Education historically has evolved slowly; technology conversely evolves exponentially. Applying the traditional method of learning and creating educational content to technological fields of study is inefficient. This has created significant lapse between what is taught and what is relevant. What is needed is the rapid development of relevant educational content in the way of hands-on, real-world challenges in which theory and problem solving can be taught and tested.
The project is designed to create a flexible set of challenge environments and supporting infrastructure with a low barrier of use in which one would be able to perform the tasks outlined in the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. It can be used as a platform for instruction as well as to evaluate those who endeavor to be part of the cybersecurity workforce. This approach will give employers better real world performance data on their prospective hires as well as giving those future employees a readily accessible set of environments to both learn and evaluate their knowledge, skills and abilities.
“Where there is interest there is learning.” – Arthur C. Clarke
The project has been developed to allow participants to work on tasks in ways that is most appropriate for their needs and interests. Most challenges stand alone and can be performed in any order or in any combination.
Self teaching encourages greater learning.
What we learn through self discovery and interest is of much more value than something taught in the traditional sense. Not only does something self taught get retained longer but it also often leads to deeper understanding. As such, the challenge environments stand alone as just that, challenges. Instruction on how to solve the challenges are not within the scope of this project.
There's a need for problem solvers.
In the cybersecurity field many of the important problems can’t be solved by someone with just an instruction manual. We need those who can solve complex problems in ever changing environments. To encourage this our environments aim to be multi-platform while using large varieties of popular and obscure software. This allows for the development of a diverse set of challenges and the opportunity to recreate problems that may be experienced in the workplace.
Rapid content creation is difficult for educators and creates inconsistency.
The creation of educational content can be difficult, expensive, and time consuming. This can result in course content not keeping up with the changes in technology. Students wind up working with yesterday’s technology today and are expected to solve the problems of tomorrow. Our environments are designed to recreate issues that are relevant and current. How they are used or what content may be taught is up to the instructors that use them.
While our problems are common, our solutions are not.
Documents like the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework and CAE Knowledge Units prove that we can agree on the problems and subjects. However, the correct solution to any given challenge will be different from expert to expert. While our challenges provide a multi-tiered scoring solution we leave the performance evaluation up to the tester and aim for a limitless number of solutions.