Project Abstract

The shortage of cyber-security professionals is universal and on-going. Fresh graduates often do not possess the readiness to apply their skills to real-world scenarios, which employers demand. This project bridges the skills-gap between theory and practice. Using innovative pedagogical practices (gamification and problem-based learning), a self-directed immersive learning environment would be produced to train employable cyber-security professionals. The resources will be hosted on a computing cloud termed, CyberGaTE, using an innovative concept of 'Classroom as a Service'. The project will engage employers, higher education institutions, students in UK and Europe to build and assess CyberGaTE's effectiveness and dissemination of good practice.

Project Aims

A key challenge addressed in this proposal, which directly addresses the UK government's cyber-security strategy is 'the provision of the real-world experiences through gamification of learning resources and emulating the real-world cyber-security incidents on the virtualised training ground'.

Game players regularly exhibit risk-taking, strategizing and problem solving, behaviours that are ideally required in a cyber-security professional. CyberGaTE leverages the same in a completely self-directed, facilitator-independent, playground where students could learn and practice to respond interactively to cyber-security attacks, yet in the security of a learning environment. For instance, several teams will compete to find the solution to a cyber attack in the shortest period of time, making predictions regarding the network intrusion, hacker behaviour, and testing assumptions without damaging existing network infrastructure. The gamified environment will provide encouragement and interactive feedback as the competition evolves.

CyberGaTE will be available via the internet to stakeholders registered on the online TEL community. Cloud computing concepts such as virtualization used in the project enables and empowers the learners as well makes the infrastructure accessible to a wider audience beyond the scope of the host institution. CyberGaTE's cloud delivery is aligned with the concept of virtualised 'hands-on' labs, providing practical learning anywhere. This is strongly supported by educational theories as a productive and effective pedagogical practice.


A self-contained gamified PBL-based learning resources aligned with current best practice, IASME, ISO27000 series, PAS555 (ISO, 2013) and aimed at bridging the skills gap between theory and practice. These will be available as stand-alone learning resources in an open repository along with facilitator guide, hardware and software requirements to deliver the course within a non-virtualized lab.

CyberGaTE – A self-directed, virtualized training ground hosting the gamified learning resources accessible via the internet reaching vast learner-base beyond the scope of the host institution.


The Higher Education Academy’s (HEA) learning and teaching in cyber security grant scheme  is a programme that provides the opportunity to create innovative evidence-informed practice. The HEA has committed to fund projects that have the potential to generate impact across the discipline, institution and the sector beyond, and to build upon existing practice and pedagogic research.

The scheme has been designed to support innovative proposals to improve learning and teaching in cyber security programmes and improve employability skills in graduates.