Importance of Augmented reality in e-learning environment
Remember Pokémon GO? That game that made people walk using their mobile phones? Ever taught what is the technology behind that concept? Technology used in making entire world go chasing Pokémon around forests and through the city is called Augmented Reality. Concept of Augmented Reality is fairly simple. Electrical devices with microprocessors, camera and display use real-world environment to superimpose 2D and 3D models into it through display. That is how Pokémon Go game worked. Using level field as starting point, Augmented Reality technology imposed Pokémon characters and Poke balls and other elements of the game via camera and display. Augmented Reality (in further text AR) has been explored for many applications. Since 1970s and 1980s, there has been development of technologies meant for everyday use, i.e. „horizontal“ across all applications rather than a specific „vertical“ market.
Hardware components for AR are: processor, display, sensors and input devices. Modern mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablet computers contain these elements which often include a camera and MEMS sensors such as accelerometer, GPS , and solid state compass, making them suitable AR platforms.
Since modern mobile computing devices are made as suitable AR platforms, many android and iOS developers are trying to make applications for AR using mobile software development with implemented elements of Augmented Reality.
One of the better examples of that is IKEA mobile app that detects every month’s magazine cover as a picture, and then uses monthly updated IKEA 3D model’s database to show user how the selected model will fit into the environment.
Similarly to that, as AR technologies develop, they can also have special applications inside educational settings.
Text, graphics and video and audio files can be superimposed4 into student’s real-life environment. Textbooks, flashcards and other educational reading material may contain embedded „markers“ or triggers that, when scanned by AR device, produce supplementary information to the student rendered in multimedia format. That makes AR a good alternative method for presenting information and Multimedia Learning theory can be applied.
As AR evolves, students can participate interactively with knowledge more authentically. Instead of remaining passive, students can become active learners, able to interact with their learning environment. Computer-generated simulations of historical events allow students to explore and learning details of each significant area of designated site.
But even more, development of AR in educational settings is can mostly be exploited in e-learning development. As e-learning is taking bigger and bigger chunk of education, biggest of which are like Udemy, Bitesize etc.
Because of the concept that e-learning theory presents, native mobile apps, as well as web apps are used to help students learn more effective. In those apps, AR technology can be implemented. One of the already mentioned examples is using app development to recreate major historical events via projected reality into the native mobile app or designated AR app to help students learn almost first hand about major or minor historical events via AR projected battle.
The current ongoing research has identified, the following five areas of AR applications:
- Discovery Learning – In museums, learners can access AR mobile applications and discover historical events by exploring various sections and arsenals. The AR mobile application helps learners to access relevant videos, maps or audio content. Learners can hold up their phone against a statue and information would appear on screen.
- Objects Modeling – Learners love to use their hands and brain in their learning process. Using AR technology, medical students can explore model of human anatomy to study different parts and their features individually separated from each other. AR enables learner to interact with the model by rotating it in any direction and have a full 3600 They can even have exploded view of the object to observe its sub-parts. As there is no use of monitor, learner can enlarge the model to any size. Simultaneously, two learners can study the same model wearing Microsoft HoloLens.
- Interactive Books – Augmented reality books are like any other books except some digital content is embedded into them. When the pages are placed in front of mobile device camera, 3D elements, animations, audio comes to life through the device.
- Skills Training – Technicians need training to acquire assembly and maintenance skills important for their respective industry machine. Using AR technology, digital content can be linked to machine parts. Using camera-enabled handheld devices, technicians can learn through explainer animations and other graphic content.
Augmented Reality combined with mobile learning is going to provide awesome and engaging learning experience with its wide spectrum of possible applications in the eLearning world. We must be curious and contrive new possibilities to improve online learning / eLearning outcomes.