Impact of Interactive Holographic Learning Environment for bridging Technical Skill Gaps of Future Smart Construction Engineering and Management Students

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Virginia Tech

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. Inspired by opportunities offered by mixed reality, this study presents an interactive holographic learning environment that can afford learners an experiential opportunity to acquire competencies for implementing sensing systems on construction projects. Firstly, this study explores 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 were investigated. The learning contents of the holographic learning environment were then driven by the identified competencies. Afterwards, a learnability study was conducted with industry practitioners already adopting sensing technologies to assess the learning environment. Feedback from the learnability study was implemented to further improve the learning environment after which a usability evaluation was conducted. To investigate the pedagogical value of the learning environment in construction education, a summative evaluation was conducted with construction engineering students. 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 study further revealed that knowledge scaffolding can improve task performance in a holographic learning environment. This study 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.

Sensing technologies, Mixed reality, workforce development, Construction education, experiential learning