Introducing the New CCIE ...
    12 November 08

    Introducing the New CCIE 2.0 Program!

    Posted byBrian McGahan

    After years of developing and delivering CCIE training programs, we’re finally proud to announce the launch of our new CCIE 2.0 Program - the next evolution in training – along with some exciting new product offerings that go along with it. The main theme for the new CCIE 2.0 Program focuses around three points: dynamic content, adaptive assessments, and continuing interaction.

    One of the big problems with the traditional training model, as many of you know, is that the time to market for new content is usually immense. With the CCIE Lab blueprint being updated on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, traditionally it takes about this long – or longer - to get new content revisions out to the public. The CCIE 2.0 model fixes this by implementing a new perpetual online product release model, which ensures that you always have the latest and most up-to-date content available for the lab exam. Many of you have already seen this with the current CCIE R&S Lab Workbook Volume 1 Version 5, which has been going through an incremental release since its inception.

    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. Physical product releases, such as printed workbooks or Class-on-Demand DVDs, are a "snapshot" in time of the content as it is evolving. As changes are made they are always available for free electronically, and new physical product releases can be ordered for a minimal production and shipping fee.

    The next problem that we’ve seen with the traditional training model is that since every engineer's skill set is different, there’s no clearly defined path that works the same for everyone. Regardless of skill level or industry experience, each candidate was handed the same static set of workbooks, videos, and classes, and it was up to them to sort through it on their own, picking out what they needed. For some candidates this method was successful, but for many more it was not, or at best was immensely expensive and time consuming. To solve this we’ve developed a new adaptive assessment tool called the Student Assessment and Grading Engine – SAGETM.

    What’s really revolutionary and exciting for us about SAGETM 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. SAGETM 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-LabsTM as we call them, are adaptively generated based on previous performance. In other words if they kept falling short in QoS or Multicast, SAGETM keeps hitting them over and over there. On the other hand if they’re very solid in Frame Relay, SAGETM puts that on the back burner a bit so they can focus more on their weak areas.

    The second feature about SAGETM that’s really amazing is how it can make content recommendations. In other words when it comes back with a result and says “you need to focus on A, B, and C”, it also says that for more info on A, B, and C, do this technology lab, or watch this Class-on-Demand video, or read this chapter from this particular book. Where this really comes in handy is the amount of time that you need to spend on A, B, and C during your preparation. We all know that passing the CCIE Lab Exam isn’t just about investing money, but it’s also about investing a huge amount of your time. If you can get to the point where SAGETM says “you’re good on OSPF, but you need to focus on BGP”, this could potentially save you hundreds and hundreds of hours in your preparation!

    The third important point that the CCIE 2.0 Program focuses on is continuing interaction. With the old training model candidates would maybe get to interact with the instructors a few times through email or through a forum, and then a week or two in an instructor-led class. The problem with this model though, it that it can be really frustrating to be sitting there in the middle with a question you can’t find an answer to, and don’t know where to turn. We’ve addressed this problem with two new online classroom offerings, our CCIE R&S Open Lecture Series, and CCIE R&S Lab Meet-Ups.

    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.

    I will be running an online classroom session tomorrow, Wednesday November 12th at 11AM PST (GMT -8), to go over the program in more detail and to take questions about the new program format. To sign up for this session go to, otherwise a Class-on-Demand version of it will be posted on it shortly after the session is completed.  The pricing and schedule for these two new series, the Open Lecture Series and the Lab Meet-Ups will be available on, along with more information about package options for CCIE 2.0 at 11AM PST.

    Happy Labbing!

    Brian McGahan, CCIE #8593 (R&S/SP/Security)

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