economy.

The Cisco Learning Network represents a fundamental shift in education strategy for Cisco and the technology industry as a whole. The site serves as a meeting place for social learning and is a community resource designed to help new students and new customers to get into the networking industry by reinforcing the skills and competencies it takes to achieve certification. The community also offers an unprecedented model for recruiting individuals to IT careers and filling skills gaps in key technology areas.

Prior to the introduction of the Cisco Learning Network, learning resources and communities for Cisco certification candidates were decentralized on the web. It was clear that this traditional web approach (Web 1.0) to presenting information about Cisco certifications was not adequate for training our employees, partners or customers. So our team began to look for new ways to communicate, through collaborative social networking tools including shared wikis, blogs, discussion boards and assessment-based learning tools to provide rich feedback. From this research, the first social learning community, the Cisco Learning Network, was born. Launched in 2008, the community today boasts more than 2 million users.

Based on our preliminary conversation, Prof. Piskorski decided to undertake the creation of a Harvard Business School Case Study about the Cisco Learning Network and Cisco’s social strategy. After meeting with everyone from our Cisco Learning Network site moderators to Rob Lloyd, Cisco President, Development and Sales, the Professor and his team created a case study that is now being taught in business school classes around the world.

It is an honor to have our innovative approach to talent development used as a teaching tool for future business leaders. We are excited about what the future of social learning will enable! Stay tuned for even bigger and better collaborative learning approaches as we continue to reinvent the Cisco Learning Network. We will add even more powerful capabilities that significantly enhance the ability for our customers to connect, share and mobilize their work and learning information.

The case study abstract is available here: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=46206

Additionally, Prof. Piskorski discusses our use of Social Learning with Forbes here:


Stay tuned for future updates to our certification and education program at: www.ciscolearningnetwork.com


Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn

Vice President and General Manager

Cisco Services