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VR crane operator tests may predict results of real-life exams: study

April 22, 2020

Fairfax, VA — Virtual reality could provide a reliable measure in predicting a candidate’s ability to pass a crane certification exam, results of a recent study published by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators indicate.

Researchers tracked the performance of 40 certification candidates, all men with an average age of 40 and an average crane experience of six years. The candidates were given 24 hours of classroom training in preparation from the actual crane test and written exams, and four hours of real-life crane practice. Before the VR test, they received a 45-minute primer. The simulated crane exam “followed the structure and sequence of the actual NCCCO certification test.”

“The likelihood of a candidate passing the VR test but failing the subsequent parallel test on an actual crane is 5.5%,” Authentic Testing President Wallace Judd, designer and author of the study, said in a March 26 press release from the NCCCO Foundation. “The likelihood that a candidate will get the same pass/fail score on both the VR test and the actual crane is [87%].”


Judd cautioned, however, that further studies are needed.

“This study has significant implications for the way virtual reality is viewed in the professional assessment community,” Judd said, “and in that respect it is truly groundbreaking. However, additional studies will be required to determine conclusively whether it would be appropriate to certify a candidate (using) VR technology as a replacement for an actual crane.”