Augmented reality: Learning in new dimension

Augmented reality (AR) has been a buzz word for some years, in fact, Minority Report already had me hungry for the chance to experience a new digital dimension. Companies like Disney are using static content, a marker and a camera (could be webcam or my personal favourite, a mobile phone camera) to bring content to life and in this example they take sketching to a whole new level!

The marker, which is sometimes called “a target”, can be a barcode or simple series of geometric shapes. When the computer’s AR app or browser plug-in receives the digital information contained in the marker, it begins to execute the code for the augmented reality program. So far, AR has been mainly used in: entertainment, retail, travel, advertising, and social communication.

Google Goggles make use of AR tech in a refreshing way. The Goggles can “scan” various objects and Google Search will try to identify what it is for you. This works for things like landmarks and artwork along with things like consumer products and various media.

Perhaps its most useful feature is the ability to translate foreign text which was later added directly into Google Translate.

I was wondering how we could use similar technology to enhance learner interaction and have listed a few of my ideas below:

  • Fire safety posters that reveal description on what type of extinguisher you should use during an emergency situation when scanned.
  • Animating technical diagrams for training materials that explain processes.
  • Financial charts that can come alive and share more detail about individual segments.

Speaking of augmented reality technology in learning, the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful Aurasma app. Using the simple tools within the app, you can create your own Auras and share them with other Aurasma users. Anyone with the app can view the Auras that you make, and watch everyday things come to life with engaging graphics, vibrant audio and exciting content.

This example from SMART MOBILE FACTORY shows how it can be done.

There’s also full virtual reality (VR) to think about. I recently played with Occulus Rift during a product launch, the experience was wonderful but currently VR is in its initial phase with a lot of problems left to solve – not to mention the expense involved.

But now there is ubiquitous and cheap access to smartphones, we should explore bringing static images to life wherever we can with AR. The possibilities are literally limitless: brochures without physical boundaries, logos which reveal information about products and visiting cards which directly connect calls.

Augmented reality can also redefine learner engagement in elearning. It offers a ground-breaking canvas by merging digital learning materials with the real world. It creates an environment where learners control their own learning, through active interactions with the real and virtual environments. AR is now transforming the way we learn, making these experiences more engaging and rewarding.

What do you think we can do with augmented reality in elearning? Contact us to discuss your ideas.