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AR in education: Benefits, Challenges, Examples, and Apps Creation

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What You Need to Know About AR in Education: Influence, Usage, and Implementation Process

Education is an area where the latest technologies are actively penetrating, and above all, it concerns augmented reality (AR) apps. They are the powerful tools that allow people of any age to learn and train more effectively, and their popularity is continuously growing. The Statista report notes that the global market of educational AR products has reached US$300 million in 2020 and is expected to be US$700 million by 2025.

Suppose you want to be part of these exciting changes and succeed with the growing trend. In that case, you need to know exactly how augmented reality is being used in education and professional training. It will help our article, which contains examples of successful technology implementation and tips for AR software development.

The Role of AR in Education and Training Process

We used to think of AR apps as fun, albeit highly addictive. However, they become a very useful tool for education and training.

AR benefits for education

AR products simplify the work of students and teachers and open up many possibilities. In particular, it is the learning process optimization. With AR apps, you don’t have to carry heavy textbooks and visual materials to class since everything you need is smartphones. Schools and universities can also reduce equipment costs on boards, banners, etc. AR is also useful for professional training courses: students can train on virtual 3D models to understand complex devices such as car engines.

In general, the popularity of augmented reality in education is due to the following key benefits:

Immersiveness: Three-dimensional AR models are fundamentally different from pictures in textbooks. Working in apps with virtual and augmented reality, you can explore objects from all sides, which is especially important for med students, mechanics, and representatives of other practical specialties.

Visualization: Eyes perceive more than two-thirds of the information, and excellent visualization is a core AR advantage. However, to use it, you need high-resolution educational materials because low polygonal models can damage eyes and worsen the learning process.

AR and perception of information


Engagement. Digital products are much more attractive to students than old-fashioned textbooks, and most kids and adults alike enjoy using AR glasses and apps. Improved engagement increases student motivation, productivity, learning outcomes, and, as a result, the educational establishment's reputation.

Safe training. Surgeons, airplane pilots, and other professionals must hone their skills in real-life training. But practicing on real patients and airplanes can be dangerous. Virtual and augmented reality come to the rescue by creating simulators (such as Microsoft Flight Simulator) and accurately reproducing real-world work environments.

Collaboration. AR apps offer a completely new experience of teamwork on collaborative projects. Students can study one object together, change it, and share opinions in the comments. The AR environment also improves student-teacher connections.

Challenges you may face

Of course, in addition to the advantages of implementing AR applications in the educational environment, there are difficulties. 

One of the main challenges is devices’ cost. In order for students and teachers to use all the resources of AR apps, modern instruments are needed, such as smartphones with sufficient resources and performance. For example, on iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, you can work in augmented reality on a single lesson and will not have enough battery capacity for the next one. 

An educational institution can solve the problem in two ways:

  • Expensive way — buying devices for all students. A tablet or smartphone will cost from US$500. That is, for a small class of 10 people, you will have to spend at least US$5,000. Training institutions also need VR/AR headsets and compatible hardware to run apps, and one can cost US$2,000. And don't forget about AR glasses and other essential gadgets when budget.


  • Chipper way (but not so convenient for students). The institution doesn't buy additional equipment but asks to bring it. In this case, students must use the devices on which they will work themselves and solve performance problems on their own.

Another challenge of using AR systems is connection stability. For smooth work, all training materials and 3D models must be uploaded to the cloud, and it is crucial to ensure a stable connection to the storage. Failure to retrieve data disrupts the learning process and tarnishes the institution's reputation.

The solution is to choose the right cloud provider. We can safely recommend Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). You are guaranteed data integrity and 24/7 access to storage, and 1 GB of space only costs US$0.022 per month (the exact price is determined by the localization and the required storage space amount).

AR in Education and Training: Use Cases

Here are examples of popular AP apps to better understand how they can be used in the educational process. 

Applications for schools:

  • Complete Anatomy. The app offers medical students and professionals over 17,000 human body structures as 3D models. With each object, you can interact conditionally or project it onto a flat surface. Students are able to explore muscle functions with detailed movements’ animation, disassemble bone structures, view bone layers, and join multiplayer sessions.


  • Star Chart. The popular app for studying astronomy. It is enough to direct the device to the sky, and the system will display the constellation on the screen, highlight it, and provide a detailed description. You can also use individual object data from a database with more than 120,000 stars and 88 constellations.


  • JigSpace. An app for AR presentations is a useful educational and business tool. It allows you to create a project demo quickly, upload 3D models into the system, place them on slides, adjust, and present to the audience. The app is convenient for rapid prototyping, product presentation, illustrative classes, and materials visualization.

Popular AR systems: competitors’ analysis


Applications for professional training:

  • Japan Airlines. The result of the collaboration between Japan Airlines and Microsoft allows flight crews to hone their skills as close to reality as possible. Using Microsoft Hololens, pilots learn navigation and aircraft mechanics without spending a huge amount of time on training videos.


  • Siemens. AR has allowed creating a safe learning environment for welding and reducing the cost of fieldwork. Employees can train in a secure environment due to the special bar codes. The system simulates the welding process, projects the result onto the performer's and mentor's screen, and displays accuracy indicators.


  • Jaguar Land Rover. Cooperation with Re'Flekt allowed the company to use AR to reduce costs for employee training and abandon expensive practices on real cars. Now the staff and trainees can understand the vehicle’s structure without removing and reinstalling any parts, learn mechanical and electrical components and connections, rams, and observe their 3D models.

AR Implementation in Education

To quickly create a high-quality AR application that will be in demand by users, you need to understand what the process of its creation consists of. Typically, there are several steps to follow:

Define the target audience

You need to do an excellent job of researching who will be using your application to determine the set of features that meet the needs of the custom. Therefore, conduct user research and study the popular products of your direct competitors to find unique features that set your product apart from others. Please note that your application must support high-quality 3D models and the best performance.

Validate your idea

It is crucial to collect high-quality preliminary feedback to understand if your idea is relevant. If you need investors, you will have to write a business plan and prepare a working prototype of your solution. Please note that stakeholders may revise the feature list or even the entire concept of the application, and you will have to negotiate or look for new investors.

A professional software development company can help you avoid these risks. Technical experts and analysts are well aware of all the trends and requirements for AR educational apps. A reliable partner company will keep your product original and help you gain stakeholder approval effortlessly.

Create the MVP 

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the preliminary version of your app that helps to:

  • Collect the first user feedbacks and understand does the idea work as planned;

  • Conduct high-quality usability testing and make changes in time, if necessary;

  • In case of bad results, suspend development with minimal loss of time and money — to build MVP, you need fewer resources than a full-fledged application.

Benefits of MVP in AR apps development


Select the tech stack

There are two essential tools (libraries) that are used in AR apps’ development: ARKit and ARCore. They are equal rivals, constantly catching up and ahead of each other, introducing stunning innovations.

If you are planning to create an Android app, you will need ARCore. To integrate virtual/augmented reality and the physical world, the Google platform uses:

  • Motion tracking to recognize the phone's positioning,

  • Environmental understanding to define the surfaces’ size and location,

  • Light estimation to set the light parameters, 

  • ARCore Depth technology to learn the depth and precise position of surroundings, etc.

ARKit is needed for iOS app development. The latest versions use Apple TrueDepth Camera to support Depth API and support all the same features as its Google rival. The difference is in the details: ARCore renders scenes faster, ARKit makes it more accurate, etc.

In addition to libraries, you will need other tools for developing AR educational products. Here are some popular examples:

  • Swift, Kotlin, and Java languages; 

  • Amazon EC2 hosting;

  • Node.js API server;

  • MySQL, Oracle, and similar databases. 

Conclusion

We have listed only the main nuances, steps, and tools for creating educational applications with AR. To get a complete picture of your future decision and accurately translate the idea into reality, you will need the help of professionals.

An experienced software company will showcase their completed projects to make it easier for you to find inspiration. It will help you create a stable, scalable application with an intuitive interface for everyone who wants to work, study, and teach in a new world of impressive augmented reality capabilities.

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