Augmented Reality in Online Learning

This blog post gives a quick overview of one of the latest technologies being used by training organizations: Augmented Reality (AR). You'll also find out about the two main types of AR, and how they can be used in training sessions, with some hands-on examples of what AR tech can do.

What Is Augmented Reality? And How Can It Benefit Learning Programs?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images and animations on top of real-world views. Its best-known use to the general public is probably the Pokémon GO game, in which players use their smartphone cameras to view their surroundings and try to catch Pokémon that are superimposed there by the software.

AR is increasingly used in educational settings to superimpose learning materials over real-world views. For example, in the photo below, the software recognizes the medical model and overlays instructional information onto the tablet screen.

Person holding an iPad to show how Augmented Reality for anatomy education works

AR is different from VR (Virtual Reality). In VR, the user wears a headset that shuts them off from their surroundings and is immersed in an entirely computer-generated world. VR simulations are very useful in education, though the hardware can be expensive, and the cost of developing VR simulations can be high.

By contrast, AR can be viewed on smartphones and tablets with the naked eye and does not require special hardware.

The 2 Main Types of AR: Marker-Based & Location-Based

Marker-based AR works by image recognition. Markers in an image, such as QR codes, will launch an AR app that overlays digital information that moves with the marker as the camera moves. Some AR software can recognize real-life 3D objects too.

Location-based AR doesn’t need markers. Instead, it used a device’s GPS to establish the user’s location and creates AR objects there. The software also uses the device’s accelerometer and compass so that you can ‘look around’ to see the AR objects in your vicinity. Pokémon GO is an example of location-based AR.

FOR MORE ON AR, READ THIS! | 'Creating Real-Life Learning Experiences: Augmented Reality in Education'

Using Augmented Reality in Your Learning Programs

AR can increase learner engagement by letting learners participate more proactively and authentically with the learning content, rather than being passive recipients of information.

Learners can be truly immersed in training sessions and lessons, and get live-action practice and context to help them more thoroughly gain essential skills and knowledge on a particular subject or task. This method significantly increases information retention and adds value to abstract concepts or lessons that are better explained in real time.

Further, with AR tech, they're able to explore the learning content themselves, which can make them feel more empowered and motivated to improve skills and explore more potential lessons or solutions. Augmented reality solutions can be used in various industries to teach important skill sets in actual settings. AR is prevalent in healthcare, manufacturing, tourism, and much more. Simulations can allow learners to see more of the intricate details of a particular machine or organ using AR while working on or practicing specific procedures or processes.

There are quite a few software products that enable educators to create their own AR lessons. Examples include Zappar and Vuforia. These solutions can be used to create more engaging and interactive trainings or supplement the ones you already have in order to more effectively teach learners.

Bring your lessons to life and help learners collaborate, experiment, and better understand your industry or organization with more dynamic and creative approaches to learning. To learn more about AR in training, get in touch.

This blog post was written by Course Merchant who hosted a series of free face-to-face workshops on online learning. This post offers a taste of one of the topics in the workshop: Augmented Reality (AR).

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