For this month’s blog, I will look at what is one of the hottest questions in private and public-sector personnel selection – “Should we be gamifying our assessments?” In my opinion, the answer is “Yes!” and I will take this blog to explain why.
“Gamification” falls within the larger topic of “how should I incorporate emerging technologies into my assessment strategies.” Now, one might legitimately ask how it is that someone who started doing math on a slide rule can claim to be an expert on emerging technologies. I will simply remind you that Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Paul Allen, Bill Gates, and I were born at roughly the same time. So, despite huge differences in our net worth, we do share a similar generational zeitgeist.
What Does Gamifying Mean?
Gamifying is one type of Technology Enhanced Assessment (TEA). Related types of TEA include:
- games (so obviously there is a difference between games and gamifying).
- enhanced item types.
- the use of avatars.
- virtual reality.
- big data and advanced algorithms.
Gamification (or gamifying) is defined as “the application of game mechanics, elements, and features to non-game environments,” or in this case “the application of game-type elements to assessments used in personnel selection.” This differs from the use of true games in selection, although the difference is probably more of a continuum than a sharp distinction, as both games and gamification can be used in personnel selection. The differences between games and gamification can be summarized as:
- With games, the person knows they are playing a game, whereas with gamification, the applicant still knows they are taking a test.
- Games are meant to be fun and are structured to have clear rules that define the game play; gamified tests are seen as a more serious activity.
- Games have different play sections and winning is the goal; gamified tests are structured similar to traditional assessments and getting hired is the goal.