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July 19th, 2019

Augmented Reality Tools for Learning – Why They Work

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Augmented reality (AR) has become a trend taking the world by storm and automating almost every aspect of our lives. When it comes to learning, AR opens up a whole new world of possibilities from making learning more engaging to turning the entire educational process into a marvelous experience through interactive learning, visualizations, gamification, social media, and so much more.

The learning process is all about creativity and interaction, the goal of any education system is to impart knowledge, but this becomes close to impossible if the students aren’t interested in the subject. This is where AR comes in— with its ability to project enhanced reality-based environments, using the capabilities of computer-generated display, text, sound, and effects. When integrated with education, AR might as well be the game-changer in refining the learning process and turning all routine activities into a more engaging and interactive process, capable of stimulating people from all age brackets.

Since the advent of immersive technology, numerous advancements have occurred, all focused on creating a better tomorrow. Before diving into some of the most popular AR tools for learning, it’s essential we understand why they work in the first place. Below we’ve highlighted how:

Interactive Learning

AR-based learning is an interactive process that ensures students engage with the material through 3D models which can be rotated and explored for the slightest details. An excellent example of AR tech in education is in preclinical training where students can interact with the human anatomy, read great material via links to traditional pages of anatomy textbooks and explore how the various systems or structures function. Additionally, AR technology used in medical training enables students to practice risky surgical procedures without any of the potential risks associated with doing these procedures in real life. This method ensures that students get experience which allows them to learn more compared to just reading from illustrated books.

Visualization

One of the most vital and most compelling features of immersive technologies, such as AR, lies in their ability to provide visual imagery to convey both concrete and abstract ideas. Using Augmented Reality tools for learning will allow illustrations to come to life, from a 2D-flat model to a 3D model—meaning a shift from abstract things to concrete objects. Providing this type of visualization not only gets students interested in the subject but also offers an opportunity for them to actualize their ‘imaginations’ of things they’ve only heard about and focus on understanding how they work instead.

Gamification

The incorporation of Gamification in learning equals fun and more engagement from students. If anything, we all know how boring and tedious it was to cram or remember all the information we learned in one semester let alone a year. But with AR, it doesn’t have to be anymore. With human being’s innate nature to respond better to images, AR’s visual imaging assists people to comprehend better the things they learn. And the best thing about AR tools for learning, such as gamification, is learners can participate in memorizing activities without even realizing it because of all the fun and ease of comprehension.

Less Stressful and Time-Saving

As already discussed in interactive learning, textbook illustrations can be used to prompt other relevant information such as videos, texts or audio to help learners get the full grasp of a concept.  With AR technology, students get to learn more significant information rather than having to spend tons of hours on the internet sifting through vast chunks of the content without really knowing what is truly relevant. AR makes it possible for the learner to obtain knowledge through a variety of senses including visuals and auditory while sticking to the relevant information only.

Examples of Augmented Reality Tools for Learning

  • Elements 4D is an app created by DAQRI, for learning chemistry. The app allows for the combining of elements to see how they would react in reality.
  • Anatomy 3D is best for medical students. The app presents 3D models of the human body and allows one to interact with any part of the body and learn more about them.
  • Catchy Words AR combines learning with movement where elementary students can move about, without touching the screen, catching letters with their devices and solve word puzzles.
  • MERGE cube allows students to hold a hologram in their hands. The MERGE cube will enable teachers to create lessons or activities that let their students explore STEAM concepts, experience history, or science and illustrate complex systems. Other AR apps that are similar to MERGE cube include DinoDigger, which enables students to excavate the earth for dinosaur fossils and the HoloGlobe app that allows students to grasp NASA visualizations of the planet.
  • Metaverse allows educators to gamify learning through warm-up activities, formative assessments and so much more.

AR tools for learning presents endless possibilities in education. However, one of the most significant challenges is the fact that incorporating immersive technology in the learning system will cost a fortune. Nonetheless, it’s undeniable that AR will open up endless opportunities for learning, exploring, interacting, and experiencing subjects by making them extremely interesting.

About Fazreen Razeek

Fazreen Razeek from Grafdom has served the digital industry for over 5 years. He collaborates and works alongside agencies, event organizers, and suppliers to develop and execute their marketing strategies. He is extremely passionate about education technology and also writes for various local and international publications. A graduate with High Distinction from the Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, Fazreen holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Marketing & Management.

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