Outofservice.com is a collection of online personality tests that address topics such as the Big 5 personality dimensions, moral attitudes, and self-censorship. Users can anonymously take the tests and receive free, immediate results. A brief literature review provides insight into the research process and also into research results (with particular emphasis on the Big 5 framework). The website is easy to navigate, and the tests are easy to access and complete. Instructors teaching a range of undergraduate psychology courses could incorporate the site in class discussions and assignments.
Type of Material:
This site is a collection of online personality tests that provide immediate feedback to site visitors while also informing current research studies.
This site can be used as in-class assignment to generate discussion about personality or about research design. Instructors also could assign one or more of the tests as an out-of-class assignment.
This site does not require any technology beyond an Internet browser. The reviewers were able to successfully access the site using current versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
• Learners will assess themselves on selected dimensions of personality.
Target Student Population:
• While the site is useful and interesting to all who hold an interest in personality, it may be particularly beneficial for undergraduate college students who are studying psychology and learning about psychology tests and surveys.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
• Personality is an always-popular subject in psychology, with self-quizzes captivating many people. Outofservice.com places particular focus on the Big Five theory of personality, which is an important area of personality research. The included research abstracts (which illustrate results) add credibility to the site.
• The concepts and material on the site are presented in simple, nontechnical language. Beginner level psychology students likely will feel comfortable with this approach.
• Self-tests such as these can be viewed as frivolous. Instructors who use the tests in connection with class assignments will want to couch them in scholarly research and also within the larger context of personality research.
• Although certain tests are described as "valid" or "well-accepted," the reliability and validity of the tests are not specifically reported. Instructors will want to address and discuss this issue in class.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
• The content and tests introduce students to some basic concepts of personality psychology. The research abstracts (under the "Research & Results" link may cultivate appreciation for how researchers attempt to measure personality characteristics, and in light of cultural, demographic, and age differences.
• A beginner level student will be able to understand the material in a very short time.
• The site could be more scholarly, with greater attention to research beyond that which the author was himself involved in. The "Short History of This Site" link provides a basic explanation of the site's background and purpose, and some links provide brief explanatory information (e.g., the Big 5 personality framework). However, instructors will need to provide a larger learning context for students (e.g., learning goals, pertinent background information from the field of personality psychology that allows for comparison across theories).
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
• The material can be understood by any level of reader or population.
• The site is easy to navigate and click through.
• Students who are accustomed to multimedia and contemporary graphic design will miss these effects as the site does not currently incorporate images or media.
Other Issues and Comments:
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