Educators are still debating whether face-to-face classes are superior to online classes in terms of learning effectiveness. However, one thing is for sure — online classes are way more convenient and flexible. Additionally, online classes are better supported by technologies that enhance how students learn.
One of the technologies expected to see more prevalence in the field of education is augmented reality (AR). It can make online education more interactive and engaging, allowing students to visualize and interact with 3D objects, videos, and animations.
In this article, we will discuss the following:
- Virtual labs
- Remote learning
- Cultural and historical education
- Language learning
Table of Contents
Augmented Reality – definition
Before we dive into the applications of augmented reality in online education, let us first answer the question: what is augmented reality?
Augmented reality is a technology that overlays digital information, such as images, videos, and 3D models, on top of the real world. This allows users to see and interact with virtual objects in a way that feels more realistic and engaging.
Unlike virtual reality (VR), which immerses users in a completely digital environment, AR enhances the user’s perception of the real world by adding digital elements to it. This can be done through a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets, or specialized headsets. Common examples of AR include Snapchat filters, Pokemon Go, and virtual try-on for clothes, among others.
1 – Visualization of concepts
Augmented reality takes visual aid to the next level. It can generate 3D models and animations that can help students digest complex concepts such as anatomy, physics, and engineering. AR does this by allowing students to see and interact with the concepts in a more engaging and memorable way.
Here are some examples of how AR can help in visualization:
- In science classes, students can use AR to see and manipulate virtual models of cells, molecules, and other microscopic structures that would be difficult or impossible to observe in real life.
- In engineering classes, students can use AR to see and interact with virtual models of mechanical systems and engineering projects, which can help them to understand how the systems work and how to design and build them.
- In medicine, students can use AR to interact with virtual models of the human body and see how different systems work together.
2 – Virtual labs and simulations
In online classes, students rarely have access to traditional lab equipment. AR can solve this problem by giving generating a virtual lab. Even at home, students using AR can have hands-on experience that would be difficult to replicate in a traditional classroom setting.
Moreover, the virtual labs and simulations generated by AR can be cost-effective as they can be used over and over again, without the need for expensive equipment or materials. Since the equipment is virtual, students can perform experiments and practice procedures without the risk of injury.
3 – Interactive quizzes and games
Gamifying learning is made much easier by augmented reality. Teachers can use AR to create interactive quizzes and games that are more fun and engaging. This application is especially useful for younger students because it can help keep them motivated and engaged.
AR can make gamified activities a lot more engaging by deeply immersing the students. By overlaying digital information on top of the real world, AR can make learning materials more engaging and memorable because students feel like they are interacting with the material in a real-world context.
Distractions are more plentiful in online class settings, so the increased interactivity generated by AI is helpful in keeping students focused on learning.
4 – Remote learning
Augmented reality can bring remote learning closer to face-to-face learning by giving students access to tools and materials they do not have at home. AR goes even further by providing students access to virtual environments and interaction with 3D objects and simulations which they would not be able to access otherwise.
5 – Cultural and historical education
Sending students to cultural and historical sites for learning can be expensive and may expose students to various threats. With augmented reality, students can learn about culture and history without leaving the safety of their homes.
AR can give students access to digital replicas of historical buildings, artifacts, and landscapes. Furthermore, AR can create 3D models and animations of historical events, giving students a close-up look.
Lastly, augmented reality can help preserve historical sites by creating virtual versions of them. Instead of visiting the sites and wearing them down, students can experience the sites virtually instead. On the other hand, sites that have been destroyed are forever preserved via their digital replicas.
6 – Language learning
Immersion is among the most effective ways of mastering a foreign language. AR can immerse language students in virtual environments containing the cultural context for the language they are learning. While it is not a substitute for visiting the country, the virtual environments generated by AR can mimic real-life immersion effectively.
Augmented reality, coupled with speech recognition, can also provide real-time feedback on pronunciation and intonation. This makes the improvement of speaking skills faster.
Augmented reality is slowly taking over our daily lives. We can expect AR to take a bigger role in education as it further develops. When it becomes more accessible, students around the world will be using AR to enhance their learning experience.