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Learning curve November 13, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in humor, ideas, science.

For nearly a decade I have heard about the learning curve, but never seen one. Now I just made one.

Sadiq’s Linux learning curve
[ Click for larger version ]

My roommate Sadiq is a subject for my experiments.

I gave him my laptop with the linux command prompt and asked him to tpye something until a valid response results and keep trying to maximize valid responses. Remember he is a doctor, is very well-versed with computer technology but not computing and definitely not Linux. He did some programming last in school in 1997 !

And here is his ‘learning curve’. Each time a valid response is generated he gets 1 point, else he gets zero. This is a simple plot of how he progresses. This is very less data to say anything at all – this is really just fun. ( for me atleast, if not for the subject ). How do we extrapolate this curve ? Hard to say, he might run out of any meaningful thing to type. I suspect what he has got is really the low-hanging fruit – stuff like clear, file and help. Though he got lucky when he typed “cal” which shows up a calender.

The next thing is to try with someone like my parents, whose knowledge of computers is elementary but not zilch, but not as much as Sadiq’s either. Another step down the ladder would be to try this with someone who is educated and knows English but has never worked with a computer.

Finally, lets give him a chance. And maybe him.



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