We're starting a series of postings here regarding some items that might not be entirely clear regarding Cisco Learning Labs. Our goal in doing this is to help the user community for Cisco Learning Labs to gain knowledge on better use and experience with the product. Our first posting here is directed at the concern some users have with the time credits of their session and how to optimize that.
Optimal Time Usage:
Cisco Learning Labs provide access to learners as long as the time credit associated with their session is non-zero. So how do you make the best use of your time while using Cisco Learning Labs? There's several ways to make best use of your time with Cisco Learning Labs.
1. Learn then Practice
The main point of Cisco Learning Labs is to provide users with time on Cisco devices to practice what they've learned in a book, at a website or in a class. If you reach a point where you don't understand something or what you are doing is not working, you should save your configurations, then exit the lab. This will stop your timer and allow you to research the technology area that is not working as you expected. When you're better prepared to tackle the task, restart the lab exercise and you'll be able to continue the tasks without wasting any of your timer while you researched/relearned how to approach a task.
2. Read/Print then Practice
The detailed tasks for each lab exercise in Cisco Learning Labs is available once you start a given lab exercise. To optimize time, we suggest that you start a lab, click on the "All Tasks" or "All Questions" link in the main toolbar. The ensuing popup contains all the instructions, job aids, topologies, and solutions. You can save time by reviewing the tasks for a given lab exercise and understanding all the features and requirements of the lab exercise prior to attempting the lab exercise. One way to do this is to copy and paste the contents of the "All Tasks" or "All Questions" popup to a document and save that document on your local computer. The learner can then exit the lab and stop their timer. Saving the lab tasks to your local computer will then allow you to read and understand the tasks without any cost to your associated session timer. Some learners prefer to print out this document and then use it for making notes.
3. Config then Practice
Another way to save time is to preconfigure what you plan to implement on the running-configs on the devices for the labs. Saving the configurations in a text file and then copy and pasting it into the appropriate device can save time as well.
4. Save and Exit
This might sound simple, but we've had a few support cases where users did not logout and their timers were consumed. We can verify this inactivity via log files and we can adjust a learners timer when warranted. If you have to exit a lab prior to completion of all tasks, remember to save your configurations prior to exiting so you'll be able to continue with that state of your lab when you return.
We welcome any feedback or additional information you may have on this topic.
Technical Support Engineer