5 Limitations of Using
Sandboxes in Training Strategies
These environments are popular, but how effective are they in helping learners assess, practice and validate skills?
Sandbox environments are used in upskilling programs because they provide learners with a “safe” place to practice skills. Despite the popularity, training sandboxes do come with limitations that can hinder learners from fully developing their skills.
1. Training isn't always realistic.
While sandboxes are an ideal platform for testing and experimenting with new code, sandboxes do not create an ideal learning environment, particularly for learning new material. Hands-on tools that act as an extension to a production environment while still maintaining separation from real production data are better suited for learners. For example, Skillable’s hands-on experiences enable learners to complete real-world tasks with real-world tools which maximizes learning and maintains the integrity of production environments.
2. No opportunities to "fail forward."
Sandboxes do allow learners to actively explore in a non-production environment, but there’s little to no opportunity for learners to receive structured feedback on their efforts. In other words, there’s no chance to “fail forward”. Most sandboxes don’t highlight areas for improvement or how to correct mistakes which can instill a sense of fear or hesitancy in learners. Without a safe environment in which to “fail forward”, learners may be more wary of taking risks or trying new, potentially innovative strategies.
3. Unscored and unmeasured.
A major part of skill development is skills validation. The method verifies that learners can successfully put into practice what they’ve learned in training by scoring their training activities. Sandbox environments do not have this capability, leaving learners—and their managers, training provider and company—in the dark about learners’ actual skills.
4. Little to no learner personalization.
Most sandbox environments don’t meet learners where they are in their learning journey. For example, seasoned professionals don’t need as much guidance or contextual information as a beginner. Sandbox environments don’t allow for this type of personalization, instead forcing learners to start their journey at a default level. Modern labs, on the other hand, can start learners on a level suited for their current skill level, thus providing a more personalized learning experience which maximizes learning time while providing organization-specific skills data.
5. Difficult to maintain.
The time and resources to maintain sandbox environments can be extensive. Updating the environment every time software changes is time-consuming. Depending on your release schedules, by the time changes have been made, content may have changed again which prevents learners from developing the right skills in a timely manner.