Augmented Reality for Virtual HRD

By definition, Virtual HRD is about leveraging technologically integrative environments for increasing learning capacity (Fazarro & McWhorter, 2011).  Augmented reality (AR) has been posited as a likely place to examine Virtual HRD (Mancuso, Chlup & McWhorter, 2010).

At its essence, Augmented reality (AR) is “the layering of digital information on top of the real world, usually using a webcam, computer, tablet or smartphone…increasingly being used for marketing and retail” (Wehner, 2011, p. 110). For instance, AR can be used to preview fashion and other items for online shoppers: 


or, to preview a college  prospectus that comes to life:

or, just for fun to build community:

And, a new medium for literacy….a pop up book that comes to life with technology:

According to Wu (2011) smart phones are changing customary text-based access to information that is primarly visual-based. There has been  explosion of apps for mobile devices for AR that include vision, orientation and location technology changing the way we access information.

AR is being adopted by the military for instantly transferring technical training information


and, AR is being researched for medical training to see how organs and systems work within the human body.

While virtual reality allows users to see an invented world, AR allows the user to see the real world with added relevant information.  It is this layering of information that shows promise for building the learning capacity and work processes of individuals, groups and organizations….thus enabling Virtual HRD.


Fazarro, D. E., & McWhorter, R. R. (2011). Leveraging green computing for increased viability and sustainability. Journal of Technology Studies, 37(2), 116-129.

Mancuso, D. S., Chlup, D. T., & McWhorter, R. R. (2010). A study of adult learning in a virtual environment. Advances in Developing Human Resource Development, 12(6), 691-699.

Wehner, P. (2011). A vision of the future. Estates Gazette, 1135, 109-111.

Wu, Y. (2011). Why is augmented reality so important? Retrieved from

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Informal Adult Learning in Simulated and Virtual Environments

Increasing learning and performance is at the heart of Virtual HRD and organizations must leverage contemporary technologies to strategically enable informal adult learning.

By examining sophisticated technologies such as computer simulations, Internets, Intranets and robust virtual environments (RVEs), Bennett (2011) explored the concept of informal adult learning and presented her initial thoughts on strategies to assess this type of learning. See a sample of her writing at:


Bennett, E. E. (2011). Informal adult learning in simulated and virtual environments. In V. Wang (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technologies and Adult Education Integration (pp. 838-856). doi:10.4018/978-1-61692-906-0.ch051

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Webinar on VHRD

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Exploring the Emergence of Virtual HRD

For background on Virtual Human Resource Development (VHRD), check out this link for a special issue of the Advances in Developing Human Resources journal devoted solely to this topic:

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What is Virtual HRD?

What is Virtual HRD?

Virtual HRD is a new area of inquiry examining how sophisticated technologies are affecting the way we do business.  Three definitions for Virtual HRD have been offered:

1. McWhorter, Mancuso & Hurt (2008):

“A process for developing and/or unleashing human expertise through training and development (T&D) and organization development (OD) by utilizing technology-enabled environments for the purpose of improving performance” (p. 1151).

2. Bennett (2009):

“A media-rich and culturally relevant web environment that strategically improves expertise, performance, innovation, and community building through formal and informal learning” (p. 364)

3. McWhorter (2011):

“The process of utilizing technologically integrative environments for increasing learning capacity and optimizing individual, group, community, work process, and organizational system performance” (p. 3)


Bennett, E. E. (2009). Virtual HRD: The intersection of knowledge management, culture and intranets. In G. McLean, Y. Cho, & E. Cho’s (Eds.), HRD’s Role in Knowledge Management, Advances in Developing Human resources 11(3), 362-374.

McWhorter, R. R. (2011). Scenario planning as the development of leadership capability and capacity; and virtual Human Resource Development. A dissertation. Texas A&M University.

McWhorter, R. R., Mancuso, D. S., & Hurt, A. C. (2008). Adult learning in a virtual environment. In T. J. Chermack, J. Storberg-Walker, & C. M. Graham (Eds.), Refereed proceedings of the 2008 AHRD International Research Conference (pp. 1148-1152). Bowling Green, OH: Academy of Human Resource Development.

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