Augmented Reality Teaching and Learning

  • Matt DunleavyEmail author
  • Chris Dede


This literature review focuses on augmented realities (AR) for learning that utilize mobile, context-aware technologies (e.g., smartphones, tablets), which enable participants to interact with digital information embedded within the physical environment. We summarize research findings about AR in formal and informal learning environments (i.e., schools, universities, museums, parks, zoos, etc.), with an emphasis on the affordances and limitations associated with AR as it relates to teaching, learning, and instructional design. As a cognitive tool and pedagogical approach, AR is primarily aligned with situated and constructivist learning theory, as it positions the learner within a real-world physical and social context while guiding, scaffolding and facilitating participatory and metacognitive learning processes such as authentic inquiry, active observation, peer coaching, reciprocal teaching and legitimate peripheral participation with multiple modes of representation.


Augmented reality Mobile learning Context-aware Location-based 


Acknowledgments and Disclaimers

Portions of this material are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers DRL-0822302 and DRL-1118530. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


  1. Azuma, R., Baillot, Y., Behringer, R., Feiner, S., Julier, S., & MacIntyre, B. (2001). Recent advances in augmented reality. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 21(6), 34–47. Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA, USA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  3. Barron, B. (2000). Achieving coordination in collaborative problem-solving groups. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 9(4), 403–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Belknap: Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  6. Clarke-Midura, J., Dede, C., & Norton, J. (2011). Next generation assessments for measuring complex learning in science. In The road ahead for state assessments (pp. 27–40). Cambridge MA: Rennie Center for Education and Public Policy.
  7. Cobb, P., Yackel, E., & Wood, T. (1992). A constructivist alternative to the representational view of mind in mathematics education. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 19, 99–114.Google Scholar
  8. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1993). Anchored instruction and situated cognition revisited. Educational Technology, 33(3), 52–70.Google Scholar
  9. Collins, A., Joseph, D., & Bielaczyc, K. (2004). Design research: Theoretical and methodological issues. The Journal of Learning Sciences, 13(1), 15–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cunningham, D. J. (1992). Beyond educational psychology: Steps toward an educational semiotic. Educational Psychology Review, 4, 165–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dede, C. (2004). If design-based research is the answer, what is the question? A commentary on Collins, Joseph, and Bielaczyc; diSessa and Cobb; and Fishman, Marx, Blumenthal, Krajcik, and Soloway in the JLS special issue on design-based research. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 105–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dede, C. (2005). Why design-based research is both important and difficult. Educational Technology., 45(1), 5–8.Google Scholar
  13. Dede, C. (2008). Theoretical perspectives influencing the use of information technology in teaching and learning. In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education (pp. 43–62). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning. Science, 323(5910), 66–69. doi: 10.1126/science.1167311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dede, C. (2011). Developing a research agenda for educational games and simulations. In S. Tobias, & J. D. Fletcher (Eds.), Computer games and instruction (pp. 233–250). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.Google Scholar
  16. Design-Based Research Collective. (2003). Design based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 5–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dieterle, E., Dede, C., & Schrier, K. (2007). “Neomillennial” learning styles propagated by wireless handheld devices. In M. Lytras & A. Naeve (Eds.), Ubiquitous and pervasive knowledge and learning management: Semantics, social networking and new media to their full potential (pp. 35–66). Hershey, PA: Idea Group, Inc.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Driscoll, M. (2000). Psychology of learning for instruction. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  19. Dunleavy, M. (2010). Persistent design challenges: Augmenting reality for learning with wireless mobile devices. San Diego, CA: Invitation Symposia at Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE).Google Scholar
  20. *Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R. (2009). Affordances and limitations of immersive participatory augmented reality simulations for teaching and learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(1), 722Google Scholar
  21. *Dunleavy, M., & Simmons, B. (2011). Assessing learning and identity in augmented reality science games. In L. Annetta & S. Bronack (Eds.), Serious educational games assessment (pp. 221–240). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: SenseGoogle Scholar
  22. *Facer, K., Joiner, R., Stanton, D., Reid, J., Hull, R., & Kirk, D. (2004). Savannah: mobile gaming and learning? Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20, 399–409Google Scholar
  23. Gagnon, D. (2010). ARIS: An open source platform for developing mobile learning experiences. Unpublished manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Retrieved from
  24. Gallagher, A. G., & Sullivan, G. C. (2011). Fundamentals of surgical simulation: Principles and practice. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Gauntt, J. (2009). The world is the desktop: Mobile augmented reality. Giga Omni Media Google Scholar
  26. Hays, R. T., Jacobs, J. W., Prince, C., & Salas, E. (1992). Flight simulator training effectiveness: A meta-analysis. Military Psychology, 4, 63–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., & Haywood, K. (2011). The 2011 Horizon report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.Google Scholar
  28. Jonassen, D. (2005). Modeling with technology: Mindtools for conceptual change (3rd ed.). New York: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  29. Kamarainen, A., Metcalf, S., Grotzer, T., Browne, A., Mazzuca, D., Tutweiler, M. S., & Dede, C. (2012). EcoMOBILE: Integrating Augmented Reality and Probeware with Environmental Education Field Trips, Computers & Education, Available online 14 March 2013, ISSN 0360-1315, 10.1016/j.compedu.2013.02.018.Google Scholar
  30. *Klopfer, E. (2008). Augmented learning. Cambridge, MA: MITGoogle Scholar
  31. Klopfer, E., & Sheldon, J. (2010). Augmenting your own reality: Student authoring of science-based augmented reality games. New Directions for Youth Development, 128(Winter), 85–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. *Klopfer, E., & Squire, K. (2008). Environmental detectives—the development of an augmented reality platform for environmental simulations. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(2), 203–228Google Scholar
  33. Klopfer, E., Squire, K., & Jenkins, H. (2002). Environmental detectives PDAs as a window into a virtual simulated world. International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in EducationGoogle Scholar
  34. Kolodner, J. (2001). Case-based learning. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  35. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Li, S. (2010, June). “Augmented reality” on a smartphone brings teaching down to earth. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from
  37. Liestol, G. (2011). Learning through situated simulations: Exploring mobile augmented reality. Research Bulletin 1, EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. Boulder, CO. Retrieved from
  38. Mestre, J. (2002). Transfer of learning: Issues and a research agenda. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
  39. Morrison, A., Oulasvirta, A., Peltonen, P., Lemmela, S. Jacucci, G., Reitmayr, G, Nasanen, J., & Juustila, A. (2009). Like bees around the hive: A comparative study of a mobile augmented reality map. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Retrieved from
  40. O’Shea, P., Dede, C., & Cherian, M. (2011). The results of formatively evaluating an augmented reality curriculum based on modified design principles. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-mediated Simulations, 3(2), 57–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. O’Shea, P., Mitchell, R., Johnston, C., & Dede, C. (2009). Lessons learned about designing augmented realities. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 1(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Palincsar, A. S. (1998). Social constructivist perspectives on teaching and learning. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 345–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Perkins, D. N., & Salomon, G. (1992). Transfer of learning. Contribution to the international encyclopedia of education (2nd ed.). Oxford, England: PergamonGoogle Scholar
  44. Perry, J., Klopfer, E., Norton, M., Sutch, D., Sandford, R., & Facer, K. (2008). AR gone wild: Two approaches to using augmented reality learning games in zoos. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on International Conference for the Learning Sciences, The Netherlands, (pp. 322–329).Google Scholar
  45. Piaget, J. (1969). Science of education and the psychology of the child. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  46. Rosenbaum, E., Klopfer, E., & Perry, J. (2007). On location learning: Authentic applied science with networked augmented realities. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(1), 31–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Salzman, M. C., Dede, C., Loftin, R. B., & Chen, J. (1999). A model for understanding how virtual reality aids complex conceptual learning. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 8(3), 293–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schmalstieg, D., & Wagner, D. (2007). Experiences with handheld ­augmented reality. In Proceedings of 6th IEEE and ACM International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality, Japan (pp. 3–15).Google Scholar
  49. Schwartz, D. L., Sears, D., & Bransford, J. D. (2005). Efficiency and innovation in transfer. In J. Mestre (Ed.), Transfer of learning from a modern multidisciplinary perspective (pp. 1–51). Greenwich, CT: Information Age.Google Scholar
  50. Spiro, R. J., Feltovich, P. L., Jackson, M. J., & Coulson, R. L. (1991). Cognitive flexibility, constructivism, and hypertext: Random access instruction for advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. Educational Technology, 31(5), 24–33.Google Scholar
  51. Squire, K. D. (2005). Resuscitating research in educational technology: Using game-based learning research as a lens for looking at design-based research. Educational Technology, 45(1), 8–14.Google Scholar
  52. *Squire, K. (2010). From information to experience: Place-based augmented reality games as a model for learning in a globally networked society. Teachers College Record, 112(10), 2565–2602Google Scholar
  53. *Squire, K., & Jan, M. (2007). Mad city mystery: Developing scientific argumentation skills with a place-based augmented reality game on handheld computers. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(1), 5–29Google Scholar
  54. *Squire, K. D., Jan, M., Matthews, J., Wagler, M., Martin, J., Devane, B., & Holden, C. (2007). Wherever you go, there you are: The design of local games for learning. In B. Sheldon & D. Wiley (Eds.), The design and use of simulation computer games in education, (pp. 265–296). Rotterdam, Netherlands: SenseGoogle Scholar
  55. Tripp, S. D., & Bichelmeyer, B. (1990). Rapid prototyping: An alternative instructional design strategy. Educational Technology Research and Development, 38(1), 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  57. White, B. Y. (1993). ThinkerTools: Causal models, conceptual change, and science education. Cognition and Instruction, 10(1), 1–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Teacher Education and Leadership, Radford UniversityRadfordUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Graduate School of EducationCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations