Impact of Holographic Scenes in Developing Students’ Competencies in Sensing Technologies

Abiola Akanmu
Associate Professor
Virginia Tech

Need: The growth in the adoption of sensing technologies in the construction industry has triggered the need for graduating construction-engineering students equipped with the necessary skills for deploying the technologies. For construction engineering students to acquire technical skills for implementing sensing technologies, it is pertinent to engage them in hands-on learning with the technologies. However, limited opportunities for hands-on learning experiences on construction sites and in some cases, high upfront costs of acquiring sensing technologies are encumbrances to equipping construction engineering students with the required technical skills. Questions/ practical inquiries: Inspired by opportunities offered by mixed reality, this research explored an interactive holographic learning environment that can afford learners an experiential opportunity to acquire competencies for implementing sensing systems on construction projects. Firstly, this research investigated the required competencies for deploying sensing technologies on construction projects. The current state of sensing technologies in the industry and sensing technology education in construction engineering and management programs and the agreeability of industry and academia’s perceptions of the integration of sensing technologies in construction engineering and management curricula were investigated. The learning contents of the holographic learning environment were driven by the identified competencies. The research assessed the impact of holographic scenes on enhancing the learning of sensing technologies and investigated the influence of individual differences in spatial skills and demographics on the interaction with holographic scenes.Outcomes: This research contributes to the definition of the domain-specific skills required of the future workforce for implementing sensing technologies in the construction industry and how such skills can be developed and enhanced within a mixed reality-learning environment. Through concise outline and sequential design of the user interface, this research further revealed that knowledge scaffolding could improve task performance in a holographic learning environment. This research contributes to the body of knowledge by advancing immersive experiential learning discourses previously confined by technology. It opens a new avenue for both researchers and practitioners to further investigate the opportunities offered by mixed reality for future workforce development. Broader impacts: The success of this research will promote equity in learning opportunities by providing opportunities for under-resourced institutions to equip students with the technical skills needed in the construction industry. The research will also advance the preparedness of future workforce to implement innovation in industries that are currently adopting sensing technologies. For industries that are yet to adopt these technologies, the prepared workforce will create awareness of the opportunities offered by the technologies. This will increase workforce competency, prevent unemployment, and promote technological advancement. Furthermore, special sessions and presentations on future sensing needs of the industry, preparing the future technical workforce, and supporting pedagogical technologies can be presented at conferences, meetings, and workshops organized by industry practitioners. This will further strengthen existing Academia-Industry partnership and facilitate broad dissemination of the research results. The learning environment can also be adapted for industrial training workshops and outreaches to K-12 schools. While the training workshops will advance the competencies of current workforce in the construction industry, the outreaches will foster the interests of K-12 students in engineering careers.


Omobolanle Ogunseiju, Virginia Tech, Virginia, VA; Diana Bairaktarova, Virginia Tech, Virginia, VA; Farrokh Jazizadeh Karimi, Virginia Tech, Virginia, VA; Doug Bowman, Virginia Tech, Virginia, VA