AR (Augmented Reality) – What the Research Says

Although there is no single technology that is a one size fits all, AR (Augmented Reality) can help provide the basis for a strong cooperative learning environment. The environment can also grow outside the formal classroom because of the nature of the tool itself. The technology used should depend on the pedagogical objectives and needs of the educational application and context to the target audience (Kaufmann, 2011).

AR can provide many positive benefits as an educational tool and merits more to discover and think about.  Researchers suggest that AR should complement traditional curriculum materials and not compete against or replace them. They also conclude that AR is more effective in demonstrating spatial and temporal concepts as well as offering new forms of shared learning experiences through remote collaboration experiences (Billinghurst & Duenser, 2012).

AR for contextual learning

Donald Norman’s meaning of affordances in educational technology refers to the “perceived affordances – that until an affordance is perceived it is of no utility to the potential user” (Bower & Sturman, 2015, p. 345). Two literature reviews analyzed a total of 58 studies within the context of augmented reality in education. The researchers found the following positive benefits (Radu, 2014; Bacca et al., 2014):  Man demonstrating augmented reality machine part

  • Increased understanding of content
  • Learning spatial structure and function
  • Long-term memory retention
  • Increased student motivation
  • Student engagement
  • Improved collaboration


There are many ways we can use AR in Extension to promote education for different audiences. Some of these include interactive posters and fact sheets, augmented tours and 3D models. In the next series of blog posts we will discuss these and review some AR apps that can help us get the job done.

Image: By Eawentling (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons