Whereas virtual reality requires participants to inhabit an entirely computer-generated virtual environment, augmented reality uses the device’s camera to overlay virtual information (e.g. animation, text, sound, video) on top of the participant’s existing natural environment. One of the most popular uses of augmented reality is the game Pokemon Go, which involved players finding virtual Pokemon in real-world environments. More information here


The intention is to immerse the learner further into the learning experience, by directly connecting information (e.g. theory-based information) to the physical item of interest. In addition, virtual reality may provide further opportunities for playful learning, and/or opportunities for students to visualise/explore concepts that they would previously be unable to.


Augmented reality uses real-world ‘triggers’ (e.g. specific images, specific locations) for the overlaying of virtual elements. These virtual elements then help the viewer understand more about the object overlaid, such as through animations, additional text, or audio clips created by peers and teachers. Some of the most commonly used tools to create augmented reality experiences are Aurasma and Layar. More information here

Where to next?

The development of augmented reality within classrooms, allowing learners to explore the different overlays associated with everyday items, as well as learner created augmented reality to further demonstrate abilities and understanding of theory and new technologies. More information here

Tools and Tips




Bacca, J., Baldiris, S., Fabregat, R., Graf, S., & Kinshuk. (2014). Augmented reality trends in education: A systematic review of research and applications. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 17 (4), 133–149. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/jeductechsoci.17.4.133

Huang, H.-M., Rauch, U., & Liaw, S.-S. (2010). Investigating learners’ attitudes toward virtual reality learning environments: Based on a constructivist approach. Computers & Education, 55(3), 1171–1182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2010.05.014

Iqbal, J., & Sidhu, M. S. (2017). A review on making things see: Augmented reality for futuristic virtual educator. Cogent Education, 4(1), 1287392. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2017.1287392

Merchant, Z., Goetz, E. T., Cifuentes, L., Keeney-Kennicutt, W., & Davis, T. J. (2014). Effectiveness of virtual reality-based instruction on students’ learning outcomes in K-12 and higher education: A meta-analysis. Computers & Education, 70(Supplement C), 29–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.033

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