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AR in Education: How to Make Learning Fun with Tech

Maja Nowak
Content Manager
Education

Bored out of my mind with a growling stomach, I remember sitting during biology lessons with no clue whatsoever what my teacher was saying about cellular structures and the human nervous system.

Well, if it were possible for the teacher to put it this way:

The human nervous system from Google’s search result page. Source: Google

… I might have even become a doctor. I mean, who knows, right?

But two decades ago, diving into an immersive augmented reality biology lesson was stuff out of wicked dreams or good sci-fi movies.

I mean, those were the times of the Nokia 3310.

Remembering the thrill of the Snake game on the Nokia 3310.

Currently, augmented reality in education is reviving traditional classes, giving educators a new way of engaging students and teaching them difficult concepts.

On top of reviving the classroom, augmented reality apps for education also help increase student learning motivation and amplify professional training.

How Augmented Reality Helps Educators Teach

According to research, most of us are visual learners — we learn and understand concepts best when provided with visual cues.

Augmented reality is therefore a great enabler of learning experiences, especially with the growing capabilities of this technology.

The rendering of objects has improved, along with the ability of 3D models to react to the environment in which they’re projected.

A systematic review of a decade of using AR in education (2008–2018) has revealed that augmented reality is “increasing motivation (24%) and facilitating interaction (18%).”

Various studies analyzed in the review also found that AR:

Now let’s take a closer look at how exactly augmented reality helps students learn better and more effectively.

Don't know much about AR? Head over to our guide on augmented reality for more details about this tech.

AR Boosts Student Engagement

While learning is fun in itself, some classes can bore even the most curious person out there. And let’s say it, when you’re bored, the last thing you want to do is to actually understand something.

With many schools and universities still using remote education in many countries, engagement is more important than ever to maintain the quality of education.

Augmented reality helps teachers stimulate students’ interest by providing them with immersive visual experiences.

A mitochondrion — Google’s jab at AR cellular structures. Source: Google

Google is developing its AR capabilities full-throttle. With the company’s Google for Education initiative, educators can use several 3D models to help students better understand concepts and retain knowledge.

Many popular queries can be rendered in AR directly from the mobile browser on an Android phone.

AR Increases Learning Motivation

AR delivers immersive experiences with interaction features that increase student motivation to learn.

For example, undergraduate health science students exhibited greater learning motivation when using an augmented reality app to study human organs.

Human organs in Anatomy 4D. Source: Educational App Store

Interestingly, researchers found that “Anatomy 4D mobile application was better able to hold the attention of the students than the anatomy notes.” 

By leveraging augmented reality, students can receive practical experience in multiple fields in a simulated learning environment.

AR Facilitates the Understanding of Difficult Concepts

Augmented reality can help students understand difficult and abstract concepts. For example, how the human digestive system looks and works like.

Digestive system as seen in mixed reality via HoloLens. Source: HoloPundits

On a bigger scale, the enormity of the universe and our own solar system are difficult to comprehend, but augmented reality lets students get a more immersive view of such gargantuan structures.

Solar system in AR Solar System. Source: AR Solar System

Augmented reality lets students experience and understand scientific phenomena without actually running experiments.

For example, various chemical reactions are too dangerous to run in the classroom. By bringing these experiments into a tangible virtual environment, AR gives students access to many topics beyond reach.

Another way augmented reality makes learning immersive is by letting students manipulate objects and experience the resulting reactions and phenomena.

This way, students gain a better conceptual understanding of topics that could otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Augmented Reality Improves Learning Performance

Augmented reality helps students learn new concepts faster and more effectively.

For example, in a study evaluating zSpace, an AR/VR learning solution, researchers found that it was easier for students to understand concepts better when augmented reality was involved.

zSpace is a comprehensive solution built to create immersive classrooms for experiential learning. Using zSpace, educators can prepare custom learning material enriched with advanced augmented reality elements.

zSpace lets students manipulate objects and have an immersive experience through special glasses. Source: zSpace


With tools such as zSpace, educators can craft curriculums in a way that makes it easier and faster for students to absorb information.

Medical students and engineers can perform procedures on virtual objects to practice their skills and gain the necessary knowledge.

AR Adds Context to Lessons

For history teachers, it can be tricky to maintain a seamless experience for students for the duration of the whole lesson.

Without an easily relatable context, students usually pore over dates and time periods — tangible visual material could help them digest the lesson better.

For example, when talking about hieroglyphs or historical structures, educators can render the object right in the classroom, and then deliver the lesson.

Building Immersive Homework with AR

Not all students are equally eager to do their homework. Some need a little more incentive. 

Augmented reality helps make workbooks and textbooks more interesting by letting students engage in immersive 3D renderings of studied concepts.

Enriching student materials with AR is affordable and accessible. In the US, 53% of children under the age of 11 and 84% of teenagers own a smartphone.

A snapshot from Reptiles & Amphibians: An Augmented Reality Popup Book. Source: Amazon

Augmented Reality is an Affordable Way to Innovate and Amplify the Learning Experience

The current technology and tools available to render AR experiences are affordable, and most students have them in their pockets. On the other hand, the more sophisticated AR solutions such as headsets are getting cheaper every year.

AR-enhanced classes can also be delivered through iPads or tablets provided by the school to groups of students, which further facilitates adoption.

Regardless of the device, lessons enriched with augmented reality increase student engagement, motivation, satisfaction, and commitment.

With decreasing costs and increasing adoption, augmented reality might be a valuable tool for educators, making the lessons more interesting and the learning process more effective.

Contact us to learn how augmented reality can amplify training for your students or employees.

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