Want to get good at videogames? Hire a kid

Brian Jepson pointed to an article about the use of remote tutoring to teach videogame skills. The article (which originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal but has since been syndicated), was hung on the dual hooks of gaming and the age of the teachers:

“”When David Estalote wanted to learn to play the piano, the 27-year-old New Yorker sought out a teacher at a local music college. To learn to play golf, he took lessons from a pro at his grandfather’s country club. When he recently decided he needed coaching to play a videogame better, he turned to a teenager who lives 1,200 miles away in Florida.


One afternoon recently, his 18-year-old tutor, Tom Taylor, slouched in front of a television set connected to a Microsoft Corp. Xbox machine running “Halo 2,” a popular combat videogame. Mr. Taylor, through an Internet phone strapped over his head, snapped commands at Mr. Estalote back in New York. Mr. Estalote, a computer programmer, pays Mr. Taylor $45 an hour for help improving his “Halo 2” skills.

Both of those angles are important. Computer gaming is becoming important enough that adults are paying for lessons to get better at it. That’s news. That kids are the best tutors — perhaps obvious, but fun. But what’s really interesting to me here is the rise of remote instruction. When we did a scenario planning exercise a few years ago about the future of online publishing, one of the scenarios we explored was the use of the internet to provide remote instructor-led training. Sure enough, more and more news headlines supporting this scenario are starting to appear. (See for example, HP’s RAIL program.)