The Power of Questions in Linux Training

by mike on 09/11/2009

Having loved learning all my life, having a college degree in teaching and spending 8 years of my life in graduate school (crammed 5 years into 8 ) I have discovered that one of the most powerful avenues of learning is the ability to ask questions.  When people can ask questions learning occurs. Why is asking questions so important?  Well it is the old agony of getting stuck on one small thing.

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I can vividly remember one of my most frustrating learning experiences when I was tasked with writing an iptables firewall using NAT (Network Address Translation).  I lived in a community that was small, the closest Linux Users Group was 2.5 hours away and no one in my community understood anything about Linux, let alone iptables.  I could not ask anyone a question about iptables….it was a killer.  Sure I had a book, but when you get in these situations often times learning stops because you hit the wall on one concept.   Or even worse, you think you understood the concept but you missed it completely.  I think this is why many have thrown up their hands and went back to Windows because they needed to ask one question on how to get their wireless going or how to issue a command at the command line, but nobody was available.

This is bad enough for an individual learning Linux, but when an organization is moving to Linux, especially when they have Windows Admins moving to the command line for the first time, it can create serious problems.  I have found that many organizations just expect their network administrators to pick up Linux and be able to function just like it was another aspect of Windows administration.  They do not understand the drastic differences between the two operating systems.  When a company moves to Linux they really need to provide the resources for their admins to be able to ask questions.

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