HoloLens2 pilot study

HoloLens2 enhanced endocrine case-based teaching – a pilot study

Type: Randomised Educational Trial

Funder: Imperial College NHS Foundation Trust

Sponsor: Imperial College NHS Foundation Trust


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions to medical education, culminating in widespread cancellations of clinical and academic activities. Education in medical specialties such as Ear, Nose and Throat saw multiple challenges, including reduced bedside teaching and ‘hands-on’ training opportunities at both undergraduate and postgraduate stages. Thus, educators are turning to technological advancements to provide effective remote medical education. This study investigated the value and potential of using the most advanced mixed reality headset, Microsoft HoloLens2TM, in remote case-based medical education.


This pilot study recruited undergraduates from four different UK medical schools. We presented either conventional or HoloLens2TM enhanced remote case-based teaching with standardised material to 56 medical students in small-group sessions. We then measured student learning outcomes, engagement and satisfaction using assessments, tally-mark systems and feedback questionnaires.


HoloLens2 enhanced teaching was broadly engaging, encouraged questions (four vs one questions per session; p=0.04) and improved performance (12- vs 9-mark increase per student; p<0.001) compared to conventional remote case-based teaching. The majority of the students receiving HoloLens teaching agreed that the teaching was enjoyable, effective in demonstrating concepts, encouraged them to interact in sessions and engage with content. However, they did not think it replaced face-to-face teaching completely.


This study is a pioneering example of using advanced technologies such as Microsoft HoloLens2TM in medical education and highlights the potential benefits of deploying it in situations such as the ongoing pandemic. However, the technology is not without its limitations. These need to be addressed before HoloLens2 can be implemented into medical education.


Remote teaching has allowed for the continuation of medical education in uncertain times. Beyond COVID-19, we predict that there will be a paradigm shift towards remote learning as new technological advancements emerge. These novel technologies may prove invaluable for medical education in the future.

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