What Does AR for Learning Enable That Previously Wasn’t Possible?

Conferences, Mobile Apps, Pedagogy and Learning, User Experience Comments (0)

Experience the Affordances of Augmented Reality at TechKnowledge 2018

The invention of modern classrooms in the 1770s separated information about a subject from the real-world context in which that information actually occurs. The introduction of enterprise-level classroom training after World War II, brought this trend into corporate learning.

Augmented reality (AR) is a new technology that reunites context with the information about that context. This is because augmented reality provides a direct view of a real-world environment while layering on top sensory information such as sound, video, graphics, text, haptics, or location. Because augmentation by AR is virtual, this new technology is really a bridge between real and virtual environments, and allows learning to take place well beyond the classroom.

According to a 2013 study by Bujak and Associates, augmented reality can be approached from three different perspectives:

  • Physical – natural physical interaction with an AR-based object can reduce cognitive load and increase the freedom to learn,
  • Cognitive – On the cognitive dimension, the spatiotemporal contiguity leveraged by AR contributes to understanding the association between concrete objects and symbolic representations, and,
  • Contextual – AR creates scenarios for collaborative learning around virtual contents while engaging learners in face-to-face communication.

Augmented reality works best with ubiquitous, mobile devices that are equipped to sense location in order to know what information to deliver to the user. In order to understand the full possibilities of augmented reality for learning, it’s necessary to realize the “affordances” and limitations or detriments of this technology.

Affordances are those features of an environment or an object that allow some action to be taken. Some “action possibilities” of augmented reality for assisting learners include:

  • Adds a layer of information to real-world environments, for example, by labelling objects or features of an environment to learn their names, or by mapping environments such as the sky.
  • Allows team members to talk face-to-face while receiving additional information
  • Encourages kinaesthetic and sensory learning through physical movement in a real-world environment while being augmented with additional information about that environment
  • Provides step-by-step directions and visual aids while completing a task
  • Can display a holographic image of a completed task or object
  • Allows playing games in the real world while getting instructions, feedback, and results from digital devices
  • A user can act within place-independent augmented reality simulations which are superimposed on the physical area in which the user is located
  • Can trigger the presentation of additional video, audio and text files based on proximity to a specific location (“geofencing”) which can be used to provide narrative, navigation aids, collaboration cues, and intellectual challenges
  • Facilitates sharing information with other team members to solve puzzles and collaborate in the completion of a task
  • Present learners with different information as they interact with an environment to support “jigsaw” pedagogy involving a diversity of team members
  • Layer historical or futuristic images over top current locations
  • Automatically translate signage from one language to another
  • Turn a visual map of an environment into an audio experience for persons with a visual impairment.

But, does augmented reality actually have an impact? A study funded by Boeing at Iowa State University showed that the use of AR resulted in “a 30% reduction in time of task completions and a whopping 90% improvement in quality at the first attempt” of a task. And, according to Atlantic Magazine, “…for some of the biggest companies in the world, AR is already on the job. In warehouses, factories, and construction sites, wearable devices like Google’s Glass Enterprise Edition and Microsoft HoloLens are delivering data to workers who one might assume have been largely bypassed by the digital revolution.”

You can find out more about augmented reality and see a demonstration of this technology from Chad Udell, Float’s Managing Director, at ATD’s TechKnowledge Conference in San Jose, Jan 24-26. His session is on Thu. Jan. 25th at 11:30am to 12.15pm in the TK Disrupt Room. Then come and discuss augmented reality with the Float team in Booth 119. We look forward to seeing you at TechKnowledge.

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Gary Woodill is a senior analyst with Float, as well as CEO of i5 Research. Gary conducts research and market analyses, as well as assessments and forecasting for emerging technologies. Gary is the co-editor of "Mastering Mobile Learning," author of “The Mobile Learning Edge,” and the co-author of “Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds.” He also presents at conferences and is the author of numerous articles and research reports on emerging learning technologies. Gary holds a doctor of education degree from the University of Toronto.

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On January 19, 2018
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