Gamification in Cognitive Assessments

Location: Can be done in home location, with occasional visits to Holsworthy Barracks, Sydney, NSW

Duration: 5 months

Please note: Due to the sensitivity and security of this project, students must have Australian Citizenship to apply. Any applicants not meeting this requirement will automatically be deemed ineligible for this project.

Research to be Conducted 

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) need a cognitive assessment tool that reflects the current dynamic and complex environment of modern warfare. A key trait required in many specialised roles within ADF Personnel is problem solving. Currently problem solving skills are assessed through traditional cognitive tests, such as the 3 jugs test. These traditional tests may not adequately assess the fluid intelligence utilised during problem solving in complex and dynamic environments. Research has indicated that an individual’s ability to problem solve in a complex environment is not always reliably measured using multiple choice questionnaires (Shute, 2011).

In recent times, there has been considerable research in designing problem solving assessments that combine proven cognitive assessment methods with gaming technology. An advantage of this approach is that the assessment can be integrated into the learning process, avoiding potential issues that can arise when there is clear delineation between learning and assessment Additionally, gaming paradigms can increase the engagement of participants (Santhanam, De Liu, & Shen, 2016). Using gaming technology may improve the construct validity of cognitive assessments. More research is necessary to assess the utility of gaming approaches in the ADF selection and assessment context.

A literature review is required, focusing on how the gamification of cognitive assessments may be applicable in the context of selection and training for highly specialised Defence roles. The relevant skills include problem solving and fluid intelligence, and other related constructs. The impact of emotional intelligence is also likely and the review should also focus on where EI has been applied in this context. The review would identify the ways that assessments have been gamified, their validity and their relevance to a military setting, in both selection and training environments.

Skills Wish List 

If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:


  • Ability to conduct a literature review and meta-analysis
  • Knowledge of human problem solving and decision-making constructs


  • Familiarity with military, aviation, police or emergency services environments
  • Familiarity with personnel selection and assessment modalities
  • Familiarity with gamification concepts and methods

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcome for Defence is an understanding of whether the gamification of dynamic cognitive assessments is likely to improve the identification of personnel with appropriate cognitive skills for specialist roles.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

Ongoing until Candidate Successful


APR – 1274