Human factors and qualitative pedagogical evaluation of a mobile augmented reality system for science education used by learners with physical disabilities
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Technology-enhanced learning, employing novel forms of content representation and education service delivery by enhancing the visual perception of the real environment of the user, is favoured by proponents of educational inclusion for learners with physical disabilities. Such an augmented reality computer-mediated learning system has been developed as part of an EU funded research project, namely the CONNECT project. The CONNECT project brings together schools and science centres, and produces novel information and communication technologies based on augmented reality (AR) and web-based streaming and communication, in order to support learning in a variety of settings. The CONNECT AR interactive learning environment can assist users to better contextualize and reinforce their learning in school and in other settings where people learn (i.e. science centres and home). The CONNECT concept and associated technologies encourage users to visit science centres and perform experiments that are not possible in school. They can also build on these experiences back at school and at home with visual augmentations that they are communicated through web-based streaming technology. This paper particularly focuses on a user-centred evaluation approach of human factors and pedagogical aspects of the CONNECT system, as applied to a special needs user group. The main focus of the paper is on highlighting the human factors issues and challenges, in terms of wearability and technology acceptance, while elaborating on some qualitative aspects of the pedagogical effectiveness of the instructional medium that AR technology offers for this group of learners.
KeywordsAugmented reality Human factors Science education
The authors would like to thank the European Community under the Information Society Technologies (IST) programme of the 6th FP for RTD-Project CONNECT contract number IST-507844 for supporting the project.
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