Using 3D holographic technology (HOLOLENS) for student learning and knowledge retention in disease education

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Introduction: Disease education is fundamental to the health science and medicine curricula, as it prepares students for their future careers. However, learning about disease can be challenging, as it requires an integration of many disciplines to fully comprehend the underlying mechanisms and treatments. By using technology-enhanced interventions, such as the HoloLens, the organ of interest can be presented in a three-dimensional (3D) space, with concepts further explained via audio means, to potentially increase learning and knowledge retention. Thus, this study assessed whether a textbook-style resource, or a 3D augmented reality HoloLens resource, would be more effective for student learning and knowledge retention in learning about asthma, as a model of disease. 

Methods: This randomised controlled study used a convenience sample of 65 first-year health science and medical students from Bond University. Participants were randomised into two groups to complete the same lesson on asthma, which was delivered through either the textbook-style resource (n=33) or the HoloLens (n=32). A pre-test prior to the lesson included multiple-choice questions for a baseline, with the post-test having additional multiple-choice questions and Likert scale questions to assess learning. To assess knowledge retention, participants completed another test 2-weeks after the lesson, which included identical multiple-choice questions to the post-test. 

Results: 65 participants’ test scores were included in the final analysis for learning, with 40 participants’ scores further analysed for knowledge retention. Pre- and post-test scores revealed increased learning in both interventions (P <0.001), with slightly higher test results obtained by those using the textbook-style resource (P=0.011). The HoloLens was perceived as more enjoyable (P<0.001). 

Conclusion: Although the textbook-style resource was more effective for increasing learning test results, participants perceived the HoloLens more favourably. This study presents both resources as reliable supplementary tools, while recommending the HoloLens as an option for integration in cases where educators wish to enhance student enjoyment of the learning experience.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021
Event2021 HSM Medical and Postgraduate Students Research Conference - Bond University, Robina, Australia
Duration: 13 Oct 202113 Oct 2021


Conference2021 HSM Medical and Postgraduate Students Research Conference
OtherThe conference showcased the broad spectrum of interdisciplinary research and project works undertaken by the graduating Doctor of Medicine students and HSM postgraduate students; as well as hearing from stimulating keynote speakers who are leader in their field. Areas of research include Medicine (Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Practice, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Medical Education, Mental Health), Planetary and Global Health, Biomedical Science, Exercise and Sports Science/Performance, Health Sciences, Healthcare Innovations, Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy as well as Physiotherapy.

This conference provides an opportunity for all Bond medical students and HSM postgraduate students to meet as one group, to hear the stories and reflections from their peers about how they have connected theory, evidence based research and educational practice to influence their approaches to health care practice and contribute to new knowledge.


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