The innate features and benefits of augmented reality (also known commonly as “AR”) make it a force to reckon with in disrupting the education sector unprecedentedly. According to RM, despite the COVID-19 pandemic factor, the global market for AR in education was valued at USD 760 million in 2020. By 2027, it is projected to escalate to USD 41.8 billion, with a whopping 77.2% CAGR through these seven years.
And if you’re wondering how augmented reality can achieve this feat, stick around. This comprehensive blog not highlights the benefits of AR in education but also backs them up with the best examples of augmented reality in education.
But before we dig deep into the subject, let’s first recap:
What is Augmented Reality?
In simple words, augmented reality involves putting sounds, videos and images into an existing environment. It relies on four major components to do so, i.e., cameras and sensors, transformation, projection and reflection.
Every single one of these components offers a specific function. For instance, cameras and sensors can detect the depth of the image or calculate the distance between two objects before placing the digital content above the user’s view.
Projection and reflection add virtual information to what the user sees. For example, a method known as projection mapping allows AR applications to overlay digital video on any physical surface.
In terms of data processing and transmission, limited bandwidth and latency of wireless networks generally pose challenges for the widespread use of AR. But with faster wireless connectivity on 5G mobile networks and improved computing power of next-generation devices, opportunities to discover the full potential of AR are expanding.
For instance, you may discover how has AR changed the Ecommerce landscape here. Or, you may like to explore here how augmented reality and computer vision are combining forces to improve our contemporary lifestyle. And if fashion and lifestyle is your thing, here is an account of how augmented reality is bringing fashion to life.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in Education
AR in education is easy to use and offers several functions at the same time. This combination provides users with several benefits. Therefore, we highlight all the major benefits of augmented reality in education.
The three-dimensional object rewrites the traditional concept of education. Images of topics in books give students insight into the subject. However, these images are 2D and can be viewed from a single perspective. AR apps allow students to view and break down the object from all sides. This behavior is crucial for manufacturers of complicated mechanisms. In addition, 3D objects can be used by medical students during anatomy classes.
Augmented reality is associated with the visual perception of information. Researchers say that our vision contributes 80% – 85% to how we perceive information. It means that AR learning plays a vital role in helping absorb information better. However, high-resolution teaching materials are needed to achieve a high-quality result. Low polygon patterns complicate the learning process.
Innovative approaches to learning will always grab students’ attention. Most children and adults want to learn using advanced technologies such as AR glasses and applications rather than textbooks and old programs. Increasing the level of engagement leads to better student productivity and overall performance. As a result, student performance affects the reputation of educational institutions.
4. Safe Training
You cannot expect a successful heart surgery from a novice surgeon. Similarly, a pilot cannot get a plane off the ground without proper training on the first attempt. However, experts in these fields cannot practice in real situations. AR and mixed reality applications help them gain the necessary experience. For example, Microsoft Flight Simulator replicates some real aircraft and lets pilots train their skills in VR headsets. Aviation physics gets closer to reality with AR involved. So, pilots will better understand a real plane during the first flight.
Instead of viewing the same image in textbooks, students can use AR apps to collaborate and work together on the same object. They can edit the objects and leave comments that the teacher can answer later. This collaborative approach supports teamwork and strengthens the bond between students and teachers.
6. Convenient Availability of Learning Materials
Augmented reality bears the potential to replace paper textbooks, posters, physical models, and printed manuals, offering portable and inexpensive teaching materials instead. It makes education more accessible and mobile.
7. Not Much Requirement of Specialized Equipment
Unlike VR, augmented reality does not require expensive hardware. With 73% of all teenagers currently owning a smartphone, AR technologies are readily available for use by most of the target audience.
8. Faster and Efficient Learning Process
AR in education assists students in achieving better results through visualization and complete immersion in the subject. As they say, a picture speaks more than a thousand words. So, instead of reading a theory about something, students can see it in practice with their own eyes.
9. Practical Learning
In addition to education, AR can significantly benefit vocational training. For example, an accurate representation of field conditions can help you acquire the practical skills needed for a particular task.
10. Universally Applicable
Whether educational games for kindergartens or workplace training, augmented reality’s scope in education and learning cannot be confined to one, two, or a few use cases. It can expedite the learning process on a truly global scale.
Challenges of AR in Education
While AR learning has many benefits, they come at a certain price. Transitioning to a digital workflow has way more to it than meets the eye.
The following section covers the major shortcomings of augmented reality technology in education.
1. Equipment Costs
Unfortunately, it takes expensive equipment to get the most out of augmented reality in learning. Most top-notch mobile phones support AR technology, so finding a device to run the application is not a problem. However, budget phones do not have the resources to run AR apps for several hours in a row.
Performance deteriorates over time while battery life is low. For example, older iPhone models, such as the 6S and 6S Plus, can run the app, but the battery capacity is insufficient to last through two consecutive lessons.
There are several solutions to this problem. The first comes with a high price tag. Educational facilities can provide students with powerful AR tools to learn through the duration of a course. This option ensures consistent performance for every student, but it costs a lot. A mid-range cell phone or tablet costs about $500-600, so a phone for a group of ten students will cost between $5,000-$6,000.
Alternatively, students may be required to bring portable charging devices to the classroom. This option does not solve the performance problem, but students can at least work with the app at school.
If you have a professional education, your costs will increase even more. Many simulators require VR or mixed reality headsets and compatible hardware to run the AR learning app. The price of one such set per person can reach up to $2,000. Also, working with a cell phone in your hands can be a hassle, so you need to provide students with AR glasses, such as Google Glass, which cost about $1,000.
2. Stable Connectivity
You’ll have to resort to the cloud to provide all the learning materials (lecturing materials, 3D models, etc.). It enables students to download materials before or in the middle of class. The app must have a stable connection to the cloud in both cases. Any interruption in cloud accessibility or downloading may disrupt the training process. Such problems damage your reputation, so you must use a trusted cloud service provider.
3. Lack of Necessary Training
Some teachers may have difficulty applying these new technologies in practice because their primary education does not provide the necessary skills. Only the most knowledgeable teachers and innovative educational institutions are ready to use augmented reality applications in teaching.
4. Content Transfer Issues
The AR apps you create should work equally well on all platforms and devices. However, it is virtually impossible to deliver the same quality AR content on every device.
Uses of Augmented Reality in Education
Do you plan to use augmented reality in education? There are many areas where AR apps can be a good solution to many problems. So let’s look at how augmented reality can be used in education.
1. Augmented Reality in Schools
This concept can be used during classes to better illustrate the topic. For example, high school students can discover complex disciplines such as biology, anatomy, physics, and even math in a more interactive and interesting way. In addition, the augmented reality apps in elementary school can simulate a variety of difficult-to-explain cases and even help nurture children’s creativity.
But do you have an idea of how to use augmented reality in the classroom? The fact is that most modern mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, can use AR applications, and most of the younger generation already possess personal gadgets. However, it is only an advantage because children can do their homework in a more interactive and entertaining manner.
2. Augmented Reality in College
Whether students want to study humanities or engineering, augmented reality solutions for the university can be of great help. For example, medical students can learn anatomy and practice the examination of the body using AR apps, which represents the human body inside and out. In addition, many universities use augmented reality to teach engineering, math, design, astronomy and more.
Augmented reality in higher education makes the educational process more attractive and safer for students. This technology allows you to perform experiments, such as testing different chemical combinations and discovering what can happen without damaging students and university buildings. In addition, AR applications can help students in creative activities in college and in organizing university events.
3. Augmented Reality for Distance Learning
In the past few years, the distance learning approach has become very popular due to the pandemic. For these and other reasons, online education is likely to be used worldwide long after the situation has stabilized. Augmented reality apps can serve as a convenient online learning platform where students can get the necessary materials and collaborate in real-time with other students and teachers.
It should also be noted that distance learners do not always need a teacher to explain the material. A good application can include a full presentation of each topic with a brief or detailed explanation of interactive theory and practice. Students can study independently in the place most suitable and convenient for them.
4. Augmented Reality in Vocational Training
Augmented reality training allows beginners and those moving to a new position to quickly acquire skills and knowledge. For example, they learn to use work equipment and to understand the theory and the working environment without any risk to the organization and the health of the employees. Thus, AR logistics training not only helps to train employees but also to organize their work.
A study recorded an improvement of 34% in the General Electric employees’ productivity and 46% in the case of GE Healthcare as a result of training with AR.
Augmented Reality in Education – Examples and Use Cases
Contrary to popular belief, AR technologies offer much more than chasing Pokémon here and there. Here are some great examples of augmented reality in education.
1. AR Apps for Kids
It’s no secret that kids crave revolutionary technologies like AR. Some of the most advanced augmented reality education applications are designed for the youngest users. Inspired by the success of PokemonGo, AR vendors are creating applications that change the way children read books, view art and posters, learn science, and conduct lab experiments in the classroom.
NarratorAR, for example, teaches children aged 3-5 years to write in a fun and engaging way. The application enhances letter writing with amazing special effects and makes writing a really exciting experience.
2. Augmented Reality in the Classroom
Probably the most popular area of augmented reality apps in education is the use of AR applications directly in the classroom. In such a scenario, they can help the teacher elaborate on the topic, give a visual presentation of the material and help students put their knowledge to the test.
This means you can find an AR application for almost any subject, including chemistry, geometry, zoology, grammar, and even programming.
3. Distance Learning
With augmented reality, students can learn outside of the classroom. In addition, online or distance learning can be facilitated and made more efficient with the help of AR-supported learning materials.
For instance, recently, Mondly (an app for learning language) has integrated an AR-based virtual teacher to assist users in practicing their skills as if they were in a real environment.
4. Marketing in Education
There is enormous potential for marketing and advertising in AR technologies, including education. Many universities in the United States are already using AR tours to increase enrollment and help new students navigate campus.
For example, Community College of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, uses augmented reality to provide a variety of content, including video, audio, and digital publishing. Their AR app offers a fun and informative way to explain campus. The app also has gamification features to make the experience even more impressive.
5. AR for Museums
AR is increasingly being used to reinforce the museum’s experience for today’s audiences who want interactivity. By adding AR content to objects such as statues and paintings, historical artifacts, documents and architectural monuments, museums can be more involved and stimulate visitors’ interest in artistic or cultural heritage.
One feature of AR apps for museums is that AR content is easily accessible via a smartphone camera. For example, the Jardin Botanique Grand Nancy in France allows users to download the eponymous AR app available for Android and iOS. During the enhanced AR tour, visitors can see digital animals that adapt perfectly to the botanical garden landscape. Each digital animation is complemented by educational audio content. In addition, the app integrates more than 20 fun games for kids and adults.
6. AR for Professional Training
Today, the average life expectancy of a certain professional qualification is about five years, which means that organizations in the business and public sector have to train their employees continuously. This is how companies in different industries use augmented reality for on-the-job education and training.
7. Augmented Reality in Healthcare Education
Medical professionals need a high level of skill and accuracy, as any mistakes can negatively affect the health and well-being of patients. Augmented reality in medical education is most often used to help students learn through interactive visuals, create simulations and train medical students, and perform surgeries or other medical procedures on virtual patients.
For example, HoloAnatomy is an award-winning health education app that helps medical students learn the human body through AR simulations.
8. Augmented Reality in the Space Industry
Historically, the space industry has been at the forefront of the adoption of new technologies, and AR is no exception. Today, the space industry uses AR learning to train astronauts and engineers to perform complex tasks that require advanced engineering and precision skills. Real-time instructions projected with AR lenses can go an extra mile in teaching how to build a space capsule, maintain a space station, or even explore the surface of unknown planets.
For example, NASA currently uses AR to teach astronauts how to navigate the surface of Mars using digital imaging.
9. Augmented Reality in Military Training
Some of the most impressive demonstrations of augmented reality in education can be observed in the military training sector. Soldiers are usually relocated to certain environments for military training, which often requires time and expense. AR can mimic an environment similar to the one in which soldiers must operate.
Similarly, AR can mimic the combat environment by projecting digital images of weapons, enemies, and vehicles onto AR glasses without exposing soldiers to danger. For instance, US Marines use the Extended Immersive Team Trainer (AITT) to help them achieve their training goals.
10. Augmented Reality for Manufacturing-Sector Training
Some of the most amazing examples of how augmented reality can be used in education can be found in the manufacturing sector. While operating a complex machine requires a great deal of preparation and a lot of theoretical knowledge before mastering it, today’s workers can perform their tasks using real-time instructions projected onto AR screens.
In addition, companies can now hire workers with basic skills and experience and train them on the go with AR training. For example, Siemens uses AR to teach its employees how to weld.
Some Augmented Reality Tools for the Classroom
There are endless possibilities for augmented reality’s integration into the classroom at all levels and through all sorts of the curriculum. They can range from exploring the universe to exploring animals and continents to creating reviews or book environments.
Some students do not have many opportunities to visit historical monuments, but they can do so virtually. AR also allows students to view models of things we can’t see without a microscope, creating opportunities to see and interact with plants, animals and sea creatures that live on the ocean floor. As teachers, we can give our students opportunities and experiences that they would not otherwise have and that are crucial for their future.
Augmented Reality Apps for Education
The following list showcases some of the coolest augmented reality apps for education.
1. Merge Cube
It allows students to use the cube with Merge Explorer, Object Viewer or Museum Viewer to discover the water cycle, fossils, rocks and gems, along with experimentation on simple machines and more. The cube enables students to virtually hold artifacts and objects in their hands.
2. CoSpaces Edu
This tool allows students to not only research AR but also create their experience in each field. Students can add audio, code signs, objects and transfer their own 360-degree photos or graphics to their project.
This tool allows students to be both content creators and researchers. Students can immerse themselves in the content they have already created, such as sea creatures, planets, symmetry, fractions, and even how to do the exercises well. Quiver Masks
4. Quiver Masks
A fun tool that allows students to create character masks, virtually becoming a particular animal or person in the story. For example, children aged 3 and 4 can record the story of the three piglets with the masks they made.
An application that gives students space to practice writing, launching the letters off the virtual page. It assists in improving the correct formatting of letters and numbers for our younger students in a fun and interactive way.
6. Augmented Classroom
This tool from CleverBook is browser-based, allowing students to get to know plants and animals, discovering more of the world. Students can explore and interact with a variety of activities, learn about the curriculum, and test their knowledge of topics such as geography, climate, geometry, and space. The expanded classroom also allows students to collaborate and create with other students from around the world.
An iOS-only app that allows students to work with stories like “Little Red the Inventor”.
Augmented reality can advance the traditional education system by transforming the whole learning experience. It also generally touches students’ interests and makes them effective. In addition, it will help students understand concepts in an engaging environment, which will simplify concepts and facilitate learning.
Moreover, educational institutions will also receive a lot of attention by offering an excellent educational experience through technology.
Now seems to be the best time to make the most of this new and revolutionizing trend. Whether you’re currently in the role of a student, teacher, or even the institution, embracing augmented reality in education puts you in a win-win situation.