CfP Minitrack: HICSS 47 (2014)

Call for Papers

Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 47 (HICSS-47)
Hilton Wakikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii, January 6-9, 2014

Minitrack:      Skills Acquisition and Training
Track:             Collaboration Systems and Technology
URL:               HICSS CFP or (

What is the Minitrack about?

This mini-track explores how Information Systems and Technology (IS/IT) can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of skills acquisition and training and the implications of recent information systems advances on pedagogy in skills acquisition. Work-integrated training supported by assigned mentors provides superior outcomes; however, there are significant downsides including significant investments of time, cost, and side effects such as inauthentic and insufficient solutions causing long-term health and safety challenges to the organisation or financial damages. Yet, an alternative to labour-intensive, human-focused mentoring exists. Advanced technology allows stakeholders to design and implement authentic, engaging, stress-inducing scenarios that will develop learners’ capabilities under simulated pressure, in preparation to manage real and genuinely stressful situations.  The mini-track targets contributions that bring together IS/IT, pedagogy, and practice while exploring the development of authentic training environments for the future workers. Much research has been completed on innovative IS/IT approaches to education; however, little work has been done on synthesising these approaches. This mini-track addresses theoretical and practical topics to improve the skills training, synthesising and bringing together a range of contemporary approaches including virtual environments, gamification, communication and collaboration, authentic education, assessment, socialising, and social media; interdisciplinary contributions are encouraged, particularly research incorporating elements of psychology, and human resources.

The mini-track aims for contributions that support stakeholders in advanced skills acquisition and training by providing an efficient and effective environment; i.e., where on-site training is not possible due to cost or safety. In addition, we are interested in methods that enhance learners’ engagement and motivation to provide superior outcomes. Special interest is placed upon papers that address the following topics; however, other, related papers are also welcomed; see below for more details:

  • Skills Management
  • Stress and pressure with ‘extraordinary events’
  • Skills Assessment
  • Authenticity
  • Health and Safety
  • Social Implications
  • Virtual environments
  • System Complexity
  • Gamification
  • Case Studies

Who is organising the Minitrack?

Torsten Reiners, Curtin University, Australia ( [Primary Contact]
Lincoln Wood, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (
Sue Gregory, University of New England, Australia (
(click here for more information on the nDiVE team)

Important Dates

June 15, 2013 Submit full manuscripts "Aug 15 2013" Acceptance Notifications "Sept 15 2013"  Submit final (camera-ready) paper "Oct 1 2013" Early Registration fee deadline "October 15 2013" Author registration deadline (at least one author must register) "January 6-9 2014" Conference

How to submit?

Follow author instructions:

Technical Area / Topics of the Session

The mini-track aims for contributions that support stakeholders in advanced skills acquisition and training by providing an efficient and effective environment; i.e., where on-site training is not possible due to cost or safety. In addition, we are interested in methods that enhance learners’ engagement and motivation to provide superior outcomes. Special interest is placed upon papers that address the following topics; however, other, related papers are also welcomed:

  • Virtual environments: The location for skills training can be on-site, but often takes also place in simulated virtual environments. The best-known virtual environments are flight simulators (e.g., to train pilots) and virtual operating rooms (e.g., to train medical staff). We seek contributions on how different technology (e.g., augmented reality, 3D environment, and virtual worlds), scenarios (e.g., Management of Logistics, Transport, Operations, and Warehousing), or tools (e.g., using specific vehicles, customer contacts, or software) can be used to aid skills training.
  • Authenticity: Despite significant advances in IS/IT, contemporary educational processes remain better-suited to past eras. Greater authenticity in training is demanded by employers, who note that university graduates frequently have not mastered fundamental skills and abilities in their largely class-room-bound learning environments. Site-visits, although dangerous and difficult to manage, provide some relief, but are costly and challenging. Advanced virtual environments can overcome many of these challenges, ensuring highly authentic and safe learning environments.
  • System Complexity: Contemporary business systems have become extraordinarily complex, with increasingly fragmented supply chains spanning the globe. In practice, this means that new workers may be unaware of the impact of their actions, particularly where the results are not clearly visible to them (i.e., separated by space, where an action in a factory in China may have an impact on a manufacturing process undertaken in Australia using imported components) or occur much later (i.e., separated by time, making cognisant connection between cause and effect difficult to capture). Learning experiences and training environments need to capture not only low-level, operational details but must also connect these so that learners can comprehend the ‘ripple effect’ of interconnected processes over contemporary, connected supply chains.
  • Stress and pressure with ‘extraordinary events’: While it is clear that pilots gain great advantage in simulated training, encompassing disastrous scenarios, few other professions engage in such authentic and wide-ranging training; it is more normal for most workers to experience a disaster or extraordinary event and simply manage the best they can. Simulated training can incorporate stressful and high-pressure scenarios to increase the range of responses of learners, providing them with the confidence to later manage similar situations in real environments.
  • Gamification: Learning from a book is dead-boring for most students. Gamification is the incorporation of game-based elements in non-game settings, particularly incorporating a sense of fun, passion, and play into the activity; gamification of learning processes can help engage and motivate learners. In coming years most firms will have some gamified processes; virtual worlds are well-established, -understood, and –researched, providing a suitable platform to explore gamification applications in educational settings.
  • Assessment: Existing university-based approaches to assessment are non-authentic, paper-or-electronic-document-based. While this captures learners’ capabilities in a narrow sense, these traditional approaches can be extended (in conjunction with authentic education) to encompass a wider array of methods of assessing student learning and progression in increasingly realistic and authentic learning. This requires a strong pedagogical foundation supported by ample IS/IT ability and instructional design.
  • Health and Safety: Employees in many industries face the real risk of incapacity or death through their normal working day. Such occurrences (e.g., resulting in medium- or long-term absence) impact on families or the community; minor incidents have a significant impact on employers. As an example, within Australia the work-related injuries and fatalities costs rose to $60.6b in 2008-2009, accounting for 4.8% of GDP as 392,700 workers received assistance. Furthermore, the impact on the workforce is asymmetric; younger workers, less experienced workers often receive less job-related training and experience higher rates of injuries.
  • Social Implications: cross-cultural responses to given stimuli differ; this can be complex to address in standard pedagogical models; however, IS/IT-supported approaches can provide a strongly individualised and customised learning environment, more easily tailored to accommodate the learning requirements of individuals.
  • Skills Management: While acquisition of skills is crucial, for auditing, insurance, and regulatory purposes it is also necessary in many industries to provide or document ‘verification of competency’ of staff conducting specific tasks. Thus, tasks may be scheduled only to specific staff meeting the required levels creating scheduling challenges (e.g., meeting constraints that only specific staff can undertake a job, which may be required before other staff commence subsequent tasks in a project) ensuring , while training programmes can be specifically targeting employees and developed to provide long-term up-skilling.
  • Case Studies: Many different approaches have been implemented to varying degrees with different levels of success. We welcome case studies of both successful and unsuccessful implementations, providing insights and lessons for future developments, academics, and professionals.

Accepted contributions should be focussed on skills acquisition and training; papers covering specific technologies, software, processes, or use cases have to demonstrate their fit for this mini-track.

Contributors and participants of this mini-track

  • gain an understanding of the importance of skills acquisition and training;
  • learn about the importance to use innovative Information Systems and Technology;
  • provide a forum for intellectual interchange;
  • distribute research findings; and
  • establish an inter-disciplinary community interested in skills acquisition and training.


Torsten Reiners is Senior Lecturer in Logistics at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. His research and teaching experiences are in the areas of operations research (meta-heuristics/simulations models for container terminals), fleet logistics, information systems and several topics in eLearning and software development. His PhD-thesis Simulation and OR with SmartFrame demonstrated concepts for didactical models. Besides scientific publications, he conducts research in semantic networks to improve cross-border communication, (e)learning and machine translation. Dr Reiner’s interests also include virtual worlds and their interconnectivity/exchange without barriers. This research includes the development of adaptive systems, automatic processing, analysis, and evaluation of documents, innovative platforms in combination with emerging technologies like mobile devices. Torsten Reiners is co-founder of the Second Life Island University of Hamburg and Students@work, an initiative to promote education in Web 3D as well as the value of students’ work.

Lincoln Wood is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in operations, logistics, and supply chain management at Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand) and an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Information Systems, Curtin Business School (Australia). He received the CSCMP’s Young Researcher Award in 2009 in the USA and later earned his PhD at the University of Auckland. He draws on a range of industry experience in distribution companies and an international consulting company. While at Auckland he developed a strong interest in effective supply chain education and in 2010 he received the Outstanding Research Award at the International Higher Education Conference. He has published in leading international journals including Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, The Service Industries Journal, and Habitat International.

Sue Gregory is a long term adult educator and Lecturer in ICT in the School of Education, Research Fellow with the DEHub research institute as well as NSW SiMERR-ICT Representative at the University of New England. She is Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Virtual Worlds Working Group and project leader of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council funded project. She is responsible for training pre-service and postgraduate education students on how to incorporate technology into their teaching. Since 2007 Sue has been researching Second Life with her students with respect to the various learning opportunities that virtual worlds provide and has been involved in many projects on the efficacy of virtual worlds.



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