Augmented reality and mobile learning: the state of the art


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Paper presented at mLearn2012 conference. Full paper can be downloaded from

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  • Used a lot in sports coverage – additional analytic information on top of replays. Most commonly seen in American football – “first down” line in yellow, shown on TV screen to viewers ("first down" line – the distance the team has to cover to continue its offence) Retail/marketing – ‘Yelp’ offers AR app to show you local restaurant reviews/ratings; AR symbol printed onto Adidas trainers links to an interactive games site when viewed with a webcam (use the trainer as a games controller!) Find out information about people you meet (‘Augmented ID ‘) or find someone in a crowd Training, in which technology provides students or technicians with necessary data about specific objects they are working with; Museums, where artefacts can be tagged with information such as the artefact's historical context or where it was discovered.
  • NOT about VR or fixed/static ARMost examples relate to outdoor environmentsNOT about AR games
  • No big displays e.g. static, video-mapping – tends to be geared towards smaller groups or individual experiences
  • Learning not necessarily driven by the pedagogy – but by strengths and weaknesses of the techAlso important to make sure learning is not altered to fit around the device’s limitations e.g. standing in the shade to see the screen rather than standing in the best place for the teaching; having to factor in extra time to set up/change batteries etc.
  • Augmented reality and mobile learning: the state of the art

    1. 1. Augmented reality andmobile learning:the state of the artElizabeth FitzGerald, Anne Adams, Rebecca Ferguson,Mark Gaved, Yishay Mor & Rhodri Thomas
    2. 2. Our story today• Introduction• Defining technology-enhanced realities• Augmented reality, situated learning and embodiment• Classifying AR• Criticisms and limitations of AR• Embedding AR in mobile learning: current and future• Summary• Main contributions: pedagogy and taxonomy
    3. 3. What is augmented reality (AR)?• Goal of AR is to add information and meaning to a real object or place• Enables learners to “explore” the physical world without assuming any prior knowledge• Superimpose “information overlays” or layers, onto the world around you, using a handheld device• Add audio commentary, location data, historical context or other forms of content that can make a user‟s experience of a thing or a place more meaningful
    4. 4. Haptic Lotus Hidden Histories: to the Castle! Plus new „mobile media‟ app on the way from the OU: Situ8 (watch this space!)
    5. 5. Current uses of AR• Sports coverage• Retail/marketing• Networking („Augmented ID‟) or find someone in a crowd• Aviation („head-up displays‟ on windscreen of plane)• Training or task support• Navigation• Sightseeing e.g. outdoor venues; museums and art galleries
    6. 6. Defining technology-enhanced realities:virtual, mixed and augmented• Fusion of digital information in real world settings• 3 essential properties: – real and virtual objects in real environment – a system that aligns these objects – that runs interactively in real time• Not just graphical media: can also be textual, audio, video, haptic• Context is key; also explicit intentionality of media Reality-Virtuality Continuum, redrawn from Milgram et al 1994
    7. 7. AR, situated learning and embodiment• Situated learning – Authentic, contextual – Use of tools to mediate contact with the world• Embodiment and embodied cognition – Physical interactions with world help us to create meaning• Other related research: – Ecology of resources – Reality-based interaction – Space/place (Dourish)• Do we need a new theory of augmented place? (see E. FitzGerald [in press – Oct/Nov 2012] Towards a Theory of Augmented Place. IEEE Learning Technologies Newsletter: Special theme on Technology-Augmented Physical Educational Spaces. Pre-print available at
    8. 8. Classifying AR• Examined 6 projects using AR for mobile learning• Dimensions used: – Device or technology used – Mode of interaction – Method of sensory feedback to the user (visual/audio/text/video) – Type of experience (personal or shared) – Fixed/static or portable experience – Learning activities or outcomes• Range of devices used but changing emphasis• Mode of interaction mostly passive and/or exploratory• Mostly mixed media• Both personal and shared experiences
    9. 9. Criticisms and limitations of AR• Technical challenges – GPS accuracy and registration errors – Varying signal quality of phone networks/WiFi coverage – Battery life of devices – Viewing the screen in bright sunlight PLUS… – Using devices in the rain innovation vs• Pedagogical challenges sustainability? – Learning not necessarily driven by the pedagogy – Novelty of the tech may detract from the experience – Ensure learning is not altered to fit around the limitations of the device – Tech might be more engaging that surrounding environment (is the student removed from real world?) – Consider first the learning goals and objectives – Reduction in observation skills due to excessive reinforcing/scaffolding?
    10. 10. Embedding AR in mobile learning• Can promote engagement and motivation• Can support particular learning activities such as problem solving (see e.g. Luckin and Stanton Fraser, 2011)• Augmented Contexts for Development (ACD)• Language learning – translational overlays• Haptic interfaces e.g. Haptic Lotus and use of sensors for visually impaired users
    11. 11. The future of AR in mobile learning• Future work expected to include research into transparent heads-up displays e.g. Google Glass• Also work into the „Augmented Campus‟ and closer integration with friendship circles/social networks• Do we need a pedagogical model for AR? – Framework to guide design and evaluation of AR learning experiences (Image attribution: Jeremykemp at en.wikipedia)
    12. 12. Summary• Introduction to AR• Theoretical underpinning• Taxonomy of AR mobile learning projects to analyse current trends• Limitations and challenges• Examples of current and potential future use
    13. 13. Thanks for listening. Questions, comments, feedback?Email: elara99