SIOP 2010: End of Day 2
Day 2 was more eventful than Day 1, but only because of my research interests – this was a training day!
At 8AM came an interactive poster session on the use of games and online technologies facilitated by my ODU colleague, Karin Orvis. There were a pretty wide range of posters, with topics including e-mentoring (an area that has always interested me, but I just never got into it), the style and customization of tutor agents, and the influence of specific game features on learning. The primary conclusion I made from the group? We are at just the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding how people learn on computers, Internet or otherwise.
Afterward, I caught the tail end of Advances in Training Evaluation Techniques. Nothing too surprising here, which was a little odd, since it was called “Advances.” One presenter tried to convince us that they investigated a new level of Kirkpatrick model, but it was a little odd. The Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation splits outcomes into four categories, which it labels Level 1 – 4: reactions to training, learning, behavioral change, and organizational outcomes. They claimed to investigate a new Level 5 – return on investment. But ROI is an organizational outcome too. So that doesn’t make any sense. The other presentation I saw was very, very practitioner-focused – but still nothing too surprising. I guess that means we’re not concerned with advances in training evaluation so much as getting practitioners to follow things we’ve known for years. Which I suppose is the same thing.
After the coffee break came a symposium on “serious games,” which are games used for purposes other than entertainment, which by the way is a definition only an I/O that doesn’t play games could come up with. All of these presentations were quite interesting, although being a researcher in this area, I am of course nitpicky. The first was a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of simulation games, which seemed to oversimplify the psychology and content of the studies a bit. But of course, it was a presentation and not a journal article – I will just assume the full work is more complicated. The second study was an examination of goal setting in relation to training performance, and was by far the most psych-centered presentation. The third was a complex study breaking down models of game components and using those components to build training games (i.e. variously combining components became the conditions of a primary study), and was very clever. The fourth took a similar approach, but in a field study. Altogether, I think this session was the most interesting I have attended at SIOP this year.
After this, I sat in very briefly on Transfer of Training: New Findings and New Directions starring SIOP President Kurt Kraiger as the discussant, which was packed. Unfortunately I had a committee meeting to attend, so I missed 75% of it – but it started out pretty strong.
After the meeting, I caught the tail of Reading Between Lines: Analyzing and Visualizing Organizational Text/Qualitative Data, where Google and Sun presented various current methods of analyzing qualitative data. Now, I’m not normally a fan of qualitative data (it’s difficult if not impossible to produce generalizable results from such analysis), but there are a number of situations where it’s useful – when you’re just starting to get into a research question, or when you’re able to get access to a full population, for example. Google in particular presenting a fantastically interesting method by which to analyze such data, involving tag clouds and a technique they apparently invented called centering resonance analysis. It’s just fantastic. But I may only say that because it’s pretty.
After meeting with another colleague (Gordon Schmidt), we both attended Andrea Goldberg’s introduction to social networking for I/O psychology: Do You Tweet? Social Media and the Implications for I/O Psychology. It was as comprehensive as it possibly could have been in only an hour, and our conversation afterwards at the practitioner’s/tweetup/Linkedin event at Gibney’s Pub was also fantastic. Only one phrase can really summarize it: viva la revolution!
The evening was rounded out with our annual ODU alumni dinner, the APT party, the Kenexa party, and the MSU alumni/friends party. And now I’m exhausted. At least I’ll get 6.5 hours of sleep tonight – that’s an hour gain over the last two days!
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