Having been in the assessment space for the last decade and a half, I am always looking for new methods and techniques that can offer value in the talent assessment life-cycle. The last couple of years have seen a lot of buzz on Gamification of tests. Can Games or Gamified tests be a game changer in the assessments space? I set out to explore the potential and pitfalls of this new methodology
So what exactly is a ‘Gamified’ test?
A Gamified test uses the interesting medium of games and puzzles to measure cognitive, communication and other skills. The idea of a Gamified test is exciting because of the following reasons:
- A Gamified test takes away the boredom of a regular Q&A test format and makes it interesting for test takers.
- Gamified tests are language-independent making them universal.
- Academic scores and proficiency test scores are not always the best indicators of an individual’s skills. Gamified tests can be a great new method to measure actual abilities rather than stated and observed ability.
- Since the assessment process is new and innovative, there is a huge opportunity to reach out to skilled people en masse.
- There is a huge population of talented “self-taught” people who do not go through the formal education system. Following typical screening processes like exam scores, qualifications etc. does not help in reaching out to this population. Gamified tests on the other hand provide the perfect opportunity to reach out to the self-taught geniuses.
Where all can Gamified tests be used?
Gamified tests can be used to measure a variety of employment skills, attributes and abilities. I think the most effective use of a game is for assessment of skills like coding. Games are a great tool for displaying the application of knowledge. Can the person perform the skills they claim to know? This can be coding, operating simulated machinery or even what skills they use to negotiate or close a sale.
But people are also using games to evaluate creativity, problem-solving abilities, ability to multi-task, concentration, attention to detail and other types of skills. Some games can even be used to understand a person’s personality preferences.
The million dollar question however is ‘Can data derived from a test taker’s game score be linked to attributes of success in a given job role?
There is no doubt that Gamified tests need to be designed with specific set of skills in mind. The game must be carefully designed to measure what it purports to measure and that measure must be something valuable in the job..
So are we there yet?…My view is that Gamified tests will very soon become the ‘standard’ to measure a few specific skills, behaviours and for particular populations (students, technical folks).
The concept is still in its infancy and there are still a lot of gaps in establishing the reliability and validity of this methodology. But with the speed at which technology is advancing, we are sure to see a lot more people adopting this as an integral part of their selection strategy in the near future. Me, I am a believer!