Skill builders support algorithmic problem solving in support of the development of networking procedural knowledge. For example, simple skill building problems can include having students complete hands-on practical labs in Packet Tracer before working on real equipment (as a pre-lab, or what some call a lab entry ticket); after having worked on real equipment (as a post-lab review); or just for practice (similar to an e-lab, but without as much structure). Within the limits of Packet Tracer modeling and supported command set, and often with some minor modifications required, IOS configurations may be exported (as text files) for input into real switches and routers. Such configuration files may also be imported back into Packet Tracer. Hence students might create and test their lab configurations before attending class, hopefully getting more out of their often limited time on real equipment.
Skill builders can be as complex as Packet Tracer versions of hands-on skills exams. Skill builders may be authored as simple .pkt files with either integrated or printed instructions (handouts). Skill builders may be also be authored as .pka files with the configurable components specified in the grading tree. The use of the .pka activity timer is particularly relevant for skill building activities. For example, friendly competitions can be held to see how well students have mastered configuration tasks.