Surfing the Future Pedagogies: Augmented Learning

Augmented learningWhat’s so great about augmented learning anyway? Another activity blamed for lost hours of youth and productivity? Teens and adults hunched over just another game controlling their emotions and relationships? A super-glorified way to present educational technology? Yes, augmented learning is all that and more: enhanced learner experience and achievement. Before you scroll down to see how long this article is, (and whether this is worth your time), know that augmented learning is here to stay. It has the potential for enriching a learning environment and enticing learners for more. If you are an instructional designer (or if any relative of yours is) you need to update your instruction design toolbox already. Augmented reality is not hard to create and it certainly isn’t limited to software engineers. Augmented reality check: do you like your smartphone? You will want to learn how to implement this element in your course. If you don’t like your smartphone, well, now you are really missing out! If you have learned how to create interactivity in your courses, you really are ready to take your instruction development up another notch! Try Metaio as a beginner. It enables you to create your first augmented reality app. Layar has similar user-friendly tools (or tools for coding-averse users) to created augmented reality in your courses.  

  But wait a minute. Why do you want to learn about augmented reality? Watch this video to learn how instruction developers are integrating data display tools to create context-centered or situated learning. What if your images could talk? Imagine if you were Harry Potter reading the newspaper. You would see all images become videos. Or think about Robocop (3, of course!). You have “robot-vision” that allows you to scan an object and watch its stats (or vital stats, if its alive!!) spring on the side. You have immediate acknowledgement of the object you scanned. You can take informed decisions on how to deal with the object (opponent, friend, feeling, facial recognition etc etc.). Don’t gape at your screen. It’s happening already. Why should you be the last to mount the augmented reality layer on your learning materials? Imagine if you are a Botany teacher, you visit an overseas horticulture wonder. You want to capture the details of ferns and firs in your phone. You want to share all images in your next course. Capture as many and collect data on each specimen. Now back home, use your images to create an augmentation application. Ask your students to download the app before they leave for the upcoming botanical garden field trip. Using the screen of their smartphones, your students can scan the garden. Any specimen you need them to know, will be elaborated in the form of supporting information: history, morphology and characteristics and your audio narration! Imagine no more repeating yourself. Your students are too engaged to bother. What if you are a training professional in an organization? Your job is to train newcomers of the factory equipment they need to work on. An augmented reality app will enable you to superimpose information on a real equipment image. Once the app scans the right equipment it displays the pertaining information. Learning is situated with better chances of immediate transfer. Watch this video to learn more:  
  By linking educational content to real places, environment and object, learning becomes meaningful and processed better. Don’t we all try to do exactly that? Link boring text to rich media? Imagine linking the same text to the real environment. Are your learners ESL (English as a Second Language) candidates? Simply ask them to download a translation augmented reality app and send them to a field trip. Upon scanning a foreign language sign board, they will be able to see a translated version of the signboard on their smartphone screen!  
  When learning becomes a game, it is not a chore any more. By stimulating the natural curiosity of the learner, augmented reality encourages deeper and insightful learning. Exceeding learning objectives in your course is not a dream any more. Augmented reality is social learning. Consider the following possibilities in an augmented reality enhanced learning:

  • Build learning experiences as puzzles or chunks of information that needs to be put together as a whole. For example, clues to add to the story line to solve a mystery.
  • User Archive: your app users have glossary items and other surplus information to refer to when they need.
  • YouTube and Vimeo Re-Use: Simply use the video to add your augmented reality layer. Describing the scenes with interesting graphics and data makes learning interesting.
  • Role-based learning: Assign learners responsible for a set of related information. They become experts and share their knowledge with others through chat enabled features in the application.
  • Embedded Assessments: Real-time assessments are also possible by pop up messages that request for “fill in the blank” or multiple choice type questions. Learners and instructors are connected throughout the augmented learning experience.
  • Digital Objects & Multimedia embedding (i.e., text, audio, graphics) (DO). You can overlay the physical environment with interactive multimedia objects, items, and characters.
  • Location-based functions (i.e., GPS and compass). Your learners can trigger and experience location-specific narrative, navigation, and/or academic information when they come within relative proximity to the location.
  • Overhead and Live View. App users toggle back and forth between an overhead, satellite view (e.g., Google Maps) and a live-view that uses the handheld’s camera to display interactive media on top of the video image.

Creating Knowledge with Augmented Reality

Learning environment authenticity is a feature strived by top instructional designers. Re-creating work environments through scenarios and re-enacting workplace interactions through avatars and characters are some of the efforts to create experiential and explorative opportunities. 3-D simulations and dialogue exchange are also popular in successful learning experiences. Instead of creating a new world to learn, augmented reality extends the possibilities in the real world for education. Augmented reality offers the above in a real or a LIVE setting. Learners are no longer recipients of information, rather, they manipulate and construct new knowledge with each other and the environment. Augmented reality is an advanced form of active learning that promotes knowledge creation and smoother transfer. What ways of using augmented reality in Learning Management Systems do you see? How would you implement it to you e-learning course?

Check our full video on Augmented Learning:

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