One day you wake up and realize that you have been passionately pursuing a specific academic subject for forty or fifty years. Where the does, the time go… I have no idea but what is crystalized from it, is an intense/extensive if not intrinsic knowledge that is remarkably powerful. The primary element in life of staying young and vital is flexibility. Just like a young sapling swaying in the breeze you must be able to move with the ebb and flow of what is in the current domain.
I approach this entire “Gamification” trend with that type of open mind. I would come as a blank canvas and let my experiential sensations color and create the image of what it was … and what it was not.
BUT…..I would apply some criterion that is the Gold Standard and the results of a century plus of Behavioral and Psychological Research.
I was fortunate in this area to have some excellent professors that due to my age have direct linkage back to the Carl Jung and Willian Sheldon. The first group all studied at the Jungian Institute in Zurich and enlightened this young provincial man from a cloistered sub-culture to the big world of Self Discovery.
They had met Jung and were fervent disciplines of the Analytical School. My professors delighted in the rich world of Orthodox Symbolism and Cultural Mythology.
Yet that playfulness stopped at the threshold of the entrance when it came to Psychometrics ( science of psychological assessment) where Reliability, Validity and Veracity where the A, B, Cs of evaluating any type of assessment instrument
VERACITY– Conformity to fact, Accuracy, Habitual Truthfulness
RELIABLITY – the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials
VALIDITY– the quality of being logically or factually sound; soundness or cogency
Without these functionalities, any assessment was a mere “parlor game” for amusement and entertainment… a miss was as good as a mile.
The second influence was my octogenarian CPE Mentor, who was from Harvard and the research assistant to William Sheldon; the father of Constitutional Psychology. Sheldon studied with Jung and formulated his many theories from the Analytical School. Most people know him from his Somatotypes.. Mesomorph, Ectomorph, Endomorph.
From my experience with this sage who had this terrific inclusive love for the world, I broke free from the shackles of my parochialism coming to believe that people not like me were not automatically bad but were just different. In fact, we all were different and that diversity made the world beautiful if not always intriguing. From this illustrious doctor, my observations were focused on Typology that was proven out through Diagnostic Modality.
TYPOLOGY– An analysis or classification based on types or categories
DIAGNOSTIC MODALITY – ..”the way in which something happens or is experienced.” A sensory modality is a way of sensing, like vision or hearing. Modality in someone’s voice gives a sense of the person’s mood. In logic, modality has to do with whether a proposition is necessary, possible, or impossible. In general, a modality is a particular way in which something exists.
From these reference points, I entered the New Century World of Gamification.
I first enjoyed the simplicity and ease of entering the experience. It was non-threating, not too intrusive and in “Our Age of Mistrust” for even the most timid soul; a place where they would feel protected…no Safety Pins necessary here!
The instructions were clear, the type was large and it even had a repetitive quality for those who didn’t absorb it the first type. Unfortunately for “old me” it had a kind of New Age “dumbed down” presentation but I keeping taking a cleansing breathing; urging myself to embrace the light and drink the Kool-Aid.
All the tests were wrapped in a Tech-Savvy environment which is good Marketing 101 and could have been more sophisticated to increase its engagement. I was very disappointed in the website graphics and screen functioning as it had a very 1990’s kind of look… if “old me” noticed this… their younger clients saw this even more rapidly… with all the talent in the world.. the question I asked was WHY?
The tests ranged from one – five minutes each, which is appropriate for the attention span of most people. The tasks were simple and repetitive with clear objective and expectations. They do require some excretion of Cognitive Energy but not too much. The test designers wanted the tasks to be “fun” experiences and no way harsh or taxing. This is also how they marketed their product…Come have fun and get a job.
I do applaud them on the length of the total testing time. They got this right! Twenty to thirty minutes is perfect in the range of time invested to results obtained; for this is my greatest criticism of the “Gold Standard” of all Personality Assessment tests.
The test taking time of these old-school assessments range in the forty to fifty-minute zone. Few people today have the “bandwidth” or desire to invest that much of their personal resources in a “one-off experience”. Yet their quandary is how do you shorten the ninety questions without completely compromising the Reliability and Validity of their world-famous assessment? That is maybe why it has not been improved in the seventy years of its existence. This is one of the primary motivations that spurred on this Gamification Concept.
Having designed several assessment tests of my own, gaming the test was easy as the underlying objective was so apparent. In one test, just by using one key and pressing it as fast as you could, put you in the top 1%. The other challenge was the results of the test varied beyond the Standard Mean and skewed me into different quadrants.
In their “Trust” measurement, I ranged from the dead bottom all the way to the top of the top in the next test. Sorry to say in the realm of Reliability & Validity these Gamification Tests Failed miserably. The very measure of length and complexity that I criticize the old-school Gold Standard test is what produces a more consistent statistical curve… Sorry!
In terms of Veracity they did captured some good insights of my persona. Even under the constant gaming of their assessment certain “threads” ( be it only one or two) emerged. This also demonstrated there was some sound Diagnostic Modality to their testing logic. Creating these type of Assessment Instruments takes research and time….I’ve been working on my assessment tests for thirty years and my young associates will be working on it for another thirty. It is a work in constant progress as we are in the midst of a New Century Technological Revolution that is continually changing the paradigm.
The Gamification Result Report had too many points of measurement and ranges for an individual to have a “snapshot” view of the experience. If you are designing a Plug-N-Play, Know & Go, One & Done Experience, then the test report must be in the same Simplicity Format. This has been my secondary criticism of the Old-School Gold Standard test. They have too many Typological Categories for people to instantly Absorb, Integrate and Apply.
People in our times have been acculturated to Instant Information that reveals its insights in a staccato fashion… this is the smart thinking of our age.
These Gamification Assessments intentional used this “complexity” to support its Validity. As much as this may be good marketing, it is not good science. The great challenge that remains for these tests is to use the information that they obtain in this 20-30-minute experience and give the participant some insightful direction in less than ten specifics captions. This is how people think today and are accustomed through their mobile devices to personalize the experience.
The greatest turn off for me was the liberal social agendas that some of these Gamification sites were trying to force feed me. I am not easily offended but the constant rubbing of my nose in the unfairness of “Patriarch” by the empowered liberal elites in their Ivy League cloisters supported by millions of dollars of their Wall Street Investment banker friends has nothing to do with a place of common ground where I can have a neutral experience without feeling judged.
To a poor boy like myself , whose Aspirational Dreams saw the lifting up of my entire ethnic sub group through the opportunities offered in our most wondrous Nation, I have spent a life-time promoting Personal Merit above the Power of Privilege.
Nowhere in these Gamification Assessments are these values defined as integral quality of leadership. In the New Century these are the “Qualities of Self” that corporations are looking for, as they are the type of “people” that will enrich the Cultures of their Organizations; providing them with Creativity and Growth.
Much work remains for the Disciples of Gamification to take their Pseudo- Science and re-create it into a Functional Assessment System. Personality and Talent Assessment is successful in the many layers of cumulative discoveries that enhance the accuracy of the final product.
Unlike one of the “Gamificationers” that wrote on their website of “being acquired” the utility of our passionate work for the past several generations is lifting people up and improving the quality of thier lives and not to “cash out” with their Investment Banker friends from Wall Street. We just had an election where this Populous Theme resulted in a massive defeated for this special interest group…got to say it…something very specious about your intent!
With each victory of everyone that uses our service we build more than a brand or reputation but increase the Good in the World. This Altruism maybe Idealistic to some but is the first thing that come to mind when people think about you and what you represent.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Let the Aspirations of the Least and their Success be the measure of effectiveness of the Insightful Wisdom of those that possess the Most… Life is just that simple.