March 3: Skill acquisition through gaming and social networking — findings from a field visit to Brazil

TASCHA Talk: Judith Yaaqoubi

March 3, 2011

Judith Yaaqoubi, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, discussed initial and revised instrument development for an investigation on if and how people acquire skills through non-instrumental uses of public access computers.

This in-depth study is part of the Global Impact Study and is led by Professor Beth Kolko. The talk started with some background information and Judith discussed the structure of the study, the research questions that underlie it, and how they initially planned to collect data.

In particular, Judith discussed a series of computer-based exercises (CBE) developed by the project to try and quantitatively measure skill acquisition among varying populations of computer users. The CBEs are a relatively innovative form of data collection for a developing world study, and Judith explained why the project chose that route. She then talked about the findings from a field visit she and Kolko did in September where they encountered a series of obstacles to the CBE method they had not anticipated. She talked about those obstacles in detail, how the team dealt with them in the field, and how they have revised the instruments since then to overcome the challenges of diverse public access sites.

View the presentation.

TASCHA Talks are bi-weekly sessions to share, discuss, and advance new ideas around topics related to technology and social change. Learn more at