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Future Research

Given the relative infancy of gamification and serious games as selection tools, there is a pressing need for research to further explore and better understand the many areas covered in this chapter. At this point, the following three categories are the most critical: validity, scoring methods and adverse impact. Aside from simulations, there is very little evidence regarding the validity of serious games when used for selection purposes. Criterion-related validity studies, especially those examining incremental validity compared to other (traditional) predictors of job performance, have yet to be published. Beyond that, comparative validity studies examining different game elements, genres, job performance criteria, multimedia styles and other characteristics would lead to further advancements.

Serious games also represent an opportunity to develop and refine new forms of scoring methods beyond the traditional question-and-answer approaches. Even in a relatively short game, hundreds or even thousands of potentially ‘scoreable’ events can be captured. Like consumers of other forms of ‘big data’, the challenge lies not in capturing the data, but rather in making sense of all the data that are available. Of course, from a theoretical standpoint, the question of which data should be captured and scored in the first place is paramount. However, there are certain to be advocates for the merits of ‘dustbowl empiricism’ (i.e., if the data correlate, they should be used even if the reason is not known) when the practicalities of traditional approaches are stretched to their limits.

Despite the shrinking gaps among gamer demographic groups, little is known about relative game performance across these groups. More importantly, which types of game have more (or less) adverse impact? What game characteristics can be modified in order to reduce adverse impact? Are there expected differences based on KSAOs measured? Or, better yet, do games result in little to no adverse impact in general, given their engaging and immersive nature?

On a broader level, leveraging ongoing research in other fields (e.g., education, training and development) is highly recommended to the extent it is relevant in a selection context. As the use of serious games for selection becomes more common, future research needs will become broader and deeper, assuming the relatively fundamental directions noted above are covered appropriately. Finally, as gaming technology advances, new research opportunities will evolve.

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