The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology is the primary organizational affiliation for industrial/organizational psychologists, and its annual conference has a substantial impact each year on the thinking and networking of the field. So have you ever wondered who the most prolific presenters are each year?
Well I did. And not just because I thought I’d be on it! That’s very cynical of you! (Wait, was that out loud?)
This year, 2724 different people appear on the SIOP program. It’s huge! Who are the biggest influencers? The Top 20 appear below (because who can resist a listicle?), which are really 21, because there was an 8-way tie for 14th! If you don’t appear on the list, never fear – you can find your precise ranking and value as a human being by taking a look at the original data here.
And if it’s not blatantly obvious by now, I think judging yourself on rankings is a little silly. This is just for fun!
|1st||14||Salas, Eduardo||University of Central Florida||His expertise includes helping organizations on how to foster teamwork, design and implement team training strategies, facilitate training effectiveness, manage decision making under stress, develop performance measurement tools, and design learning environments.|
|2nd||13||Ryan, Ann Marie||Michigan State University||Her major research interests involve improving the quality and fairness of employee selection methods, and topics related to diversity and justice in the workplace.|
|3rd||11||Boyce, Anthony S||Aon Hewitt, Inc.||In my research and development capacity, I have led the creation of more accurate, efficient, engaging, and globally relevant selection and assessment processes by using computerized adaptive testing methods, web-based job simulations, and media-rich item types.|
|4th||10||Joseph, Dana||University of Central Florida||Her research interests include emotions in the workplace, employee engagement, workplace deviance, and time and research methods.|
|10||Wang, Mo||University of Florida||He specializes in research areas of retirement and older worker employment, expatriate and newcomer adjustment, occupational health psychology, leadership and team processes, and advanced quantitative methodologies.|
|6th||9||Carter, Nathan T||University of Georgia||My main area of research involves understanding the use of psychological measures in organizational settings.|
|9||Dalal, Dev K||University of Connecticut||His research interests include judgment and decision making, applications of measurement, item response theory, structural equation modeling, and research methods and design.|
|9||Hebl, Michelle (Mikki)||Rice University||My research focuses on issues related to diversity and discrimination. I am particularly interested in examining subtle ways in which discrimination is displayed, and how such displays might be remediated by individuals and/or organizations.|
|8||Allen, Tammy D||University of South Florida||Her research centers on employee career development and employee well-being at both work and home. Specific interests include work-family issues, career development, mentoring relationships, organizational citizenship, mindfulness, and occupational health. (Ed. I also hear she’s tam-tastic!)|
|9th||8||Burke, Shawn||University of Central Florida||C. Shawn Burke’s expertise includes teams and their leadership, team adaptability, team training, measurement, evaluation, and team effectiveness.|
|8||Cucina, Jeffrey M||US Customs and Border Protection||The man, the myth. (Ed. He didn’t really write that. He’s missing from the Internet! Like a ghost!)|
|8||Kozlowski, Steve W||Michigan State University||My primary research interests focus on the processes by which individuals, teams, and organizations learn, develop, and adapt.|
|8||Oswald, Fred||Rice University||His research and grants deal with personnel selection and testing in corporate, military and educational environments; more specifically, his wide array of publications and grants deal with the issues and findings related to developing, implementing, analyzing, interpreting and meta=analyzing various measures of individual differences (e.g., personality, ability, biodata, situational judgment).|
|14th||7||Behrend, Tara S||The George Washington University||Her research interests center around understanding and resolving barriers to computer-mediated work effectiveness, especially in the areas of training, recruitment, and selection.|
|7||Dahling, Jason||The College of New Jersey||His research and teaching interests focus on applications of self-regulation research to understanding feedback processes, employee deviance, career development, and emotion management in the workplace.|
|7||Fink, Alexis A||Intel Corporation||She is currently leading the Talent Intelligence and Analytics team at Intel. Her team delivers insight that drives business results, including external talent marketplace analytics, and research across leadership, management and employee audiences.|
|7||Hoffman, Brian J||University of Georgia||My primary research interest revolves around the person-perception domain and its application to the assessment of human performance.|
|7||King, Eden B||George Mason University||Dr. King is pursuing a program of research that seeks to guide the equitable and effective management of diverse organizations. Her research integrates organizational and social psychological theories in conceptualizing social stigma and the work-life interface.|
|7||Kuncel, Nathan R||University of Minnesota, Twin Cities||His specialities include the structure and prediction of academic and work performance and the predictive validity of standardized tests and non-cognitive predictors.|
|7||Landers, Richard N||Old Dominion University||His research program focuses upon improving the use of Internet technologies in talent management, especially the measurement of knowledge, skills and abilities, the selection of employees using innovative technologies, and learning conducted via the Internet.|
|7||Martinez, Larry R||Pennsylvania State University||He specializes in stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination across the spectrum of employment experiences (e.g., hiring, interviewing, conflict, turnover, climate, attitudes), particularly from the target’s perspective and the role of nonstigmatized allies in reducing discrimination.|
As I described in my last post, gamification is often misused and abused, applied in ways and in situations where it is unlikely to do much good. When we deploy new learning technologies, the ultimate goal of that change should always be clear, first and foremost. So how do you actually go about setting that sort of goal? In an upcoming issue of Simulation & Gaming, Landers and Landers experimentally evaluate the Theory of Gamified Learning to explore not only how leaderboards can be used to improve learning but also to demonstrate the decision-making process that you should engage in before trying them out. This is important, because leaderboards are one of the more contested tools in the gamification toolkit.
On one hand, they are one of the oldest and still most common forms of gamification across contexts, including the learning context. If you’re over about 25, you probably remember a high school teacher or college professor posting grades outside the classroom with your name and your grade. That’s a leaderboard. We’ve been using them to motivate students for a very long time, although the way we use them has been changing recently.
On the other hand, leaderboards are often considered by gamification practitioners with the term PBL: points, badges, and leaderboards. PBL is often used disparagingly to refer to the most overused of all tools in the gamification toolkit. They are overused because they are the easiest to implement; PBL can be applied just about any situation, even if there’s not really a good reason to do so.
In their paper, the researchers followed the story of a course with a problem that gamification was used to solve. In this course, a semester-long project was assigned on a wiki. The goal of this project was for students to conduct independent research on an assigned topic and write a wiki article about their topic. The hope of the instructor for this project was that students would engage with the wiki project throughout the semester, learning along the way. Unfortunately, as any course instructor knows, students tend to procrastinate. In looking at usage data from past semester, the instructor realized that most of the class would only work on the project the week before it was due.
Given this, the instructor turned to the theory of gamified learning to identify what type of gamification would be best to increase the amount of time students spent working on their project. Leaderboards were chosen because they were persistent throughout the entire semester and could be used to provide very clear, well-defined goals related to the amount of time spent working on the project.
If you’ve taken a look at theory of gamified learning, you’ll recognize this as a gamification effort that can increase a learner behavior or change a learner attitude that we already know is important to learning. We already know that spending more time on an assignment is good for learning! That means the next step is to find a gamification technique that will increase that amount of time.
To test if this actually happened, the researchers randomly split the course in half and assigned the halves to either a wiki gamified with a leaderboard or a wiki without a leaderboard. This experimental design was important in order to conclude that the leaderboard actually caused changes in learning. The results of this study revealed that this approach worked just as expected. In statistical terms, the amount of time spent on the project mediated the relationship between gamification and project scores. On average, students experiencing leaderboards made 29.61 more edits to their project than those without leaderboards.
In actually implementing the leaderboard, two sets of decisions were key. First, all entries on the leaderboard were specifically targeted at increasing the amount of time spent on the leaderboard, which was the focal behavior chosen before the project began. For example, several leaderboard items tracked who had edited their entry the most times as of multiple time points in the course – after one month, after two months, and by the end of the course.
Second, the leaderboard was optional. Key to all gamification efforts is that participants must feel that they have a choice to participate. Just like organizational citizenship behaviors, once you require participation in a game, it’s no longer a game. The same applies to gamification. None of the tasks on the leaderboard were explicitly required to earn a high grade; instead, they simply encouraged students to focus their attention and return frequently to their project.
It’s important to be very clear that this project does not demonstrate that leaderboards always benefit learning. Instead, leaderboards are just one example of the many tools available to gamification designers that can be used depending upon the specific goal of gamification. This time it was leaderboards; next time, it may be action language or game fiction. The key takeaway is that you need to decide exactly what you’re trying to change before you dive into choosing your game elements, and then choose an element to meet your instructional goals.Footnotes:
When any new technology is introduced purported to “revolutionize teaching,” people tend to get skeptical. Teaching has been the target of revolution many times, yet the best teaching now tends to resemble the best teaching millennia ago, at least at its core. Gamification is one of the more recent approaches, right there alongside MOOCs, tablets, and “modular content.” Gamification’s sudden popularity a few years ago led to everyone to gamify everything they could get their hands on, and it didn’t generally work that well.
Such gamification failures are most directly attributable to this sort of revolution-thinking. A course designer has a technology in hand. The course designer has heard that the technology is GREAT. But the course designer doesn’t actually have a clear reason to adopt it. So the course designer just arbitrarily slaps it on all sorts of situations that don’t make even a little bit of sense, observe that gamification doesn’t accomplish what it was never intended to accomplish, and declare it a failure.
That’s an awful shame to me, because gamification has a great deal of potential not necessarily to revolutionize teaching, but to improve it. To help people realize their educational goals a little less painfully, and perhaps with a little more fun.
In an upcoming issue of Simulation & Gaming, Landers presents the Theory of Gamified Learning, which provides a framework by which to deploy gamification successfully in instruction. There are two major ways to do it.
First, gamification efforts can increase a learner behavior or change a learner attitude that we already know is important to learning. For example, we already know that students who take a moment to pause and think about their learning while studying (called meta-cognition) tend to learn more. So a gamification effort targeted at increasing meta-cognition is likely to improve learning. It’s not necessarily going to be transformative or revolutionary or powerful or whatever other gag-inducing word you want to come up with. Instead, it’s quite simple: when we use game elements to help people do what they know they should do anyway, everyone wins.
A great example of this sort of process are gamified fitness apps. Everyone knows they should exercise. We’re bombarded with messages about obesity epidemics and shorter lifespans and all sorts of horrible things. We know this. It’s quite clear at this point – exercise is good for you, vital even. Yet despite that clarity of purpose, it can be quite the fight uphill to drag oneself to the gym. Fitness apps make that a little less of a drag by promising a quick and easy reward/recognition once the workout is complete. It’s not compelling you to act differently. It’s not forcing you to play. It just encourages you to do something that you know you should be doing anyway.
Effective gamification in education that takes this first approach follows the same idea. Effective gamification in education encourages learners to do things they know they should be doing anyway, or perhaps even a step further, it encourages learners to try things they might otherwise be too afraid or indifferent to try.
This is why one of the motivational principles of the Theory of Gamified Learning is that you shouldn’t force learners into participating. Gamification should always recognize and encourage behaviors that are helpful, but not critical. If an activity is critical to learning, it’s not a game. But if it’s something that would be good for learning, game away.
Second, gamification efforts can increase a learner behavior that makes existing instruction more effective. For example, imagine you’ve spent hours developing what is a fabulous set of review questions. You’ve made amazing connections that will make everything so clear! But your learners just aren’t into it. Engagement is low. So we need to increase engagement. This is the process by which review games work – it’s not that the review game itself teaches you anything. Instead, by presenting the review questions as a game, you encourage students to really think about the answers to the questions in a way that they would not otherwise have tried.
Either approach can be effective. But it must be targeted. You can’t simply throw gamification at learning and hope it to stick. One of these two processes must be targeted, which are summarized in the figure below.
So now that we have a process identified, how do we actually go about gamifying? Fortunately, prior research has already explored which aspects of serious games are typically manipulated in order to influence learning. If our goal is to extract some aspect of these games in order to change something about learners, this sounds like a great place to start. These aspects and examples of gamification appear below. Some of these are likely to work better than others, or in combination. But that is where the research is going next!
|Game Attribute||Definition||Example of Gamification|
|Action Language||The method and interface by which communication occurs between a player and the game itself||To participate in an online learning activity, students are now required to use game console controllers (e.g. a PlayStation controller).|
|Assessment||The method by which accomplishment and game progress are tracked||In a learning activity, points are used to track the number of correct answers obtained by each learner as each learner completes the activity.|
|Conflict/Challenge||The problems faced by players, including both the nature and difficulty of those problems||A small group discussion activity is augmented such that each small group competes for the “best” answer.|
|Control||The degree to which players are able to alter the game, and the degree to which the game alters itself in response||A small group discussion activity is restructured such that each decision made by each small group influences the next topic that group will discuss.|
|Environment||The representation of the physical surroundings of the player||A class meeting is moved from a physical classroom to a 3D virtual world.|
|Game Fiction||The fictional game world and story||Lectures, tests, and discussions are renamed adventures, monsters, and councils, respectively.|
|Human Interaction||The degree to which players interact with other players in both space and time||Learners participate in an online system which reports on their assignment progress to other students as they work.|
|Immersion||The affective and perceptual experience of a game||When learning about oceanography, the walls of the classroom are replaced with monitors displaying real-time images captured from the sea floor.|
|Rules/Goals||Clearly defined rules, goals, and information on progress towards those goals, provided to the player.||When completing worksheet assignments on tablet computers, a progress bar is displayed to indicate how much of the assignment has been completed (but not necessarily the number of correct answers, which would fall under “Assessment”).|