The New Cloud Academy Labs: Learn by doing

Update: We’ve been releasing some fantastic new content as part of Cloud Academy’s Hands-on Labs portfolio. Hands-on Labs are live cloud environments for your team to build and validate practical experience directly on Amazon Web Services, Microsft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Cloud Migration, and much more. Each Cloud Academy Lab takes place in a secure, sandboxed environment with no additional costs, no new accounts, and no test instances to clean up.

Hands-on Labs are one of the most interesting features of our platform. They are the pillar of the “Do” section of CloudAcademy, and they are meant to give you the opportunity to learn how to do real things on real cloud resources. Because the best way to learn something is to practice, isn’t it? And as a matter of fact, labs are a very appreciated feature by your members, and also the distinctive feature of our plan.

They are so appreciated that we got plenty of feedback from you with suggestions to improve our Labs and a lot of requests for new labs that you wish to see in place. We carefully read all of your messages, and our Labs Product Manager Antonio Angelino worked hard to improve the user experience of our Labs. He did a lot of changes under the hood to make the Labs engine more reliable and performing, and just a few days ago we released the brand new version of our system, together with a lot of new labs that I’m sure you will enjoy a lot.

The new CloudAcademy Hands-on Labs

The biggest news about the new Hands-on labs is that we now have two different types of labs: supervised and non-supervised.

Supervised labs are just like the good old labs you already heard about on this blog, or that you may be tried if you are a member of Cloud Academy. Each supervised lab is about a specific task to complete, like Create an EC2 instance on Linux or on Windows or Create a Load Balancer with ELB. Each lab is broken down into smaller tasks that you need to complete in a precise sequence to get your job done. Our Lab System will give you access to a set of real AWS resources that are provisioned for you and you only, and you will be asked to accomplish your operations on the AWS console, or on a convenient in-browser HTML5-based terminal if needed. The Lab Engine will track your progress and will bring you to the next step as soon as you get one completed, till the end of the lab. Even more, it will give you suggestions to go further if he notices that you are stuck at something.

The new Lab type we just deployed is the unsupervised one. With this new typology, you are still asked to accomplish steps in order to get something done, but you won’t be tracked by our Lab System, and you are on your own while playing around on the AWS console. You still have an AWS account and AWS resources provisioned just for you by the Lab Engine, but you won’t be closely followed like during the supervised labs’ experience, and you will have the responsibility of understanding if you got everything right before going to the next step.

I have to say that the new unsupervised labs are really interesting. I like how you are on your own while progressing along the lab, it forces you to be extra careful in what you are doing. You will need to self-assess your progress and you have full control of what’s going on. On the other side, supervised labs give you the pleasant feeling of being driven hand in hand toward your goal, and it’s reassuring to get informed that you are doing the right things. All in all, the combination of the two labs is a great way to learn cloud, and it’s just good that both are now available.

We will add many more labs in the next days and weeks. The changes that Antonio did under the hood will make it way more easy for us to create and release new labs, and in fact our content roadmap shows many labs planned by the end of this month already, and a lot more will be released on January. We are also working on creating labs for other platforms like Google and Azure. I think the new Cloud Academy Labs are a major step forward in our progress to create the best platform around to learn Cloud Computing and a great help for you team. Let us know your thoughts about this news, and feel free to drop us an email if you have suggestions or feedback for us: we are looking forward to hearing from you!

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