ELEARNING AND AUGMENTED REALITY: APPLICATIONS AND ADVANTAGES

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Today we talk about elearning software and augmented reality. Augmented reality, also called with the abbreviation AR, is a constantly evolving technology that represents altered reality with additional artificial information. Although it is a technology that has already existed for several years, its spread is taking place only recently, also thanks to Google Glass. Before investing in sectors such as mobile and learning, AR was developed in more technical areas such as military, scientific research and medicine.

Augmented reality first reached the general audience in 2009, thanks to the iPhone 3GS, with Layar, a reality browser that used the GPS of the device and the accelerometer to receive information from the monuments framed with the camera.

What does this have to do with elearning? Human beings better remember what they see rather than what they listen to, that is the reason why integrating an elearning platform with augmented reality is always more effective.

THE AUGMENTED REALITY: LEARNING AND ELEARNING PROCESSES

In recent years, the augmented reality project has been demonstrating to the elearning sector that it can be an excellent tool for professional updating and training. In fact, augmented reality enhances the human experience through sounds, images, texts and videos that can be used through a device.

Thus, it promotes learning and improves learning retention in various sectors, such as medical-scientific, industrial or commercial. Associated with traditional teaching, in fact, it allows practical and experimental activities to transform the learning experience into a playful and effective experience. Learning by doing is one of the most successful forms of the immersive learning process.

Augmented reality applications allow learners to interact with objects, such as 3D models and other online training tools, and help them develop their communication and interpersonal skills. On the other hand, trainers and teachers will have new and accurate tools to evaluate students’ commitment and to provide them with personalised teaching materials that improve their attitudes. But what are the areas in which AR is used today?

Augmented reality applied to medicine makes zero-risk surgical trials and collective training possible. It also offers numerous advantages for those involved in recruitment and human resources. Augmented reality applied to elearning provides tools capable of involving learners, both physically and emotionally. By the use of tools such as the QR Code, it is possible to offer personalized professional training, beneficial for both individual workers and for the company.

To remain in the field of medicine, the experiments undertaken in this direction highlight numerous and incredible advantages obtained by using AR for laparoscopic operations. High level results are obtained and thanks to real-time feedback the learning techniques is improved. In doing so, doctors could exploit AR as a sort of “user manual” of the entire operation, with costs significantly lower than the simulation offered by virtual reality, which is still too experimental.

Learners of all ages, from children to the elderly, can take advantage of smart interactive training courses and derive numerous advantages:

  • With augmented reality it is easier to learn even complex and abstract concepts, precisely because human beings remember better what they see rather than what they hear;
  • Augmented reality involves users with gamification, stimulating their attention and creativity;
  • AR is available to everyone through a simple smartphone, without making it necessary to use other expensive interactive tools;
  • In some ways, the HR can replace the execution of practical exercises. Being usable indistinctly from any device, augmented reality gives the student the opportunity to learn at any time and from anywhere.

AR technology and learning processes

The changes brought about by digital technologies, now available to everyone, have changed the way users interact. Augmented reality, in particular, as it is pervasive and engaging, also has repercussions on the world of education.

Augmented Reality, thanks to the integration and overlapping of real and virtual contents that are used through a special device, enables to insert and disseminate additional information to give the possibility to the user to interact with the environment around him. In augmented reality the virtual elements (they are called this way but must be distinguished from those of virtual reality) are overlapped into the real ones, although it is impossible to confuse them. Here the elements of the real world always prevail over those of the virtual world, while in VR the opposite is true.

There are also lightly augmented (slightly augmented reality) and heavily augmented (consistently augmented), in cases where immersive helmets or wearable devices are used to use AR, which work in a very similar way to virtual reality and which vary on the basis of the expected immersion. With the arrival on the market and its diffusion, AR technology has become mainstream and arouses growing interest precisely because of the variety of possible applications related to entertainment, but also to learning results.

The AR can optimize the learning processes of the learners, in order to improve interaction between groups of students, to create positive interdependence and a sense of individual responsibility, to strengthen working groups and promote an interactive and effective type of learning.

In the outdoor learning path, augmented reality improves the overall experience of the learners in several ways. Here are some additional benefits of augmented reality applied to education:

  • It enables to "learn by doing", or to develop knowledge in an active and autonomous way;
  • Facilitates the research process of students, providing information on AR devices available, they do not need any type of external intervention. It increases the level of attention and concentration on the task;
  • It reduces the room for error, since theoretical information and its practical application occur simultaneously, facilitating memorization;
  • In-depth understanding, with new notions stored within the learner’s knowledge. Augmented reality in education provides the opportunity to explore the mechanisms of the world and experience them firsthand;
  • Effective development of human memory skills, due to the fact that children who learn by educational systems integrated with AR can recall information more easily;
  • It Facilitates cooperation and stimulates collaboration between students;
  • Learning with augmented reality means learning in stimulating and captivating ways, therefore it is fun and interesting;
  • According to a survey by MIUR (the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research), in 2016/2017 the number of students with specific learning disabilities in Italy is around 2.9% of the total number of students.

Moreover, the learning processes in the automotive sector and in specialized mechanics have countless advantages thanks to AR, as a tool that supports workers during their daily work and simplifies their work. For this reason, the interface of the AR processes must be intuitive and transparent.

For a person who experiences AR, it is important to be aware that this experience can lead a long-lasting change, due to the type of learning that enables to store the knowledge acquired. The change will take place on several levels: experience and intuition, reasoning and reflection.

The effectiveness of augmented reality lies precisely in the fact that it approaches real contexts and emulates them by:

  • Offering learners more stimuli and tasks to be performed;
  • Keeping the student's attention active on the task to be performed;
  • Simplifying the student's homework;
  • Narrowing down the possibilities of actions for solving the task.

It would therefore be an instrument that acts on several levels on the learning process, placing itself now as a tool capable of enriching the experience, now as an environment, now as a tool capable of helping and providing the necessary directives to achieve the objectives set.

The future of augmented reality in learning

To date, AR seems to be an effective tool not only for strategies applied to marketing and entertainment, but also the entire learning process. This is due to the ease and practicality of this technology, the quality of the experience that users have and the decrease in construction costs. In fact, there are many apps in AR and allow educators to experience new ways of learning, which must not replace traditional practices, but represent a middle ground capable of reconciling innovation and tradition.

Augmented reality has the potential to become a standard tool of the educational system. Thanks to it we move from the classic teaching-listening approach to a participatory study method in which both students and teachers are engaged in the learning process, becoming active players.

The so-called augmented learning aims at the independence of learners and the stimulation of creative and communicative skills.

In fact, AR is a coherent and effective response to bridge the gap between standard systems and new needs in the field of education, because it focuses on stimulating critical thinking and problem solving, in order to analyse situations from different points of view.

Find out more about AR in the elearning sector by reading our JOurnal!

If you are looking for a reliable supplier or a authoritative partner for projects, VITECO could be the solution for you.

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