The Record Issue 13: Summer 2019

56 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om I NT E R V I EW Tell us about IT Pro Challenges – how do they work? IT Pro Challenges are short, scenario-based, hands-on labs that are available in three levels: Guided, Advanced and Expert. The 30-minute-long guided challenges are similar to a traditional lab, but step-by-step instruc- tions are replaced with goals and objectives along with detailed hints, which allow students to check their work as they progress. The 45-minute-long advanced challenges, mean- while, are based on a series of requirements built around an overall objective. They let stu- dents figure out if they know how to perform administrative tasks and help them learn new ones by using resource information. Finally, in the 60-minute-long expert challenges, students will complete a large configuration task to showcase their mastery of a topic, which could span multiple products, technologies, and plat- forms. They will not receive task guidance. An automated score, indicating a pass or fail, is given once the challenge is complete. What topics do the challenges cover? The challenges cover multivendor cloud-focused topics, including the Microsoft Azure. Hundreds of challenges are available, with more being added weekly. The challenges can be purchased individ- ually, by topic (series), or as a library (all access pass). Students may take each challenge twice. How can IT Pro Challenges help grow a business? The challenges enable training providers to dif- ferentiate their offerings from their competitors. They can create blended learning by combining challenges with other learning activities, use challenges for pre- and post-training assess- ments plus the subscriptions are continually updated with new challenges which create ongo- ing engagement opportunities with students. Why are they important to training providers and their students? Challenges provide the additional hands-on practice students want and need. They can be used to assess students before and after training and they can help prepare students for the hands-on scenarios in many vendors’ performance-based exams. How have IT Pro Challenges been received so far? Feedback has been phenomenal. In fact, we recently had a 4.5/5 review from TechGenix, which is a gold star award. TechGenix said: “I absolutely love the IT Pro Challenges concept. The website provides a great way for IT pros to be able to go into a live environment and hone their skills, without the hassles of setting up their own virtual machines. I also found the site to have a good-sized library of challenges, and I like that new challenges are introduced so frequently. And you certainly can’t argue with the price. I also found that the chal- lenges worked exactly the way that they were Students, as well as their training providers, need to validate skills quickly, simply, and effectively. IT Pro Challenges are short, scenario-based, hands-on labs that enable them to do just that, as Corey Hynes, CEO at Learn on Demand Systems, explains Simplifying learning “Challenges provide the additional hands-on practice students want and need”