Learning with Augmented Reality
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Analog learning in the seminar room or digital E-Learning? There is no need for an either-or! In Smart Learning Environments, physical space is enhanced by digital technology – physical and digital worlds begin to merge. In these Hybrid Learning Environments, the focus is on creating learning experiences: learners control the learning process themselves by interacting with analog and digital elements. To create these Smart Learning Environments, hardware, applications and physical space are interconnected. Augmented Reality technology is a crucial component in this process.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (short AR), also Mixed Reality, extends the real world with virtual content. This is done by overlaying the camera image on a mobile device or headset with 3D content. In contrast to virtual reality, the user is still in the physical reality and not isolated from it.
How & where to use Augmented Reality in education
The possibility of embedding digital content in real environments opens up exciting new concepts for teaching, training and further education. For example, students can use AR models to explore the structure of a biological cell or the layers of the earth. A chicken could also be virtually dissected in biology class. This would certainly be a great relief for many – students, teachers and, last but not least, the animals. Even in specialized studies, highly complex anatomical structures and processes can be vividly depicted and explained in detail with AR visualizations. Virtual guides and AR avatars accompany learners through the individual learning process.
The technology can also be put to good use in vocational training, for example by virtually disassembling complex machines and systems into their individual parts with an AR animation. AR simulations make it possible to teach skills in dangerous environments or even to perform operations virtually.
Augmented Reality can also be used in the field of cultural education. Museums can, for example, integrate AR portals into their exhibitions, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in past or future times. Historical figures can provide insights into history as AR models and even interact with visitors.
For the purpose of a hybrid learning experience, Augmented Reality content can be linked to various analog media. With AR content management systems such as rooomBooks, models, animations and explanatory videos can be integrated into textbooks. The haptic learning experience can be enhanced by AR teaching tools such as the rooomCube. This allows you to hold a wide variety of objects such as the earth, molecules, fossils or specimens directly in your hand – in other words, a hands-on AR experience.
Best Practices: Learning with AR
A wide variety of AR education projects have already been successfully realized with rooom’s solutions. Here are some practical examples:
A trip back in time with Otto Schott
As a hologram, the founder of SCHOTT AG takes visitors of the museum on a journey through his life. In addition to the AR guide, the interactive museum app of the SCHOTT Villa also features exhibits in 3D and 360° panoramas of historical locations.
Eichplatz – A glimpse into the future
An Augmented Reality app visualizes planned buildings in Jena’s city center before the construction work even begins. Through an AR visualization of the construction project, citizens can learn more about the urban development.
AR children’s book “Regentröpfchens Reise”
Educational content presented in multimedia form: The children’s book tells an exciting story about weather, water and the climate – enriched with AR content via rooomBooks.
What are the benefits of learning with Augmented Reality?
A large body of research suggests that Augmented Reality can be a useful tool in education. Various studies show that the use of AR increases learning effectiveness. However, it is important to consider the specific learning objectives and individual requirements before implementing AR in the classroom yourself. Here are some of the key insights*:
- Better understand complex content: By interacting with virtual models and simulations in the real world, AR can facilitate the understanding of complex concepts.
- Sustainable knowledge transfer: Gamified and collaborative learning enables a better retention and recall of content.
- Increased applicability: Augmented Reality makes it easier to transfer what has been learned into a real-world context, which increases the practicability and relevance of what has been learned.
- Motivational booster: Multimedia AR content makes learning more interesting and exciting, which contributes to higher learner motivation and attention.
*see "The Impact of Augmented Reality on Learning: A Meta-Analysis of Design Features and Learning Outcomes," Educational Technology Research and Development, 2020 | “The Impact of Augmented Reality on Vocational Education: A Systematic Review”, Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 2021 | "Using Augmented Reality to Enhance Science Learning: A Study of High School Students", International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 2022
What do I need for Augmented Reality?
The successful use of Augmented Reality primarily requires suitable content that enables independent learning and is tailored to individual needs. But it also depends on the selection of suitable hardware and software.
AR Hardware & Gadgets
Generally, Augmented Reality can be used with a mobile device or a special AR headset. Headsets or AR glasses enable a particularly immersive experience and allow learners to immerse themselves to a greater extent in virtual worlds. However, these so-called wearables are associated with an expensive purchase and cumbersome hygiene.
Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, on the other hand, score points for their easy and flexible utilization: they are already widely available to learners, and the devices can be used for learning in many different ways.
In addition, some AR applications require a so-called marker. The marker is “scanned” with the camera of a mobile device, being the visual trigger for AR projections. Such a marker can be an image in a textbook, a QR code or a physical object (such as the rooomCube).
AR Software & Apps
Supposing the use via mobile device, there are technically two different possibilities: Apps or web-based applications. While AR apps always require a download, the content of Web AR is accessed directly in the Internet browser. There is a large number of AR-based learning applications on the market. It is a good idea to choose a diversified learning platform that supports not only Augmented Reality features, but also 3D environments, media libraries, learning analytics, avatars, and interaction tools.
Which tool is the right one for me?
A well designed Augmented Reality educational concept is the basis for sustainable knowledge transfer and should meet individual learning needs. Our Smart Learning experts will be happy to assist you!
How do I create AR content?
Augmented Reality content can be created in different ways. For example, 3D databases can be browsed for suitable objects, AR models and templates can be used, or special visualizations can be created according to individual requirements. Smart learning providers such as rooom offer both a large catalog of pre-built Augmented Reality objects and modeling on request.
In the next step, the AR model can be enhanced with information and explanatory texts, so-called annotations. With a content management system (CMS) for Augmented Reality, it’s very easy to add annotations and insert texts at the desired position with just a few clicks – and you don’t even need any programming skills to do it. The finished result can first be admired in the web browser as a 3D Viewer.
Now there is only one click between a 3D view in the browser and an Augmented Reality projection. rooom’s 3D viewers are equipped with an AR button, which can be used to get a projection or the corresponding QR code directly.
If you have previously decided on a marker-based AR app, you still need to define a matching marker. The “AR Estimation Tool” by rooom, for example, is ideal for checking whether images are technically suitable as AR markers. The selected marker image then gets uploaded and linked to the appropriate AR model via the software.
How much does Augmented Reality cost?
The AR learning applications by rooom are modular and can be booked as a subscription model – just as flexible as diverse learning requirements and suitable for various Smart Learning Journeys. The rooomBooks package “Slim” is a good way to get started. Here, ten AR models are included in the monthly price of 15 Euro plus VAT.
Conclusion: Create Experiences, Not Lessons
Augmented Reality can be used in various educational settings and is adaptable to individual learning requirements. The technology is an important component for Smart Learning concepts, supports independent learning and enables Hybrid Learning Experiences. If Augmented Reality is used with purpose, sustainable learning effects can be achieved.
With the technology available today, AR educational content can even be created by the user. With a suitable CMS, it is effortless to digitize learning material and make it accessible via Augmented Reality. You don’t have any experience with AR software yet? No problem! Follow us into the Metaverse for Learning.