Augmented Reality (AR) which is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images on top of real world views is gaining traction in educational applications. This technology has great potential for educational outcomes and is proving to be a useful training tool where simulation skills development and training are needed. Although AR is not new, its application to education and training are just beginning to be explored. It is particularly relevant to education since it aligns well with concepts of constructivist and situated learning.
Researchers pursue training as one of the original usages of augmented reality. It makes instructions easier to understand through displaying these augments directly over real world objects that often require manipulation hence removing the ambiguity and cognitive load in spatially transforming directions from traditional media such as text, images, videos and manuals into the situation at hand. Because of its blended reality, augmented reality moves learning from the formal to the informal, and is likely to move mobile technology from social and recreation use to just in time education and learning.
AR training tools are reported to have better-engaged information which is precise and useful. The use of AR for training purposes is the easiest application of AR because of the development of the head mounted displays. It has taken control in most industries including education, aviation, automotive, military among others where industrial maintenance is required. It is changing the view of the world in general or at least the way the users view the world. Augmented reality allows the learner to direct their course of discovery in a rich contextual environment that allows experimentations without significant consequences from mistakes, which is different from the case in real life. It engages the learner in a dynamic process that provides interactive and visual forms of authentic learning.
AR in Medicine
AR in Medicine is being used to plan operations, train medical staff on particular procedures, enhancing visualization of the human body among other purposes. Both augmented reality and virtual reality are used in digestive surgery. A combination of 3D model of patients from MRI or CT scan combined with stimulation technology are used to train the surgical gestures necessary before carrying it out and can be used to provide the surgeons with a transparent view of a patient, guiding the surgeons with the virtual movement of their real time tracked tools during a surgical procedure.
Military Use of AR
The military have been using AR for their training for a long period. Sarnoff Corporation in 2009 developed a head mounted visualization training that combined computer generated images, real world views and avatars. Avatars respond realistically to the actions of the soldiers by talking, returning fire or avoiding contact. Soldiers can record and later replay training sessions.
Implications for Teaching and Learning
Augmented reality applications in the field of education have been grounded in sound pedagogy. AR is certainly simpler to use compared to virtual technology that may make it easier to bring into the classroom environment. AR for a fact layers information onto the real world, making it a more acceptable type of digital technology for those concerned about virtual technology. It allows for the seamless integration between the virtual world and the real world and the use of AR has the potential to expand learning experiences through the use of 2D material with 3D spacial learning when it comes to applications on maps, graphs and the globe.
It facilitates specialized learning in particular for those with challenges of translating concepts from 2D to 3D.
AR is reported to have a concept of “sense of embodiment” or sense of presence when used in a learning context. This means that the participants have a real experience and can remember it as an actual event hence developing a stronger connection to previous knowledge. There is a steep though exciting learning curve associated with the use of augmented reality in education.