Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Augmented Reality Trends in Education: A Systematic Review of Research and Applications

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Augmented Reality Trends in Education: A Systematic Review of Research and Applications

Article excerpt

Introduction and definitions

In recent years, technology-enhanced learning (TEL) research has increasingly focused on emergent technologies such as augmented reality, ubiquitous learning (u-learning), mobile learning (m-learning), serious games and learning analytics for improving the satisfaction and experiences of the users in enriched multimodal learning environments (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2014). These researches take advantage of technological innovations in hardware and software for mobile devices and their increasing popularity among people as well as the significant development of user modeling and personalization processes which place the student at the center of the learning process. In particular, augmented reality (AR) research has matured to a level that its applications can now be found in both mobile and non-mobile devices. Research on AR has also demonstrated its extreme usefulness for increasing the student motivation in the learning process (Liu & Chu, 2010; Di Serio et al., 2013; Jara et al., 2011; Bujak et al., 2013; Chang et al., 2014).

An AR system allows for combining or "supplementing" real world objects with virtual objects or superimposed information. As a result virtual objects seem to coexist in the same space with the real world (Azuma et al., 2001). However, AR is not restricted only to the sense of sight; it can be applied to all senses such as hearing, touch and smell (Azuma et al., 2001). AR allows for combining virtual content with the real world seamlessly (Azuma, Billinghurst, & Klinker, 2011). This differs from the notion of a Virtual Environment (VE) where the user is completely immersed inside a synthetic environment. In this sense, "AR supplements reality, rather than completely replacing it" (Azuma, 1997). The Reality-Virtuality continuum (Milgram, Takemura, Utsumi, & Kishino, 1995) clearly shows the relation between a real environment, AR and a virtual environment.

As an example of the current AR applications in education, Ibanez, Di Serio, Villaran, & Delgado Kloos (2014) created an AR application for teaching the basic concepts of electromagnetism. In this application students can explore the effects of a magnetic field. For that purpose, the components used in the experiment (cable, magnets, battery, etc.) can be recognized using the camera of a mobile device like a tablet. As a result students can see superimposed information such as the electromagnetic forces or the circuit behavior using the tablet. The results of this research show that AR improved academic achievement and provided instant feedback.

Some researchers have proposed different definitions of AR. For example, El Sayed, Zayed, & Sharawy (2011) assert that AR enables the addition of missing information in real life by adding virtual objects to real scenes. Supporting this definition, Chen & Tsai (2012) point out that AR allows for interaction with 2D or 3D virtual objects integrated in a real-world environment. Cuendet, Bonnard, Do-Lenh, & Dillenbourg, (2013) argue that "AR refers to technologies that project digital materials onto real world objects." These definitions are based on one of the features of AR that is the possibility of superimposing virtual information to real objects. On the other hand, a broader perspective has been adopted in the study of Wojciechowski & Cellary (2013). They define AR as an extension of virtual reality with some advantages over virtual reality.

Current state of AR applications in education

A considerable amount of literature has been published in AR's application in educational contexts for a wide variety of learning domains. However, the state of current research in AR for education is still in its infancy (Wu, Lee, Chang, & Liang, 2013; Cheng & Tsai, 2012). According to Wu et al., (2013a) and Cheng & Tsai (2012) the research in this field should continue and should be addressed to discover the affordances and characteristics of AR in education that differentiate this technology from others. …

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