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A Mentorship Program Corollary - Methods of Teaching


#1

So, I think this sort of discussion would be better suited to new thread, rather than the existing Mentorship Program thread, largely because I want this to be about 1-on-1 teaching methods using the unique environment online teaching provides - that is, these methods may be of use outside the Mentorship Program. We can always move this to the Mentorship thread if we determine that it serves more of a purpose there.

For my part, I’m merely curious to know how others like to take advantage of online resources to teach others in an intimate setting. Do you play games against each other first to see where you stand and how both mentor and mentee need to grow? Do you jump into games against random opponents? Do you think voice chat is better than using some sort of messaging system? Who decides what decks to play, from the archetype to the individual card slot?

When using an over-the-shoulder method of teaching via screen sharing, who does the playing? Who has the final call on the plays made? Clearly any sort of discussion between mentor and mentee will increase the time it takes to complete a turn - how do you make sure you have opponents that are willing to be patient with that (From what I’ve heard of Jinteki, this seems like it might become a problem.)? What are the best ways to counter the lag created by the distance between parties?

I’m hoping to see some strategies that others have employed so that we might be able to see how successful they seem to be, perhaps so that in future endeavors we might be better able to teach others using this environment that really cannot be implemented in person. I understand that each person learn differently, and the degree of success of certain methods is difficult to compare due to each person’s individual abilities, but surely there must be a benefit to comparing notes.


#2

So here’s some of my thoughts on what I’ve done so far, to answer your questions:

Do you play games against each other first to see where you stand and how both mentor and mentee need to grow?

So far my first session has always been having a look at the decklist we’re going to be focusing on / the person is currently playing with, and then jumping into some random games to see how skilled the person I’m working with is. I suppose this doesn’t do much for showing what my own weaknesses are :confused:.

Do you jump into games against random opponents?

This seems ok for the first few couple games to get an idea of skill level, and if you’re focusing on general play advice so you can look over the shoulder and discuss plays with your mentee. If they’re getting a good grasp of what’s going on, and the focus shifts more to “how do I get the most out of my deck + common matchups” it’s better to play versus them and discuss the game afterwards. You probably won’t need to watch over their shoulder if they have a good grasp of the game, it gives them a good opponent to play against, and you can select what matchups you want to practice instead of facing off against random decks.

Do you think voice chat is better than using some sort of messaging system?

Yes. Could not image being able to discuss anything as effectively without voice chat.

Who decides what decks to play, from the archetype to the individual card slot?

It’s the mentees decision for what decks to play, as they know best what they want to learn :slight_smile: If they’re unsure, I’ve put out some tier 1 options to try out, and they can take their pick as to what to learn with. I’ve gone for this approach, since it means I can put my time into studying those decks myself so I can give better advice. As for card slots, I’m personally not experienced enough to make large changes to established archetypes, so I go with the version of it that has worked best for me and explain what the tech cards are that you can use if a mentee has a skewed local meta. It’s important to learn to face those decks without the tech cards first, and then later on add them in so you learn what the plays are vs a certain deck instead of relying on finding your Plascrete for example.

When using an over-the-shoulder method of teaching via screen sharing, who does the playing?

Always mentee. I’m a big advocate of “learning by doing”. I’m confident that by doing the motions yourself, you’ll learn much faster than by watching.

Who has the final call on the plays made?

I’d say mentee. They’re the one holding the controls :stuck_out_tongue: . No seriously, if they make an “incorrect” play and lose because of that I’d say you learn a lot more from that, than winning because you pretty much played the game for them.

Clearly any sort of discussion between mentor and mentee will increase
the time it takes to complete a turn - how do you make sure you have
opponents that are willing to be patient with that (From what I’ve heard
of Jinteki, this seems like it might become a problem.)?

Have not had issues with this yet, but I guess if you really want in-depth discussion you’d have to play against your mentee so you have plenty of time to discuss certain plays.

What are the best ways to counter the lag created by the distance between parties?

Haven’t encountered lag (playing with people from US and Australia, am in Europe) myself, but if either of your internet connection is too slow for screensharing you’ll have to resort to spectating them on Jinteki.net. It’s annoying not being able to see their hand, but it’ll have to do :confused:


#3

I agree with much of what has been said by @RJay above. The best way I’ve found to teach people is to talk with them over communication (or sit next to them in real life), that way you can explain what and why, and often if the ‘student’ is unsure about why you’d ever want to do that thing, you can talk more about that subject as it comes up. You will come up with lines of play and reasoning your ‘student’ won’t otherwise consider, and these are the real learning moments.

Voice communication is essential, and I think you should let the ‘student’ actually make all of the decisions. I often suggest things or lines of play like “here, I’d probably do X, because…” and explain my reasons, but talking through it with your ‘student’ is actually very beneficial for both of you and the ‘student’ should make the final call. It shouldn’t just be you playing the game for them, the communication as to finding out why to do things is really key. I think this sort of method is very beneficial even for experienced players, and two experienced players discussing what they’d do at key points in the game can be very beneficial, as if they disagree, at least one of them is wrong and both will likely learn something.

It’s also kind of worth understanding what the player you’re helping wants to get out of the game (and a small chat about this is probably wise before discussing any decklist subjects but it helps for play, too). If they want to be the best player in the world, you should be ruthless with telling then what decks they should/shouldn’t play, but if they want to be the best Custom Biotics player in the world obviously it doesn’t help anyone to tell them they’d be better off playing Foodcoats (even though it’s true). After you’ve found out this, you can decide what sort of matchups or decks they want to improve on/with. If they tell you they’re struggling vs Kate as NEH for example, test that and help with that, but if they just want to be better with A Specific Deck, just play that deck against whatever. It’s key to find out what you’re actually trying to aid the learning of, though.


#4

I teach heads-up poker for a living so wanted to share a tip. I’ve found reviewing games that have already been played to be much more valuable than watching a live game “over the shoulder”. The idea is that this way the student’s decisions aren’t skewed by having a teacher playing with you, and you have as much time as you need to discuss any spots that come up. I’m not sure how easy this is for Netrunner (can you save games in OCTGN or Jinteki to replay later? In poker all serious players have tracking software to keep results which makes playback of past games easy…) but you can always use screen recording software. So student can use for example Camtasia and record themselves playing on OCTGN or Jinteki, and once the video is done you can review the video with them. When reviewing games I’ve found it best to be in charge of pausing, so I use TeamViewer to share screens and be able to control my student’s mouse and use Skype to chat. Alternatively if you have a video the student can send it to you, and then you can review it on your own screen–then you can use Skype to share your screen as well as talking (Skype doesn’t allow you to control other person’s mouse like TeamViewer, but if it’s on your computer you won’t need that feature).

Hope this helps, let me know if you guys have any other technical or other questions about online teaching and I’ll be happy to help as much as I can :smile: