Purdue Polytechnic professor uses grant award to bring virtual reality training to archivists nationwide

Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) at Purdue University

Use of virtual reality technology empowers archivists to share knowledge and train others

Mesut Akdere, associate professor of human resource development (HRD) and director of HRD Virtual Lab at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, along with professors in Purdue Libraries and the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research (CILMAR), received a grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC) to provide training for archivists across the country by developing and facilitating the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) for the next generation of archivist leaders. The new program, ALI@Purdue, will provide advanced training for archival leaders in the United States, giving them the knowledge and tools to transform the profession in practice, theory and attitude.

Other members of the multidisciplinary project include Sammie Morris, professor and director in the Purdue University Libraries Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center; Nastasha Johnson, assistant professor in Purdue Libraries; and Kris Acheson-Clair, associate director of intercultural pedagogy and scholarship at CILMAR.

The grant’s three-year funding will enable the use of virtual reality, an immersive learning technology new to the field of archives, to train 20 archivists each year from across the country. The project will create more interculturally and technologically competent leaders in the archives profession who are prepared to advocate on behalf of their institutions as well as the broader archives field.

“This is really about incorporating future learning technology into the field of archives,” Akdere said of the project. “Virtual reality provides hands-on, immersive experiences which supports the development of trainees’ cognitive abilities.”

Akdere also highlighted various capacity enhancement opportunities associated with the ground-breaking use of virtual reality technology, which will allow ALI trainee archivists to conduct various workshops in their respective institutions. Trainees will also learn how to develop and share their own virtual reality training simulations.

“Our virtual reality training has the potential create a powerful cascade effect, making it possible for even more archivists to learn, transform and share their work,” said Akdere.

Learn more about ALI@Purdue at polytechnic.purdue.edu/ali.

About Purdue Polytechnic Institute

The Purdue Polytechnic Institute is one of 10 academic colleges at Purdue University, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines: aviation, computing, construction management, engineering technology, technology leadership, and technology education. In addition to Purdue University’s main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue Polytechnic offers select degree programs in nine Indiana communities.


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