In one of the versions of the television series Star Trek, the crew and passengers of the Starship Enterprise are able to use holograms to spend time in a virtual, life-like landscape. In this virtual world, the characters on the television show were able to interact with, move, feel, and talk to images in a way that wasn’t possible beyond a world of make-believe technological capabilities.
Fast-forward to the present day. What was once imagined in a sci-fi television show has become a reality. The use of holographic technology is quickly becoming a practical component of the workplace training and development toolkit. HoloLens technology allows for workers to interact with complex work-related processes in a virtual space.
As we know through our training and development studies, repeated practice of a particular skill allows for increased self-efficacy and individual competence. In some professions or fields, however, opportunities to practice work-related skills may be few and far between, and there may be high levels of risk when trainees are still in the early stages of competency development.
Novice nurses, for example, have to apply theoretical learning in a live setting, which requires practicing techniques on fellow human beings. Construction engineers must be able to ensure that facility structures are sound as they transition from traditional paper design to brick-and-mortar buildings. If nurses or the engineers are able to see and feel what they are supposed to be doing by practicing in a virtual space, their transitions to live practice may be faster and more effective.
It seems that HoloLens technology will allow for repeated practice, not only for those who are new to their professions, but as an on-going training tool that can be used with minimal risk or damage during the competency development stage. Imagine how Human Resources-related training functions, such as Health & Safety practices (WHMIS training, Personal Protective Equipment, Lock-out procedures), could be improved through the use of virtual technology. What was once presented through a one-way lecture-style format, or an on-line training option, can now be offered in an interactive and virtually engaging way that is geared to individual learning and reflective practice.
It is just a matter of time until this too is actual, not virtual, reality.
- Identify five different training practices that could be developed through the use of virtual technology tools.
- How would these training practices improve self-efficacy and worker competencies?
- Virtual technology, such as HoloLens technology, may be an expensive training investment. Develop a plan that promotes the use of virtual technology in the workplace from a cost-benefit perspective.