Assessment Centers are highly prized for giving employers the ability to observe job candidates performing job-related skills in a simulated environment. When done well, these simulated work environments can be effective strategies to observe problem-solving skills and decision making and to identify critical areas for development. Assessment Centers can also be quite costly and cumbersome to run requiring the involvement of many psychologists to observe and interpret behavior.
By placing an Assessment Center in a virtual world, such as the VirBELA Leadership Assessment Simulation, we can capture data about decision making while reducing the need for human observer and minimizing the subjective nature of observations.
Tycoon Systems has partnered with VirBELA on a number of projects centered on assessment centers and virtual worlds to form our VirBELA Leadership Assessment Simulation. Tycoon’s business simulations provide the focused activities around which the Assessment Center is built. Teams organize around the engaging challenges, risks, and goals provided by the simulation. The virtual world provides the “physical” environment to structure interactions. Team dynamics and leadership behaviors are tracked online using technology such as VOIP to track communication and heat mapping to track focus.
For example, we monitored voice activity to assess the volume, frequency, and timing of communication for each team member. A subset of results is shown here. The winning team showed high volume and an equal level of contribution by all members. Promising initial results indicate that there is much more to learn about possible uses of online simulations and virtual world technology to assess and develop leaders. Assessment Centers leverage these organizing principles immerse participants in the experience so they can observe leaders in action and assess readiness for new positions. Traditional Assessment Centers are costly, difficult to set up, time-consuming, and require human psychologists to observe behaviors. Virtual assessments centers offer an appealing alternative.