Using Online Simulation Training to Replace Expensive Instructor-Led Training


Sourcefire (now part of Cisco) provides intelligent cybersecurity solutions. One of their featured products is the Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW), a network security device that provides additional features compared to a traditional firewall. While a traditional firewall is a standard security tool that provides both static and dynamic packet filtering and VPN support to ensure all connections between the network, internet and firewall are secure and valid, a NGFW has additional features such as application awareness and control, integrated intrusion prevention and cloud-delivered threat intelligence.

In order to effectively train users on their NGFW, Sourcefire would ship expensive hardware to the client’s site, configure it to mirror the client’s installation and then provide hands-on training on their NGFW using the hardware. Afterwards they would breakdown the hardware and ship it back to their office.

The expense, time and effort required to deliver this training caused Sourcefire to consider replacing hands-on training with elearning. Like many of our clients who are considering making a change to elearning, they started asking questions such as these: Should we consider elearning? How can we tell if elearning is the right solution for our specific training initiative? What resources are required to create effective elearning? How should we approach an elearning project? What potential pitfalls should we be aware of? How can we measure success? What is the potential return on investment?

LeanForward was able to consult with Sourcefire to answer these questions. Ultimately Sourcefire made the decision to move to a custom elearning solution for their NGFW training needs.


LeanForward’s custom elearning development solution created an immersive online training simulation that effectively replicated the instructor-led training process. Simulation training, or simulation-based training, creates a virtual environment that is used to model real-world scenarios and provides a safe way for learners to practice new skills. This is a highly effective way of transferring key skills to learners in a cost-effective manner.

Our Learning and Development Team made up of expert Instructional Designers, Graphic Designers, elearning Developers, Quality Assurance experts, and Project Managers joined forces and partnered with Sourcefire’s SMEs to create a true-to-life learning environment where learners could practice real-life work scenarios involving the NGFW through practical exercises. The training simulations developed as part of this custom elearning solution feature a look and feel that behaves like the real environment, uses realistic data, and features real-life examples. Key tasks are broken down into short chunks and learners are provided with lots of opportunities to go back and review steps at any time and engage in additional practice sessions when necessary.


LeanForward’s custom training development process helped Sourcefire save a significant amount to time, money and headache by eliminating the need to ship and set up expensive hardware to train its new NGFW clients. Their elearning solution provides their customers with more accessible and flexible training that can be completed where and when it’s needed. Their custom training provides learner-directed, learner-controlled training in which the learner can initiate the training when best suited for them.

Simulation training may be the right solution for other organizations who are looking for training that provides real-life experiences, immediate feedback, enhanced knowledge retention, a virtual risk-free environment in which to practice skills and reduced cost and time compared to instructor-led training.

Take advantage of LeanForward’s Instructional Consulting services if you are not sure if simulation training may be the right solution for your organization. Our experts can provide the strategic guidance needed to make the right decision. Our input will help ensure that your organization invests its time and money in the appropriate Instructional Technology, makes the best use of your existing budget and resources, develops effective learning programs and, most importantly, satisfies your organization’s business requirements.

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