1) Incremental/Constant Workbook and CoD Revisions
The goal of this new model is to ensure that you, the candidate, not only have access to the newest material on the market, but you don’t have to wait months – or even years – between product updates. To facilitate this, online products are still delivered in PDF and streaming video formats as they have been in the past, but are now constantly being incrementally updated.
2) Student Assessment and Grading Engine and Dynamic Poly-Labs.
SAGE is a new dynamic assessment testing (lab?) product. Poly-Labs are dynamically generated mock labs. The Poly-Lab lab tasks are chosen from a pool of tasks based on your strengths and weaknesses. This means that each Poly-Lab will be different for different candidates.
What’s really revolutionary and exciting for us about SAGE is that its much more than just a “grading engine”. The goal instead was to create a tool where the candidate could come in and say “I’m at point X” in my preparation. SAGE then generates a custom assessment for the candidate, similar in principle to today’s static “mock labs”, and tests to see if that’s actually where they are. Based on the results SAGETM says either “yes you are at point X, you should now proceed to Y” or “no you’re not really at X, you need to go back and focus on A, B, and C.” The great thing about this is that as the candidate continues through their preparation, new mock labs, or Poly-Labs as we call them, are adaptively generated based on previous performance. In other words if they kept falling short in QoS or Multicast, SAGE keeps hitting them over and over there. On the other hand if they’re very solid in Frame Relay, SAGE puts that on the back burner a bit so they can focus more on their weak areas.
3) Open Lecture Series and CCIE R&S Lab Meet-Ups
This is the most exciting part of the new CCIE 2.0 to me. There will be a number of online lectures each week as well as lab breakdowns. Both are recorded so that they are available for viewing afterwards for candidates who cannot attend.
The Open Lecture Series, in short, is basically an online class that never ends. There are multiple sessions scheduled each week on pre-defined topics, and candidates can drop into a class session whenever they want. This way if you’re working on OSPF and you see that next Friday there’s a session on OSPF, you can drop in and see what’s going on and ask questions. Also with this we’ve added a feature called Open Instructor Time, which is basically like how a professor’s office hours work in a traditional university setting. During the Open Instructor Time candidates can stop into the online classroom and discuss whatever topics or lab scenarios they have questions on. In both cases the sessions are available in Class-on-Demand format after each session is over.
The next addition, the Lab Meet-Ups, is where students get together with the instructor through the online classroom to configure, troubleshoot, and talk about a specific full-scale lab scenario. Like the Open Lecture Series, the Lab Meet-Ups run every week, and students can ask questions in real-time to the instructors and get an immediate response. These sessions are great for when it’s hard to figure out “why” one solution was chosen over another, and also to see how we the instructors would approach the lab scenario if it was the actual CCIE Lab Exam.
The bad news? These new offerings will run either $1,499 or $999 (for access to the recorded versions only) each. Brian Dennis did mention that these new offerings will be free to those who currently own an end-to-end subscription as part of IE’s Investment Protection plan. Unfortunately I do not own the end-to-end product. I bought my materials à la carte. I don’t think that I can justify dropping another $2,000 – $3,000 at this point in my preparation. Maybe the Open Lecture Series will be offered to current subscribers of the Advanced Technology CoD (to which I have a subscription) and the Lab Meet-Ups to current subscribers of the Lab Breakdown Series? IE’s page does show that their Tiered and Value packages are part of CCIE 2.0 so maybe that will be the case.
Anyhoo…IE will be hosting another online seminar today (11 am PST) to discuss the new CCIE 2.0 program in more detail. You can register here.