How Players Learn and How to Teach Them

It’s time for a mini-show full of things to know! I’ve sort of been bouncing catchphrases like that in my head for the better part of a day, and I’ve determined there are no good ones–but that may be the fever talking. I was in the throes of a full Man Cold for this episode, but I landed on a topic I liked a few days ago and I decided not to rest until I could be sure the show went out on time. 

Teaching players how to play your game is one of the most crucial challenges you face as a designer, and while it may not get fully overlooked (you DO know you have to do it), it does not always get the care that it deserves, and this will absolutely cost you players. In hopes of offering up some solutions and solid guidelines for your planning pleasure, I set out to look at the actual processes of teaching and learning, to see how I might apply it to our jobs as developers and designers.

It was during this time that I stumbled across the writing of Scott H. Young for the first time. Scott has devoted his life and his writing to some fascinating pursuits, including his “MIT Challenge,” in which he completed the institute’s full Computer Science program in less than one year, all through self-guided study. When I went through his Step-by-Step Process to Teach Yourself Anything (in a Fraction of the Time), I was immediately able to recognize tangible ways that these methods applied to teaching players the skills they need to be successful playing your game. This episode contains my findings. 

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