Virtual IT Labs offer students an immersive, interactive, hands-on experience. The concept of virtual IT labs, also known as cloud labs, revolves around creating a testbed allowing professionals, students, and learners of all ages to experiment with cloud architectures. A cloud lab is built for executing and running experiments that will lead to new capabilities. Another result of using a cloud hands-on lab is developing a deeper understanding of cloud computing. A virtual lab is an interactive, digitized simulation of activities that traditionally take place in a physical laboratory environment. In the case of IT virtual labs, traditional methods of software training required students to sit in a physical classroom, listen to an instructor and consume massive amounts of information within a limited, set time period.
Traditional software labs are time-consuming, expensive, and complicated to manage and maintain. Another area for improvement of instructor-led in-person software training is it does not allow for the need for many IT students to learn by doing. Technical learning is complex, and retaining information through the spoken or written word is not an effective way to fully understand how something works. Through a virtual lab experience, learners can participate in the lab through real-world scenarios and engage in scalable, fast, personalized training from anywhere in the world.
Cloud labs are guided experiences that allow students to learn by doing in a live cloud environment. In cloud labs, the freedom to experiment enhances learning and expedites a student’s problem-solving ability and adaptation without getting stuck. There are many free virtual IT labs available. Virtual training platforms like cloud labs are gaining popularity in the tech industry, serving many purposes, from employee training to customer support. A cloud virtual lab offers a direct, interactive connection to the training environment. In addition, cloud labs can be accessed from any internet-connected device, making them easily accessible by a large number of people who otherwise would not have access to training. Using a virtual lab for employee or customer training still allows for a live instructor. Through desktop sharing, an instructor can monitor and assist learners as needed throughout the training process. Hands-on learning with a live instructor available provides a higher retention rate leading to employee and customer satisfaction.
Cloud labs are integral to business, particularly in the B2B SaaS market. Companies need to offer ongoing training for teams, customers, and partners. Onsite, in-person instruction using physical labs or classrooms is no longer viable. Cloud labs cover all the bases by providing flexible and easy-to-use environments, empowering companies to create training environments, demos, and proof-of-concepts (POCs) quickly and efficiently. Companies can use virtual IT labs for many reasons, such as new hire onboarding, product training, skills development, code testing, lead generation, sales, and post-sales training. Virtual labs are more cost-effective for businesses due to eliminating the need for travel by trainers for employees. Also, a cloud IT lab eliminates the need to set up and maintain a training lab.
Self-Paced Cloud Labs
The tech world is in constant motion. The introduction of new innovations presents challenges for existing solutions. Needs change as technology changes, which bleeds how IT professionals learn. Remote self-paced training and labs help meet the needs presented by constantly changing technology and those who must understand, implement, design, and use it every day. Self-paced labs offer many benefits. The most obvious is that learners can work at their own pace. Eliminating a schedule dictating start and finish times for modules relieves the stress and pressure that comes with timed learning models. With the leeway to learn at their own pace, if one student takes longer than another, it’s ok. Relieving the stress of timed learning environments encourages students to fully grasp concepts and develop skills before moving on to the next module.
What is a self-paced lab? Self-paced labs take place in a hands-on, online learning environment. Within the virtual learning lab, students find a set of instructions to use as a guide. The instructions allow student-led learning to take using live, real-world, and scenario-based use cases. Virtual IT labs are excellent options for remote learning because they can be accessed from any internet-connected device through a standard browser. The purpose of a self-paced lab is to provide students with guided, interactive exercises available to work at their own pace to help develop cloud computing skills. Students in self-paced learning environments are responsible for their time management, including deadlines and learning schedules, while managing their regular schedules. Virtual learning takes place anytime, anywhere but often requires the learner to find time in addition to any other work responsibilities and deadlines that must be met. For students that are not adept at time management or self-discipline, choosing an instructor-led course or training may be a better option. Interactive learning is vital in IT professions. Self-paced cloud labs are critical for advanced IT professionals to gain an understanding of, interact with, and practice cloud computing skills before applying them in live environments in real-time.
Self-paced labs offer many benefits but may be different choices for some. For example, a self-paced lab is typically split into modules with guided instructions and challenges to complete. Modules are meant to be completed sequentially without jumping around. Sequential models are designed to avoid missed steps, concepts, or skills to take a student to more advanced levels step-by-step, thus strengthening their overall understanding of the process. Self-paced labs are best for those working on more advanced projects but also for those who are self-aware and can manage their time well. Using self-paced labs for employee training helps your team become more effective learners and successfully develop the skills needed to do their jobs well. Another advantage of self-paced labs is the aspect of giving learners control over how they learn through a range of different exercises and activities. With self-paced learning, students can control their time and choose learning styles best suited to their preferences. Hands-on learning through self-paced labs allows learners to tinker with software, build in the cloud and employ learning-by-doing methods for the complex skills required in IT today.
Cloud-Based Virtual Labs
Cloud-based virtual labs enable organizations to build realistic, fully functional environments from a remote location. Cloud-based labs are hosted on a central platform allowing users to remotely access labs from any internet-connected device. Cloud based labs’ advantages include scalable labs capacity enabling them to meet demand. Other benefits include unhindered access to labs at the users’ convenience. Traditionally learners had to enter a computer lab full of monitors and hard drives to practice hands-on techniques. Today virtual instructor-led labs provide an improved learning experience that is time efficient and cost-effective for organizations and students. Cloud-based virtual labs are simpler to maintain, always available, offer scalability, and include automation features. Automation simplifies and streamlines the learning experience for users.
Virtual labs templates are containers that can contain multiple virtual machines. Lab templates help establish consistently configured virtual machines across an entire organization. In addition, lab provisioning, the process of establishing the steps to manage access to resources, is maximized using cloud-based virtual labs. In addition, many open-source solutions are available, enabling organizations to deploy virtual IT labs allowing users across the globe to access IT resources.
Virtual instructor-led labs are interactive, online training hosted by live facilitators. Instructors connect with learners through a real-time video conferencing platform. Virtual instructor-led labs have become popular in recent years, with virtual learning options gaining momentum across every industry and sector. Instructor-led lenses combine the flexibility of remote, online learning with face-to-face instruction. Virtual lab sessions save time as they are typically shorter than classroom sessions. Labs led by instructors provide learners with a live person to ask questions and troubleshoot problems. In addition, instructors can access a student’s lab data, track course progress and help make adjustments when needed.
Cloud-based virtual labs are used in many ways, such as training in IT technology, cloud computing, and education. Businesses also use cloud-based labs for training using digital programs and online courses. Virtual labs help organizations meet the growing need for digital learning, as much of the workforce is remote. In addition, cloud-based labs provide flexible training options for on-site employees that are cost-effective and time efficient for both the employees and the company. Virtual labs offer effective training by creating realistic simulations and allowing users to apply new skills in a safe environment.
Although particular equipment is not needed to use cloud-based virtual labs, they work best when used on a dedicated network. A dedicated network ensures real-time interaction. In addition to a shared network, another necessary requirement includes audio and video capabilities. Virtual instructor-led labs are excellent e-learning solutions combining the best of both worlds – a virtual environment with a live instructor available to assist students. Also, through a virtual lab experience students can participate in a virtual lab that also serves as a contingency plan in the event of a natural disaster or other unforeseen reasons regular school campus activities may be interrupted. Virtual labs are perfect for technical and soft skills training and many other training needs. Customizable and scalable, cloud labs are the most cost-effective way to offer training today. Learn more about Skytap Virtual IT Labs.