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5/9/2016

UsingAugmentedRealityforContextualMobileLearningbyJasonHaag:LearningSolutionsMagazine

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Using Augmented Reality for Contextual Mobile Learning

by Jason Haag
November 25, 2013

AtDevLearn13,Ihadthehonorofspeakingonanexcitingtopic:Augmentedreality(AR)anditsusesin
mobilelearning.AfterthepresentationIheardfromanumberofattendeeswhowereequallyexcited
aboutthepossibilitiesandexamplesIshared,andmanywerealsointerestedindiscussingthetechnical
andpedagogicalchallengesthatweoftendismissbecauseofthenoveltyassociatedwithARtechnology.
WhileIhadcollectednumerousresourcesonARinpreparationforDevLearn,Iwasntabletoshareall
ofthemduringmypresentation.Inaddition,severalattendeesandpeershaveaskedforlinkstotheAR
examplesandresourcesIcovered,soImmakingthemavailablethroughthisarticle.

Mobile augmented reality


Whatisaugmentedreality?ARcomprisesaliveviewofarealworldenvironment(reality)with
computergeneratedinput(includingsound,graphics,text,video,andGPSinformation)supplementing
(augmenting)thevisualelementsintheview.Inotherwords,ARprovidesuswithanenhancedviewof
therealworld.InspiteoftheimpressionofnoveltythateLearningpractitionersandtheirmanagersmay
have,ARhasbeenaroundnowformanyyearsitisnotanewphenomenon.
WhymightARmattertothefieldofeLearning?Allowmetociteakeypointmadeinapaperfromthe
OpenUniversity:eLearningdesigners,developers,andeducatorsoftenlackclarityregardingtheimpact
thatalearnerssituationhasontheirlearning.(SeeReferencesattheendofthisarticle.)
Mobileaugmentedrealityprovideslearningdesignersandeducatorswithanewopportunitytostart
thinkingmoredeeplyaboutthemobilelearnerscontextandsituation.Infact,thekeythingtoremember
aboutmobileaugmentedrealityisthatitisaboutaugmentingexperiencesinrealworldenvironments,
whereverthelearnerhappenstobe.ARtechnologiescantakeanysituation,location,environment,or
experiencetoawholenewlevelofmeaningandunderstanding.ARisuniquelychangingthewaypeople
learnwithmobiledevices.
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UsingAugmentedRealityforContextualMobileLearningbyJasonHaag:LearningSolutionsMagazine

AnoteofcautionisinorderbeforeIgofurther.DuringmysessionatDevLearn,NancyProctor,headof
mobilestrategyandinitiativesattheSmithsonianInstitution,pointedoutthattherearemanyexamplesof
ineffectiveaugmentedreality.Theseofteninvolveapplicationsthattheircreatorscouldhaveeasilybeen
developedbyusingmoreprimitiveformsofengagement,suchasstaticgraphics.Iminagreementwith
NancyaboutthemisuseofAR,andwecanexpecttoseetheconsumerworldexploitingthenoveltyand
commercialismofARinthecomingyears.(SeethestorybyStephenVagusintheReferencesattheend
ofthisarticle.)
Havingsaidthat,IbelievethatsomethebestopportunitiestoleverageARtechnologyforlearningare
duringsituatedactivitiesorcontextualexperiencesinotherwords,whereapersonis,whileapersonis
doingsomething:mobile.HowbigwillthismobileARopportunitybe?AccordingtoSemicosreporton
augmentedreality(seeReferences),over864millionhighendcellphoneswillbeARenabledby2014,
withrevenuesrelatedtoARtechnologyapproaching600billionby2016.Whilestillinitsinfancy,mobile
ARisstartingtodriveinnovationwithintheeducation,gaming,medical,mobile,automotive,and
manufacturingmarkets.

Classifying AR
TherearemanyformsofAR(seeSidebar1,andalsotheCommonCraftvideolistedinReferences).My
interestforthisarticleliesspecificallywithmobileaugmentedrealityasoneofthemostpowerfulformsof
contextualmobilelearning.InadditiontothemanyexamplesofARthatutilizesmartphonesandtablets,
ImalsointerestedinmobilewearablessuchasGoogleGlassthatwillprovideuswithevenmoreoptions
forcontextuallearninginthemobileARlandscape.
Sidebar1:Augmentedvirtuality:similartobutnotthesameasmobileAR.
IdliketopointoutanimportantdistinctionbetweenmobileARandasimilarapplication.Itispossible
toaugmentvirtualandrealworldenvironmentsandtomergethemtogether.Thisfallsunderthe
categoryofaugmentedvirtualityandisreallyoutsidethescopeofcontextualmobilelearning.Much
interestingworkhasbeendoneintheareaofvirtualreality,mixedreality,andvirtualworldsand
educationhowever,asIveprobablymadeclear,Immostintriguedwithhowlearningtakesplacein
anaugmentedrealworld.
WhilecollectinganumberofmobileARexamplesduringmyresearchwork,thepaperfromtheOpen
University(citedearlier)providedsomemuchneededclarityandguidanceforaugmentedrealitywhen
examiningitsimplicationsanduniqueaffordancesformobilelearning.Theauthorsprovidedaworking
definitionofARtoincludethefusionofanydigitalinformationwithinrealworldsettings,i.e.beingableto
augmentonesimmediatesurroundingswithelectronicdataorinformation,inavarietyofmediaformats
thatincludenotonlyvisualandgraphicmediabutalsotext,audio,videoandhapticoverlays.
TheauthorsalsoaddressedARinabroaderrealitycontextandprovidedseveralimportantdistinctions
betweenvirtualrealityandmixedreality.However,Ifoundthefollowingfouraspectsthatareuniqueto
mobileARworthmentioning.CombiningmobilewithARfostersuseofthefollowingtypesofinformationin
supportoflearning:
Themobilityoftheuser
Theusersgeographicalposition
Thephysicalplacewherelearningcanoccur
Formallearningconnectionstoinformallearning
TheauthorsalsoinvestigatedavarietyofdevicetypesthatIwouldntthinkofasbeingtrulymobile.
However,theclassificationschemetheypresentediswellsuitedforanalyzingtodaysdifferentformsof
mobileAR.TheauthorsofthepaperclassifiedARaccordingtothesekeyaspects(Figure1):

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UsingAugmentedRealityforContextualMobileLearningbyJasonHaag:LearningSolutionsMagazine

1.Device/technology
2.Modeofinteraction
3.Typeofmediaused(sensoryfeedbackmethod)
4.Personalorsharedexperience
5.Characteroftheexperience
6.Learningactivitiesoroutcomes

Figure
1:Classificationtablefordifferenttypesofmobileaugmentedreality
Mostoftheseclassificationcategoriesareintuitiveanddontrequiremuchexplanation.However,modes
ofinteractionwarrantssomediscussion.Thesemodesrelatetoeitherprovidingpassiveinformation
overlaystothelearner,dependingontheirphysicallocation,movements,andgestures,orengagingthe
learnerinanexploratorymodewheretheyareencouragedtoactivelydiscoverorcreatemedianearby
inordertosolveaproblemormeetcharactersfromastory.
Theauthorspointedoutthatmoremodesofinteractioncouldevolveinthefuturealthoughsome,such
astheconstructionistmode,maybemorerelevanttospecificknowledgedomains(e.g.architectureor
structuralengineering)whiletheactive/exploratorymodeismorerelevanttoARgames.
Manyofthetechnicalandpedagogicalchallengesidentifiedinthepaperarecommonconcernsoften
associatedwithdesigninganddevelopingformobile.However,someofthekeyARconcernsidentified
bytheauthorsinclude:
ThenoveltyofARtechnologymaydetractfromthelearningexperience
UsingtheARtechnologymayrequiretechsupport(ifnoteasytouseandinstall)
Theoverlayoflabelsandfeaturescouldharmobservationskillsthroughexcessivereinforcement
Thispaperreallyhelpedmetobeginthinkingaboutthedifferentcharacteristicsofmobileaugmented
realityandhowweasdesignersanddevelopersmightbeginthinkingaboutleveragingaugmentedreality
technologiesforlearningthroughthisclassificationlens.

Mobile learning AR app examples


TheclassificationschemepresentedinthepaperfromtheOpenUniversitywasadditionallyusefulin
identifyingtheaugmentedrealityexamplesIwantedtoshowatDevLearn.Whiletherearemanyother
examplesofmobileARoutthere,thefollowingexampleswereprimarilyselectedbecausetheyprovide
excellentmodelsofusingARforcontextualmobilelearningexperiencesorperformancesupport.Ihope
thislistofexamplesprovidessomeideasforthosewhowanttogetstartedusingARformobilelearning.
Whilelookingattheseexamples,considerreflectinguponthecategoriesintheclassificationscheme.
Whatotherexamplesofaugmentedrealityforcontextualmobilelearninghaveyouseen?
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UsingAugmentedRealityforContextualMobileLearningbyJasonHaag:LearningSolutionsMagazine

1.DowDayisoneofthemostwidelyknownARexamplesformobilelearningandwasdeveloped
usingtheopensourceAugmentedRealityInteractiveStorytelling(ARIS)platform.(ARISvideo)
2.WordLensbuildsontheflashcardsconceptprovidingrealtimewordtranslationusingAR
technology.(WordLensvideo)
3.FunMapsforKidsaugmentsaworldmaptoprovidemorecontextswhenlearningaboutthe
continents,geographicallandmarks,andanimals.(FunMapsvideo)
4.StarWalkisanaugmentedrealityastronomyguideandprovidesarealtimeviewoftheskys
stars,constellations,andsatellitesbypointingthecameraatthesky.(StarWalkvideo)
5.Leafsnapisafreeelectronicfieldguidefortrees,providesleafshaperecognition,andhas
thousandsofphotosofseveralspeciesoftreesflowers,fruit,bark,andmore.(Leafsnapvideo)
6.Anatomy4DallowslearnerstoexplorethehumananatomyandwasbuiltusingQualcomms
vuforiaplatform.(Anatomy4Dvideo)
7.DASHSmartInstrumentTechnologiesisaportablesurgicalnavigationsystemdesignedtoassist
orthopedicsurgeonsinperformingkneeandhipjointreplacementprocedures.(DASHvideo)
8.HPSupportsperformancesupportapphelpsyouchangetheinkcartridgesinselectHPprinters.
(HPSupportvideo)
9.Audisaugmentedownersmanualappshowstherangeoffunctionsthecarofferswithouthaving
toreadthemanual.ThisappwasdevelopedusingtheMetaioplatform.(Audiownersmanual
video)
10.VolkswagensMobileAugmentedRealityTechnicalAssistance(MARTA)appprovidesservice
support.ThisappwasdevelopedusingtheMetaioplatform.(MARTAvideo)
11. Aurasmasaugmentedrealityappcanbeusedtocreateaurasforaugmentinganyobjectby
triggeringandloadinga3Dobject,image,orprerecordedvideo,andisidealforcreating
learningopportunitiesfortrainingorperformancesupport.Checkoutthetwodifferentexamples
usingAurasmabelow.
CombatMediciscardgamethatisaugmentedbyAurasmaandwascreatedbytheUniversityof
CentralFloridasMETILlabfortheU.S.ArmyResearchLab.(CombatMedicvideo)
ThesecondexamplebelowisavideocapturedbyamechanicwhileusingAurasmatoshowhow
thisARtechnologycombinedwithprerecordedvideoscouldbeusedfortrainingnovice
mechanicsaswellasprovidingperformancesupporttomoreexperiencedones.(Aurasmademo:
mechanic)

Mobile AR content creation and development platforms


InsomeoftheexamplesaboveIsharedlinkstotheARcreationappsordevelopmentplatformsthattheir
authorsused.DuringmypresentationatDevlearnIalsoconcludedwithalistoftheARcreationapps,
tools,anddevelopmentplatformsthatIvebeenexploring.
ARIS(http://arisgames.org)
Aurasma(http://aurasma.com)
Junaio(http://junaio.com)
Layar(http://layar.com)
Metaio(http://metaio.com)
Vuforia(http://vuforia.com)
Wikitude(http://wikitude.com)

Mobile wearables and the future of AR


WhilemanyoftheexamplesinthepaperfromtheOpenUniversityaddressedmorethanjustmobileAR,
thepaperstillprovidedagoodfoundationforthinkingabouttheattributesofnewmobiledevicetypes
suchaswearableslikeGoogleGlass.
Believeitornot,therearemanyARconceptsalreadyunderdevelopmentforGoogleGlass.Infact,
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Junaio,awellknownARplatform,recentlyannouncedsupportforGoogleGlassattheInsideAR
conference.IntermsofcontextualmobilelearningwithGlassthereisFieldTripAppthatisalsoavailable
oniOSandAndroidmobiledevices.OneofthemostrecentexamplesofcontextualmobilelearningIve
seenonGlassutilizesanewfeaturecalledVignettes.ItsaWordoftheDayAppthatactuallyevolvedout
ofcombiningtheGlassAppwithsocialmedia.
ThepotentialusesofGoogleGlassforperformancesupporthavebeenahottopicthisyear,butitsvery
compellingtoseeactualproofofconceptsbeingdevelopedforrealworldsituations.Butwhatdo
wearablesholdforthefutureofaugmentedrealityandcontextualmobilelearning?Whilelookingfor
wearableARexampleslikeGoogleGlassIfoundthisconceptualandfuturisticvideoonSpaceGlasses.
Futuresolutionslikethisseemtosuggestadirectiontowardacontextuallyrichmixedreality
environment.WhiletherearemixedrealityARexamplesavailabletodaysuchasZspace,theydontallow
formobilityaswearablesdo.WiththeadventandadoptionofwearablemobiledevicesthefutureofAR
couldevolveintosomethingIpreviouslythoughtonlyHollywoodmoviesmightportray.

References
CommonCraft(June10,2010).AugmentedRealityExplainedbyCommonCraft.(FreeVersion).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA1l4Jn6EY
FitzGerald,Elizabeth,AnneAdams,RebeccaFerguson,MarkGaved,YishayMor,andRhodriThomas.
AugmentedRealityandMobileLearning:TheStateoftheArt.11thWorldConferenceonMobileand
ContextualLearning(mLearn2012).2012.http://oro.open.ac.uk/34281/1/ARpaper_FINAL.pdf
SemicoResearchCorporation.AugmentedReality:EnvisionaMoreIntelligentWorld.October2012.
http://www.semico.com/content/augmentedrealityenvisionmoreintelligentworld
Vagus,Stephen.MobileAugmentedRealityMayHaveaBrightFuture.MobileCommerceNews.12
November2013.http://www.qrcodepress.com/mobileaugmentedrealitymaybrightfuture/8524103/

Topics Covered
BlendedLearning,DevelopmentStrategies,EmergingTopics,MobileLearning

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