[lpi-discuss] how about LPIC-2 ?

Anselm Lingnau anselm.lingnau at linupfront.de
Mon Nov 7 21:17:58 EST 2005

ross e. brunson wrote:

> Like hell you can't.  That's like saying if you give whiskey and car
> keys to teenagers you can't predict the results...  You have to make it
> a condition that they don't have TK or other materials on site, you put
> that into the briefing before classes and upon discovery of the
> materials, the trainer gives them the "That f'ing cheating, do you want
> to be a Test-King Level 1 or a LPIC Level 1?" speech.  Fear of public
> embarrassment and ridicule (mostly from their peers) keeps them from
> cheating in all but the most covert manner.

I just checked the e-mail about the class in question, which was part of a 
4-week programme containing all 4 LPIC exams (don't get me started). As we're 
normally working as subcontractors for training providers that want their 
customers to come back to them, our trainers aren't usually in a position to 
get rid of participants who do not appear to have the proper ethics (much as 
we would want to, every so often).

> I suggest that trainers who are giving cert classes take the extra time
> to do daily reviews with them, if you get really involved and know their
> knowledge levels, it's easy to figure out if you have a room full of
> "exam-rangers" or decent examinees.

This is well and good but there's no real way of putting pressure on the 
brain-dump people in class. Peer pressure? Their peers are probably doing it 
too. Try to keep them from sitting the exam? They will complain to the 
training provider, who is more interested in happy customers (who pay him) 
than happy trainers (who he needs to pay; if the trainer is too obnoxious 
then there are others available). Walk out? This will also get you in trouble 
with the training provider, and the participants won't really mind as they 
now have more time to learn their brain dumps.

> I would say that if you have a trainer that was able to get them to pass
> the exam without having the actual experience, or some experience and a
> damn good idea of what was going on, that you should audit that
> trainer's class and adjust his delivery so that he's not giving away the
> Test King answers, or just teaching to the exam.

I can assure you that you won't catch that trainer doing either the one or the 
other. In fact he was quite worked up about the whole affair -- he was doing 
his best trying to teach the actual topics in what scant time he had but the 
participants would much rather look at their brain dumps.

The one time a class (basically an in-house job) came to me in an LPIC-1 
workshop and said »let's just learn the Test King answers« I took their brain 
dump to bits in front of their eyes (which is easy -- the Test King one is 
really lousy, or was at that time, anyway) but that still didn't keep them 
from coming back to it. I don't know what it is with these brain dumps; why 
people seem to hate learning the actual stuff so much that they put up with 
the stupid things is beyond me.

One part of the problem may be that over here a large part of the audience 
that we're dealing with aren't really »Linux people«; we have people who are 
basically pushed into Linux and LPIC certification e.g., through 
qualification programmes for the unemployed. These programmes operate on 
shoe-string budgets, and the participants have to attend because otherwise 
they may lose (part of) their state unemployment benefits. Many of these 
people would rather be elsewhere (anywhere!) than in a Linux class, and for 
them a certification exam is not something they look forward to as a chance 
to prove their Linux mettle, but something that they have to pass by means 
fair or foul just to keep the labour office happy -- they have to be seen 
spinning their wheels even though they may not really be that interested in 
Linux at all in the first place.

Even experienced Linux/Unix people sometimes seem to think that much of the 
stuff required for LPIC is so outdated as to be ridiculous, and that passing 
an LPIC exam consists in part of learning how to handle things that in the 
real world one would not want to touch with a 10' pole, such as NIS, 
ipchains, Majordomo or Sendmail, just on the off-chance that the exam will 
zero in on those. This creates an »us vs. them« situation that again may 
suggest to some folks that learning brain dumps rather than wasting time 
actually fooling around with obsolete pieces of software that may be 
difficult even to locate and install on one's 2005 Linux PC is a more 
efficient way of getting the certificate.

Anselm Lingnau ... Linup Front GmbH ... Linux-, Open-Source- & Netz-Schulungen
Linup Front GmbH, Postfach 100121, 64201 Darmstadt, Germany
anselm.lingnau at linupfront.de, +49(0)6151-9067-103, Fax -299, www.linupfront.de

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