We, at Linux Academy, believe in hands-on training — it is part of our DNA because that is one of the principles that we were built on.

Because there wasn’t anything like it available, we had to build our very own Hands-On Labs (powered by TrueEnvironment Technology) platform to support our hundreds of thousands of students and the technical concepts that you need to learn.

Once we built the platform, we ran into a challenge marketing our hands-on labs. The reason is that others in the industry use the term hands-on labs to mean something entirely different. They mean that you will watch a video that shows how to do something on-screen, whereas our hands-on labs means that you, as our student, get to launch a real lab environment (such as an AWS console, Azure console, or server instances with different combinations of operating systems and software) and you get to learn in those environments as you follow along with our written guides, videos, instructions, and diagrams — after all, if you need to troubleshoot an issue in the real world, you need to have hands-on knowledge and not just knowledge learned from watching videos.

This is significant because there is no better way to learn than by experience. The only way to get experience is by doing, and our hands-on labs help you do.

Because this is one of our most popular features, we’ve looked at ways of providing even more value with our Hands-On Labs. One such way that we discovered was by making improvements to the user interface.

Now, let’s take a look at examples.

Examples of Interface Changes for Hands-On Labs

Here is an example of a live environment Hands-On Lab that makes use of videos and an AWS environment, but keep in mind we also offer Hands-On Labs for Azure environments.

Before launching the lab environment, we wanted to provide more information regarding the lab itself. What will you do? What will you learn? Is this lab what you were expecting?

Hands-On Labs details and description page

Detail page for Hands-On Lab

Once you launch the lab, we wanted to provide as much of the most important information in the same view as possible. This includes the credentials needed to log into the environment, the instructions & tasks you will complete (with hints), an architectural diagram of what you will accomplish in the lab, and the video(s) walking you through the lab scenario from start to finish.

This new view puts all of the information you need to complete the lab within your reach.

Linux Academy AWS Hands-On Labs page

Hands-On Lab in progress


Real AWS Console from a Linux Academy Hands-On Lab

AWS Console for you to practice in, provided by Linux Academy


The credentials provide you with access to a real AWS environment (or Azure/OpenStack/Linux environment), which oftentimes has a scenario already pre-deployed so you can dive right in and not have to pay extra for those resources.

Hands-On Labs tasks with explanation

Tasks with step-by-step and bite-sized explanations


If you are stuck even after using the video guide, written guide, or diagrams, or if you just want a quick tip, you can click on the question mark next to the task in order to get bite-sized instructions and explanation of how & why to complete this task. That way, you can figure it out and learn faster instead of having to go through an entire video or written lab guide again. This reinforces our philosophy of lean learning — which is all about learning faster by focusing on what you don’t know and building new, practical skills.

Everything I’ve just mentioned is now part of your Linux Academy membership.

We’ve got some great Linux Academy content and features being worked on for 2018 that we can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, enjoy our new Hands-On Labs!

Thank you for using Linux Academy and thank you so much for your amazing feedback so far! Please keep it coming!

If you’re not already training with us, we’ve got a 7-days free trial that gets you access to all of our platforms — Linux Academy and Scale Your Code.

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