Virtual reality

During 2019, Competenz ventured into the new frontier of virtual reality (VR) assessment and training, partnering with a range of public and private stakeholders

Virtual workplace


The partnership, which includes the Ministry of Social Development, Prefab NZ and Joy Business Academy, was formed to begin developing a VR manufacturing micro- credential related to prefabricated housing.

The micro-credential is built off newly created VR, developed by Auckland-based learning designers Joy Business Academy (JBA). It features a lifelike recreation of Fletcher Building’s Wiri-based prefabrication factory, machinery and processes. This serves as an introduction for those considering entering the manufacturing industry for prefabricated housing.

VR, an immersive digital tool, transports learners immediately, safely and under expert remote guidance, to a world where they can safely practice (and be assessed on) jobs that are technically difficult or expensive to recreate in real life.

It saves employers time and money, as it can radically reduce training times with little cost and virtually no risk. It also improves flexibility of training and assessment. Training scenarios often involve more than one learner, allowing for rich communication and feedback from both participants and the assessor to improve performance.

This method of assessment will be a first for Competenz and may help overcome our assessors’ issue of the need to travel throughout New Zealand to assess in person.

With VR, two trainees in different locations can be assessed at the same time, with an assessor in a third location. Assessors can respond in real time and the session can be recorded for evidence of competency. Skills such as teamwork, critical thinking and communication will be assessed.

It will also help learners with limited numeracy and literacy skills who respond well to learning and training through gaming.

The initiative is part of the government’s employment strategy to support industries and regions to thrive by ensuring they are well served by the skills and training system.

This Competenz manufacturing micro-credential is expected to be released to industry in late 2020.