Creating Real-Life Learning Experiences: Augmented Reality in Education

The potential for the blurring of lines between virtual and physical environments has held an allure for much longer than augmented reality has been viable on large scales. You see a fascination with it in cyberpunk fiction and even older fantasy tales and myths.

Since the widespread development of digital cameras and camcorders embedded in computers and phones, the long-held fantasy has become attainable with the right software and support.

So, what can be done with AR?

In marketing, it has been used to create communities of involvement around brands or even major artistic events. Movie releases have used AR games to provide backstory to audiences even before the feature is out. In education, there are even applications that bring augmented reality into the classroom through tools embedded in your Learning Management System (LMS).

The Role of AR in Education

The first place to look for examples of engaging and effective AR in educational settings would be to look at educational mobile games that make use of it.

Adding to the immersion and motivational aspects of gamified learning by using camera input to blend the real and virtual world reinforces those already effective aspects of gamified learning.

If the only role AR is to have involves reinforcing the positive effects of gamified virtual environments, it’ll still be a worthwhile tool.

Its applications go beyond that, however, and educational uses in and out of the classroom. Immersive AR applications for eLearning only start there, and they go outward to include both in-class and out-of-class opportunities.

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What Does Augmented Reality Look Like in the Classroom?

When your lesson plans and materials specifically include AR applications used in hands-on activities or LMS modules, that’s AR in the classroom. It’s a specific subset of AR strategies for education. You’ll find that while classroom approaches have many similarities with other educational applications, they also have focal goals that meet the unique needs of learners in formal environments.

For many educators looking to use augmented reality, this means finding ways to use it in assessments. Whether formally marked or simply set up to provide learners with feedback, AR-infused assessments bring the virtual learning environment into the real world, making it more tangible. It’s also important to remember that while assessment is an obvious starting point, there’s a lot more that can be done with just a little imagination.

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3 Examples of How Augmented Reality Is Used in Educational Environments

Museum Exhibits and Display Apps

One of the most common AR applications in education is the use of mobile apps to create an augmented reality presentation around key exhibits in museums across the globe. This is done by inserting virtual learning objects into the museum’s real-world locations via GPS coordinate tags to provide learners with extra layers of engagement when viewing exhibitions at museums or art galleries via mobile app.

Learners use the app to view the AR elements through device cameras and interact with them. Displays can be geared toward children or adults, and, as a result, they’ve begun replacing audio tours in some art museums. The greater level of interactivity provides learning opportunities at any age, it just has to be made to appeal to the right target audience for the material.

AR Orientation As Experiential Education

Education is more than just learning facts. It’s also about building experiences, learning to make judgments, and developing participants’ thinking skills. AR apps that provide site information to orient newcomers in experiential settings like labs help educate those learners.

Combined with online virtual environments, they can provide familiar information from the virtual tour in real-time at the actual site, aligning the student experience and facilitating skill transfer from the simulated environment to the real one. In the business world, this is a great way to build an onboarding resource that’s useful from day one.

Empowering Makers to Affect Change

The previous examples are location-based and while they were not originally built with classrooms in mind, they can be used to take the classroom into the real world when students go offsite. Those same tools can provide information about key processes and tools when learning in hands-on environments.

Then there’s marker-based AR in the classroom.

This tool allows students to build their own notations, adding virtual objects they can use to teach one another or to contextualize an individual understanding of course material in a way that grounds it in reality.

Building that tool into an LMS so it can be accessed through the mobile interface empowers students in hybrid classrooms to engage as fully as possible with the material, bridging the physical and intellectual modes of learning in a unique way.

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AR Education in Business Environments: What Does It Look Like?

Using AR information objects to provide an orientation tour is one popular application in business, but what about applications for your L&D program’s long-term goals?

Skill-based training can benefit from AR in the same way labs and clinical classrooms do, adding information about tools and processes so learners can better understand what they do as they master hands-on skills. It can also be used to produce gamified assessments, setting up an interactive roleplay situation that can be used to screen recruits or check on existing employee skill sets.

The 3 Biggest Benefits of Augmented Reality for Learning

Most of the benefits of AR in the classroom overlap with those gained by using gamification tools. They complement each other well, and not only when used together. Using each separately in different parts of the course materials can also be beneficial because they reinforce the same kinds of motivation with slightly different approaches.

Increase Engagement and Motivation

Maker-based AR allows students to take ownership of the material, which increases their involvement with the learning process. The results are higher levels of motivation and measurably increased engagement.

Multi-Modal Learning

AR objects provide visual, textual, and auditory options for building material into the learner’s experience of the world. The result bridges the different modes of learning, connecting theory and practice for learners of varying cognitive types.

Increased Retention

The depth of engagement and multi-track approach of AR also leads to increased information retention in learners. That helps everyone progress more quickly and master relevant skills more smoothly.

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To take full advantage of today’s top AR creation tools for the classroom, you need to start with a state-of-the-art LMS that can integrate those tools. That’s where Open LMS shines. Once you pick an LMS that suits your organizational needs, it’s a simple matter to open the conversation with your instructional designers about incorporating AR tools in the course design.

Open LMS is fully compatible with all the resources you need to integrate AR into a comprehensive eLearning strategy. Contact us to learn more about our solutions or request a trial here!

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