Evaluating augmented reality for situated vocabulary learning

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Augmented reality (AR) is an emerging technology for communicating learning contents. Several AR systems are designed for learning. However, studies that have investigated instructional strategies for applying AR are few. This investigation requires the implementation of prototypes that use state-of-the-art technology and sound learning theory. In this work, we implemented two prototypes for learning Filipino and German words by first developing a handheld AR platform. These prototypes demonstrate situated vocabulary learning. Using our AR system, students can learn words related to their current environment. We assessed the quality of these prototypes by conducting usability evaluations. For the theoretical grounding, we leveraged on multimedia learning theory to design the content. Through our handheld AR platform, we evaluated situated vocabulary learning by comparing our prototypes to a flash cards application. In the first evaluation, students scored significantly lower when using AR in an immediate post-test. However, this difference disappeared after taking into account the variability in usability scores via analysis of covariance. Taking account usability is fairer when comparing an emerging technology to traditional technology. Test scores were also not significantly different in a delayed post-test. In the second evaluation, although the post-test score and answering time of students did not differ, our results showed that they feel more satisfied and can keep their attention better when using AR. For the first time, we demonstrated situated vocabulary learning by using AR. Moreover, our preliminary study confirms the intuition that students can achieve the same score using AR, but with benefits such as ease in maintaining attention and increased satisfaction.