Most courses on MapR Academy include one or more hands-on lab activities. Your course's specific lab guide will have instructions about which version of the lab environment to use. In general, however, most of the labs can be completed by downloading and installing either VMware or VirtualBox, and the MapR Sandbox. The Drill courses require the Sandbox with Drill. Both of these options are free, but require your computer to have at least 8GB of RAM and 20GB of free disk space.
Some activities in the ADM courses require multiple nodes. You can either skip these labs, or use an AWS or GCP cluster. You can also use AWS or GCP if your machine does not meet the minimum requirements for the MapR Sandbox. These options are not free, however. You can keep your costs down by shutting your cluster off when not in use.