Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Join Founder and CEO Patrick Phillips and Eric Ogea, Director of R&D of American Business Systems, for an in-depth discussion of how ABS helps its Licensees sign up doctors in order to do their billing. ABS has a very specific client acquisition cycle that has been perfected over the 20 years that we have been marketing to doctors….
I’ve learned a lot in the almost 15 years I’ve been running online games. Sure, I can tell you all the different marketing strategies you usually see articles for that show you how to spam your game in every social network and paid advertising service known to man, but that’s not what this post is all about.
It’s hard to play if you can’t figure out how the game works or which buttons you need to press to get things started.
If your target audience has made it past your tutorial or instructions and they’re playing there’s one other thing that can really bring everything to an abrupt stop and that’s having difficulty interacting with the game. So you can do all of these things I’ve mentioned and people still don’t play your game because they don’t think it’s fun. I think everyone would agree with the premise that if you practice something you will get better at it. How you deliver practice makes all the difference to whether you remember what you’ve been taught and how you turn that knowledge into a skill. However, actually becoming a coach is much more difficult, and practice is the tool of choice.
Cementing new learning in long-term memory requires a process known as consolidation, in which memory traces (the brain’s representations of the new learning) are strengthened, given meaning, and connected to prior knowledge.
Spacing and Interleaving practice is one of the keys to disrupting the typical “Forgetting Curve’. Interleaving practice combines many parts of the process in a practice session as opposed to focusing on mastering them independently. Embedding Elaboration into Scenario-Based Practice will also increase the effectiveness of retrieving previously learned knowledge and converting it into skills. Elaboration is process of utilizing learned content in new ways, finding additional meaning, and applying the process to new situations. A great example of this is targeted practice of an Objection Handling process to resolve several objections during a coaching conversation. During practice sessions roleplayers are noting and comparing participant skills to the coaching process. This measurement, whether it is shared skill by skill with the participant or not, is critical to understand what skills participants are retaining or missing from the original learning event. When each practice session is complete,  the participant should discuss with the roleplayer and reflect on the skills measured and the intent for the next sessions.

Adding a 'performance under pressure' element to the sessions helps the participants to experience the reality of the situation. When faced with pressure or the possibility of failure, participants will often fall back into old ways of solving problems or conducting the coaching conversation. Understanding a coaching process is not difficult for a new manager or leader , however converting that knowledge into a skill takes practice - deliberate, measured, thoughtful practice.
There’s a difference between getting people to KNOW about your game and getting people to PLAY your game.
If you don’t know much about your target audience then it’s time to stop and do some research.
If someone clicks on your website and they now have to wade through 15 different links that are randomly dispersed through an already text-heavy blog post to find the link to get to your game download page then you’ve already lost customers before they’ve even started. Make access to instructions or a tutorial just as easy as it was to find and launch your game and keep your instructions appropriate for your target audience. If your controls are too sensitive or your combinations are too tricky or are too fast for them to accomplish in the amount of time you’re giving them you’ll find that their interest drops off like an air-conditioner falling out of a window. I could go on and on about this topic and in fact I already have if you’re interested in reading about it so I won’t drag on about it here and now.
Seems simple enough, but there are a few challenges in the execution of practice that deserve more exploration.
Permanent learning, however, requires time for practice and the other processes of consolidation.
Spacing practice from the original learning anywhere from three weeks to six months, ideally with two or three practice sessions during that time, is the most effective strategy. Roleplayers will target a skill for elaboration practice by having the participant use a single skill to solve several situations in a roleplay. Professional roleplayers recognize that this often leads to the ‘aha moment’ for the participant in their practice. The data becomes a way to measure the effectiveness of the original investment and, when multiple practice sessions are used, can be used to measure the growth of the participants, by skill, over the practice period.
Coaching conversations can be unpredictable and stressful, especially for coaches who are new to the activity or who are trying to integrate new skills into their process.
Fear and consequences of failure during a coaching conversation will often drive participants back to old ways.
We may not all make it to Carnegie Hall but we can use the same methods the greats have used to get there.
I like your emphasis on cognitive connections using practice as a means of embedding learning as skill development.

If you’re advertising your game for 30+ year old men but the only people who’ve played it so far are young  teenage girls then advertising it on a Cars Automotive Forum is just a waste of your time. What appeals to children is completely different from what appeals to adults or teenages just like what appeals to women is different from what appeals to men. The longer your target audience has to wade through learning how to play the less likely they are to start playing and stick with it.
I’m not saying your controls can’t have a learning curve, just that it should be a fairly short one or even a progressive one where you start off simple and add more and more complexity as you go. If people don’t think your game is fun then it doesn’t matter if you’ve hit the mark on all the other points you’ll still find yourself back to the drawing board. Elaboration is also tied to the Business Improvisation process and exercises a creative skill for added benefit.
He assists organizations sustain learning and development investments using a combination of scenario based practice and behavioral awareness. If your game is brand new and you’re not sure of your target audience then you can do some playtesting to get feedback on who it appeals to the most. If you always have one static saying and image that you’re spamming around the internet it will fade into the background noise. Make it easy to download or join — the fewer fields and steps they have to complete to start playing the faster they’ll become engaged and access to the experience they were looking for. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by writing instructions or a tutorial that they can’t follow or don’t understand. So I hope this helps you in your endeavors to get people playing your game because in my experience if you can master these points here you’re well on your way down the path to success. The increased effort required to retrieve the learning after a little forgetting has the effect of retriggering consolidation, further strengthening memory. You can also try asking a variety of friend and family to play if playtesting isn’t an option for you — this will give you a varied pool of ages and computer skill levels to draw some basic conclusions from. Try animated banners and static banners, bright colors and dull colors, varying text sizes and text amounts. Randy has worked with companies such as Aon Hewitt, BMO Harris, Bank of America, Unilever, Allstate, HP, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dell, Manulife, and John Hancock.
One thing I like to tell people is the definition of stupidity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

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