Augmented Learning

What is Augmented Reality in Learning?

Augmented reality is such a buzzword nowadays. 

What exactly is it and how does it fit in the field of adult learning?

Read on to learn more about the definition, benefits and examples of augmented reality in learning.

According to Live Science, augmented reality is the result of using technology to superimpose information — sounds, images and text — on the world we see.

Augmented reality (also known as AR), adds to the reality you would ordinarily see rather than replacing it whereas virtual reality is computer-generated environments for you to interact with, and be immersed in.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain Augemented Reality is to use the game “Pokémon Go,” as an example. 

This game became a sensation worldwide.  Pokemon Go allowed gamers to see Pokémon characters bouncing around in their own town with the goal of capturing pocket monsters, then using them to battle others in AR gyms.

Another example of AR “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery” which became a mobile AR gaming sensation in 2018. This game lets users see Hogwarts and allows them to cast spells, use potions and to learn from Hogwarts teachers.

So how does AR fit into field of learning?

AR helps the learners easily acquire, process, and remember information.   

Here are a few examples of companies that are blending in AR into their traditional classrooms:

Bosch has started to train their technicians through an AR mobile facility.  In the mobile training facility, learners are provided with virtual information of the inner functioning of a car engine, which is intended to enhance the technicians’ knowledge of automotive structure and performance.

The training program utilizes a blended approach comprising classroom instruction and the mobile AR training. In this learning environment, learners experience a self-directed learning process anywhere and anytime using their electronic devices.  (Oh, Han, et al., 2018)

Modly, a language-learning app, has recently put an AR-based virtual teacher that helps learners practice their skills as if they were in a real-life setting.

The Community College of Beaver County, Pennsylvania uses AR to deliver numerous content, including video, audio, and digital publications.

Here are a few examples of how Augmented Reality can enhance the learning experience:

1. AR can help in explaining abstract and difficult concepts by turning them into 3D models which makes the translation from theory to reality easier.
2. AR makes learning more interactive and engaging
3. AR apps for medical students may be one of the ways to learn human anatomy, explore more deeply.

A few benefits of AR in learning are:

1. Learning materials are accessible anytime, anywhere.
2. No special equipment is needed. You only need a smartphone do engage in AR.
3. AR improves collaboration and teamwork qualities of learners.
4. AR improves the learning experience by making it more engaging, fun, and practical.
5. AR is universally applicable to any level of education and training.

A few challenges in the use of AR in learning are:

1. Lack of training for teachers to be able to put these technologies into practice and make the integration seamless and effective.
2. Lack of access of some learners to hardware needed to use AR.
3. The AR app you build should be able to work equally well on all platforms and devices.

In order to make sure the AR is effective in learning, take these items into consideration:

1. Identify your goal and target audience. The functionalities of the app will differ depending on the age of your users and your purpose.
2. Do market research and viability testing to understand the real potential of the AR technology.
3. Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to test the core functionality. After testing, iterate towards your ideal state of the technology.

The sky is the limit in coming up with ways for AR to be used in schools, universities, and in e-learning. AR could work with other technologies like VR to create something known as mixed reality.

Instead of smartphones, there could be more advanced animations via special gadgets like holographic lenses. AR makes learning more engaging, interactive, practical and it bridges the theory and reality. AR has great potential in learning and that still remains to be uncovered.

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