Linux Curriculum Redesigned to Better Align with Today’s IT Needs

November 11, 2010

by Red Hat Training Team

With the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 yesterday, Red Hat Training has made exciting changes to its Linux curriculum. First, we restructured our Linux curriculum to provide four clear, role-based learning paths to align with our evolving customers’ profiles. Second, following a deep technical survey of Red Hat credential holders, we worked with the Red Hat Certification team to restructure our Linux administration courses and certifications. The sequence of administration tasks we teach map to the contemporary job roles of Linux administrators and senior Linux administrators. Third, we substantially changed our teaching approach by instilling a facilitative and interactive learning methodology designed to actively engage course participants in the learning process. We believe that less lecture and more participation equals better understanding and retention. With these changes to Red Hat Training, our curriculum is better aligned with today’s IT roles and responsibilities, and offers a much more interactive learning experience.

While preparing our instructors, partners and sales teams in advance of launching these changes, we’re often asked, “Why the changes?” Course participants find Red Hat Training’s curriculum valuable and it is well-respected throughout the industry. Maybe it sounds a little cliche, but our team is truly dedicated to move from good to great. Accomplishing this required us to rethink how we can offer the best possible learning experience for our course participants. We also incorporated industry best practices by applying proven adult learning principles throughout our curriculum. Let’s unpack each of the three changes a bit further:

Red Hat Training Learning Paths
Over the past ten years, Linux deployments in enterprise IT environments have increased dramatically. Job roles are more fluid, and system administrators need skills across multiple platforms to keep today’s complex datacenters running. There’s a wide range of IT professionals coming to Red Hat training, including Windows, network and Solaris system administrators, in addition to a continuum of junior, mid-level and senior Linux system administrators. As a result, Red Hat Training has realigned and updated its curriculum to offer training paths that are relevant to diverse customer job profiles, backgrounds and skill set goals.

We’ve redesigned the curriculum to better transition Windows and network administrators to Linux system administration by building on their existing foundation of knowledge. The introductory course (Red Hat System Administration I: RH124) takes a more practical approach by teaching GUI-based approaches to key tasks that can be immediately put to use upon returning to the datacenter. We take a very different approach with Solaris administrators, building on the similarities of UNIX and Linux to deliver a learning path designed to quickly transition them to be a full time senior Linux system administrators. At the same time, we’ve been careful to address current Linux system administrators seeking certification by offering accelerated Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) and Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) Rapid Track courses.

Curriculum Aligned with Today’s IT Roles and Responsibilities
In advance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, we completed a thorough technical reexamination to assess the job tasks of two key roles, most commonly identified as Linux system administrators and senior Linux system administrators. An extensive technical survey of Red Hat certification holders was conducted worldwide in early 2010. This survey sought to identify the most frequent and critical tasks system administrators perform. Using this information, we updated our curriculum to encompass those skill areas identified as skills that every system administrator should have to accurately perform their job. These changes help us focus on teaching tasks that are relevant to our course participants at the right time.

Facilitative Delivery Approach

Perhaps the most substantial changes were made in “how” we teach. Over the past decade there has been a significant shift in adult education globally. Adults want to build on existing skills and knowledge, they want training to be immediately applicable and they want to be engaged on equal footing with the instructor. Red Hat Training has always placed a focus on practical, relevant, hands-on labs for students to practice skills and tasks in our courses. Our new courses take a facilitative approach to learning by engaging the student more actively in the learning process. The entire Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 curriculum has been rebuilt from the ground up with an emphasis on this facilitative and interactive approach. Our students are already professionals and bring substantial knowledge with them to Red Hat training. The new curriculum builds on that foundation of knowledge to both accelerate learning and validate existing skills and experiences. Over and over, research has shown that one of the most effective ways to maximize learning and retention is to engage the student actively using multiple learning approaches. An engaged student not only learns more but they’ll also have more fun learning.

The benefits of this improved approach include:

  • Improved knowledge retention
  • A more engaging experience
  • An interactive student workbook with checklists for common Linux administration tasks, which acts as a reference job aid when back in the workplace


What does this mean for our course participants?

So what will course participants find when they enroll and attend our new courses? They will find instructors that use a wide variety of teaching methods to improve understanding and retention. They will find hands-on labs. The student book has evolved from slides and speaker notes to a workbook format that complements the teaching approaches and becomes a more effective “Quick Reference Guide” to what they’ve learned. The net effect is that we believe our students will learn more, more quickly and enjoy their experience with Red Hat Training.

We’re very excited about these changes and hope you will be too. If you have any questions about these changes, please visit the FAQ section.

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