It’s a given that experiential and hands-on learning can help drive concepts home while reinforcing real-world skills. And when experiential learning is applied to a field that’s rich with job opportunities, like cybersecurity is, the result is a powerful teaching tool.

Microsoft Education partner Circadence has developed one of these tools with their award-winning Project Ares platform, powered by Microsoft Azure. Project Ares is an on-demand cyber learning platform that delivers immersive labs and games for realistic project-based learning. Built-in features solve many of the challenges educators face related to scaling classrooms in-person or remotely, time management, and student engagement.

Educators bring the cyber classroom to life

Designed to support progressive learning, Project Ares allows students to start wherever they are and build skills from there. The foundational cybersecurity learning games apply concepts in realistic cyber-scenario activities.

Students at both the high school and collegiate level are finding that hands-on learning labs are imperative to their cyber education journey.

One cyber teacher at a Colorado high school noted that the use of the labs in the classroom yielded a positive learning experience for their students. Specifically, they mentioned Project Ares’ impact on the learning progression of a student with differing abilities who was struggling with math and reading. After exposure to Project Ares cyber learning games, this student developed an interest and aptitude in binary coding. The teacher noted that they “became excited about learning in general” and was “motivated to be a part of the class.”

The learning labs work just as effectively at the college level. One vocational career college program director said, “We noticed an increase in student engagement in the classroom with the introduction of Project Ares. Gamification brings an element of intrigue and satisfaction to the learning experience.”

Students, too, have expressed appreciation and enthusiasm for Project Ares. One student in a collegiate course in Colorado said, “Project Ares provides tangible experience and solidifies concepts learned in class. It gave me great confidence being able to implement these skills, which I think will be extremely valuable for students in the future.”

Embracing the power of hands-on experiential learning

When cyber educators use Project Ares as the hands-on lab component to their cyber curriculum, they expose students to the application and practice of cybersecurity. For example, an Information Assurance course professor at an online university used the labs for ungraded and graded assignments, so adult learners could build both technical and soft skills needed to enter the workforce with confidence. “Short of some form of employer internship as a cybersecurity engineer,” the professor said, “I cannot envision a better means of exposing learners to ‘real-world’ security work.”

Cybersecurity is a hands-on profession that requires hands-on practice. Circadence anticipates that more educators will embrace the power of experiential learning in the classroom as demands to fill cyber jobs increase and students seek applied learning opportunities to support their career trajectories and passions. To learn more about Circadence’s Project Ares as a hands-on teaching tool, check out the webinar and visit

Learn more about how Microsoft can help protect your institution from cybersecurity threats and check out our various partner solutions.