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SIOP 2010: End of Day 2

2010 April 10
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by Richard N. Landers
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SIOP 2010 Coverage
General: Schedule Planning | Lament Over Wireless Coverage
Live-Blogs: Day1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Daily Summaries: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

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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