Technology / Programming

Cisco Hands-on Labs: Get your hands dirty!

by Karin Klinger
Cisco Hands-on Labs: Get your hands dirty! picture: A
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Published on May 7, 2015

Over the past several months, trainer Keith Barker has developed a new collection of courses designed to help CCNP R&S learners better prepare for their exam experiences. There are three courses addressing each of the exams required for the CCNP R&S certification:

Why Hands-on Matters

So what is it about hands-on experience that helps learners be so much more successful in their Cisco training courses? Keith Barker has some thoughts on that. "The more senses we can use to engage in a technology, the better we can internalize and learn that technology. The hands-on also allows the learner to confirm, first hand, how a protocol operates as well as how to implement, verify and troubleshoot it by practicing hands on."

The Magic Ratio: Practice to Theory

Cisco training online can be challenging if you don't get practical experience with the products. These courses were developed so our learners can earn the know-how that only comes from getting your hands a little dirty! Keith Barker suggests for expert levels of certification, such as CCIE, the ratio of hands-on training to theoretical or conceptual training should be 4:1 (or greater).

At the entry- and intermediate-levels, Keith recommends at least a 1:1 ratio. In other words, for expert-level certification preparation, you should spend four hours using the product and/or practicing skills for every one hour you spend watching videos or reading. And Keith's Hands-on Labs Exam Prep courses are designed to help you achieve that magic ratio!

Going the Extra Mile with Kinesthetic Learning

For many learners, connecting theoretical or conceptual learning to physical movement or practice or kinesthetic learning is critical to their success. And many IT professionals are, indeed, kinesthetic learners! This makes practice all the more important to certification success! But simply following along with your video training, and even the Hands-on Labs courses, may not be enough.

Keith Barker suggests that learners "go beyond the labs. Once you have a topology built, practice using configuration and verification commands beyond what is already covered in the labs. Cisco's online documentation is a great source for additional commands as well as the interpretation of those commands and the output they generate."

Real learning requires real investment from you. So going the extra mile to practice your skills can often be the difference between success and failure.

Enjoy the Journey

Earning the CCNP R&S certification is hard. But you have all the tools you need to be successful. Here's one last bit of advice to consider: take steps to intentionally enjoy the journey!

Most IT professionals choose this field because it piques their curiosity, energizes them, and gives them a chance to play with amazing tech gadgets to name just a few reasons! Keep the reasons you chose this field in mind as you dive into your training.

Pause every now and then to recognize the growth you're experiencing as you train. Take a break from your training to review all that you've learned so far, and celebrate that learning! Occasionally let your curiosity rule by following it, if something in your training sparks your curiosity and you want to go learn more! Learn!

CBT Nuggets offers excellent training, and now Hands-on Labs too, to help equip you for success in earning your CCNP R&S. But only you can sustain your momentum in training by choosing to truly enjoy your training.


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