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What’s New with Cloud Academy Hands-on Labs

Cloud Academy’s Hands-On Labs are an integral part of our platform. Learning by doing is the fastest way a professional can help their organization close its technical skill gaps. Labs develop your skills first-hand by working through problems in real cloud environments on platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Each Lab provides a comprehensive learning experience and includes access to an environment, instructions, and guided explanations. You can complete each Lab at your own pace to facilitate knowledge retention and enable experimentation.  As our library of Labs continues to grow, we remain committed to updating Labs to ensure you can succeed and are learning what’s current. 

Cloud Academy Labs complement the other core types of content we offer in Courses, Quizzes, and Exams, which combined, offer a structure in the form of Learning Paths. Earlier this year, we announced Custom Hands-on Labs and now our enterprise customers are adapting existing Labs and creating entirely new ones to suit their training needs using Content Engine:

Content Engine Labs

At Cloud Academy, we are always listening to what our customers are saying and working to provide the best technology training experiences. The rest of this blog highlights some of the recent features we’ve released related to Labs to provide those best-in-class training experiences.

Validation for Hands-On Labs

With Cloud Academy Hands-on Labs, you could always follow the instructions in the guided Lab experience to achieve its objectives. But maybe you’re also interested in challenging yourself and trying to complete a Lab without entirely depending on the instructions. Or maybe your manager wanted to increase their confidence in your Cloud Academy Skill Profile by evaluating your performance in Labs. We’ve heard your feedback and delivered validation for Hands-On Labs in November 2018 to satisfy these and other requests.

The last step of each Lab is now a validation step like the one you see below, allowing you to evaluate your performance in the Lab.

Validation Step

These checks assess the work you did in the Lab to show that you achieved the Lab objectives. Furthermore, it also gives your manager the same confidence when they review your Training Plan progress. See how it all works for yourself in any one of the following samples of Hands-On Labs with validation:

Introduction to IAM
Introduction to IAM

Introduction to IAM

 

Deploying And Monitoring Azure App Service Web Apps

Deploying And Monitoring Azure App Service Web Apps

 

Securing your VPC using Public and Private Subnets

Securing your VPC using Public and Private Subnets

We will continue to add more checks to Labs to accurately validate the work that is being done. This new technology available through validation also gives us the opportunity to deliver new kinds of Labs. To prove your skills through performance-based assessment, you can attempt to complete exam-style Labs that provide only limited instructions. You will be briefed on the Lab scenario and left to your own devices to complete it. We put together a sneak preview for you. Try your best to make all of the Lab checks pass while the clock is ticking. Give the following Lab a shot to see how it works for yourself:

Code Red: Repair an AWS Environment with a Linux Bastion Host

Code Red: Repair an AWS Environment with a Linux Bastion Host

In this Lab, you will put your AWS networking and security troubleshooting skills to the test while you recover connectivity to a mission-critical production application. Watch for more performance-based, exam-style Labs in our Library to complement our conventional quiz and exam assessments.

Skill Profile Integration

In addition to regular progress tracking to track your accomplishments in Cloud Academy, Hands-On Lab Assessments also integrate with your Skill Profile:

Skill Profiles

Skill Profiles adaptively measure your skills across a wide variety of categories ranging from overarching cloud skills to specific cloud provider services, software, and tools. Previously, the platform used your performance on Quizzes and Exams to build your individual Skill Profile. A more robust Skill Profile is now possible with the addition of validation for Hands-On Labs. Managers can now better understand where their teams stand based on real-world abilities.

Byte Sessions

Another way that we are working to deliver the most to you from Labs is combining them with Courses. Byte Sessions give you the best of both worlds in bite-sized chunks: Course videos to learn from and a Lab environment to follow along first-hand while you watch.

This approach encourages you to try out the things you are learning more frequently and meaningfully. Each Byte Session Lab includes optional challenges to help you take your skills to the next level. You can customize your experience based on how much time you have. For example, you could use a Byte Session to learn the basics of working with Linux at the command line in just 20 minutes. Or instead, you could complete all of the optional challenges and still have time to experiment with your newfound knowledge using the full 2 hours:Byte Sessions

More to Come

There is much more to come from Cloud Academy Labs. Keep sending us your feedback to help us prioritize what to deliver next. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn and subscribe to our blog to get the latest on our Hands-on Labs and more.

Written by

Logan Rakai

Logan has been involved in software development and research for over ten years, including four years in the cloud. At Cloud Academy, he is adding to the library of hands-on labs.

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