One of the first things I did when I got to the HFES conference this year was to scan the program looking for any research on games, gamification, or game-based training.
And I found a really good one. This study by Rachel Cunningham and her colleagues at Embry-Riddle compared two very similar tablet-based games. Both games requires players to collaborate on the same tablet surface. So it was not remote collaboration, it was real-time co-located collaboration.
There has been a long history of movements in the business, psychology, and human factors communities to help people overcome the natural tendencies in decision making that often lead us astray. You know – what we often refer to as biases but that evolved to help us make fast, frugal decisions in the muddy context we call the real world.
If you believe this article in Harvard Business Review, a team of researchers led by Carey Morewedge at Boston University may have discovered a viable approach. They used a serious game to train participants in intelligence analysis.
I have been voraciously reading the literature on creativity over the past year. Not the crap that comes out of the self-help literature or even in the entrepreneurship mass media. These are pretty trivial and often shortchange the science. There have been many serious research studies that have broad implications for individual and business creative output. But I am not planning on sharing that research today. That will have to wait for another day. Today I want to share a really interesting creative exercise that seems to follow (intentional or not I cannot say) some of the guidelines suggested by the research.
This exercise is the Escape Room (warning – gated). You may have seen it on an episode of the Big Bang Theory last year.
I am not sure if any of you are fans of the work of Annie Murphy Paul – I have been following her blog and some other publications for several years now. Her area of expertise is training and learning, both for children in K-12 and for adults in higher education, workplace training, and general consumer education such as wellness and nutrition.
Today, I want to focus on a new course she is offering on how testing should be integrated into education so that it facilitates learning. You can tell from her past work as well as the contents of this course that she is not talking about the typical standardized testing that is torturing (my term, not hers) our K-12 education today. There is a remarkable overlap with her recommendations and the latest in human factors research on education and training.
Synesthesia is a condition where presentation of one perceptual class consistently evokes additional experiences in different perceptual categories. Synesthesia is widely considered a congenital condition, although an alternative view is that it is underpinned by repeated exposure to combined perceptual features at key developmental stages.
When I first heard about synesthesia, I thought it was a little hokey. But when I discovered it was real, I was fascinated – perhaps because I don’t seem to have much sensitivity in my individual senses. To have them multiply active – well – I am jealous.
A recent issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science has a fantastic article from our own Ed Salas and his colleagues that expounds on the needs of teams for extreme missions such as space exploration. For me, this was a dreamy combination of some of my favorite topics: teamwork, space, extreme cases, and ideation.
Researchers from a variety of disciplines are currently working with NASA to prepare for human exploration of Mars in the next decades. Such exploration will take scientific discovery to new heights, providing unprecedented information about the geology, atmosphere, and potential for life on Mars, including previous life, current life, and perhaps even our own lives in the future. To make these unparalleled discoveries, however, astronauts will need to undertake a novel and unprecedented journey. Moreover, the mission to Mars will require a team of crew members who will have to endure and sustain team performance requirements never seen before. Multidisciplinary teams of scientists have begun to provide the needed steps to address this challenge.
I love sharing information like this with you. It irks me when I see all of the lofty promises from companies (that shall remain unnamed, but they advertise so much online that I am sure you know who I am referring to) that their brain training will make you smarter, and solve all of your memory limitations, and turn your kids into the next Einstein. I have shared before the results of studies that show how limited transfer of training is when it comes to cognitive processes. If you practice your working memory span, you can indeed increase your working memory span. But it doesn’t improve anything else, and if you stop practicing you lose the benefits.
One recent study found that older adults could significantly improve their ability to multi-task after playing a specially designed driving video game called NeuroRacer. Another study from researchers at the University of Rochester found that playing action-packed video games improved people’s ability to make quick decisions and ignore distractions.
Here is a case of simple associative learning (stimulus to stimulus, with no specific response) that I think will give you a smile for your weekend. Imagine a dog (one of those little terriers about 8 inches tall – something like this one being placed for the first time in a yard with a two inch tall wooden fence. What do you think is the first thing he would do? Perhaps after briefly exploring the local smells, he would wander outside the fence. Walking over a two inch fence would not even be noticed, let alone a deterrent.
Associative learning is the process by which an association between two stimuli or a behavior and a stimulus is learned.
I have talked before about inexpensive ways to increase learning (here and here). Here is another example for you. I am sure many of you are familiar with Carol Dweck’s wonderful work on mindsets. Brainpickings has one of the best summaries of her work.
One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.
Reebok has developed a product that represents a fantastic example of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle of design. And since I am such a fan of this principle, I want to use it as a subject for discussion today.
The product is called The Checklight and was featured in the October issue of Fast Company…