Augmented Reality Applications in Education

The cARe project explores two examples of how Augmented Reality (AR) could be used to enhance learning. The examples focus on the use of AR with nursing students. Further details of the projects are described below. You can also watch the video that was used to describe the project.

Example 1 – Clinical Skills Laboratory

The first of these projects looked at the use of AR in supporting simulated practice. Within simulated practice students are exposed to a variety of nursing activities in a clinical skills learning laboratory. During these sessions, students work in pairs / small groups and rotate around different clinical skills stations (for example, handwashing, urinalysis, gloves and aprons, blood pressure) or enact scenarios based on patient care, to create an environment that mirrors real life experiences.

In this  example a series of markers were set up around the laboratory. Using the cARe app an iPad (that was loaned to them) and a headphone splitter (so that both students could simultaneously access and listen to a resource), students were able to access interactive resources over relevant to a workstation. The resources that students had access to were adapted, converted and further developed from the CeTL website (a City University resource that offers learning resources related to clinical and communication skills).

The essential resources were accessed before, after and during practicing a skills enabling students to reflect on their learning (experiential learning), work together (promoting collaborative learning and peer feedback)  and at their own pace (self paced learning). This set up has helped move away from a didactic instructor focused laboratory.

To gain some initial student feedback a group of students were filmed as they used the technology and then asked to participate in a focus group. The video below shows how they used the technology in more detail.

Student Feedback

The feedback offered by students was extremely positive, with all participant indicating that the use of this technology is something that would offer value to their learning.

The main insights from the focus group indicated that:

  • The technology was fun and hence added to student motivation
  • The overlaid data could be more interactive (e.g. Include quizzes)
  • Students were willing to use their own devices, but not all students had access to the mobile devices required (as such it is proposed that devices are available on loan)

Example 2 – Public Health Walk

Student nurses at City University are allocated to one community of practice in East London. It is very important that students have an appreciation of the culture, history and social composition of the area they are working in. A public health walk, which involves walking around an area while identifying and experiencing public health-related activities and issues, such as the number of fast food outlets, can help identify public health issues (Bryar and Orr; 2012, p. 102). The AR solution involved developing a route around East London with key points of interest. When students arrive at different points, they can access key resources and data related to their immediate surroundings.

A mosque, synagogue, library, brewery, hospital and a market are points along the route.

The video below provides an introduction to the walk for the students. It highlights the purpose of the walk.

Context specific resources were created that students could access at each spot. Working in groups of approximately 5, the students are set a series of reflective activities that should be completed collaboratively. Since students have mobile devices with them it is the intention that they will be able to tweet comments and pictures, utilising social media.

In order for the resource to have real impact a follow up lecture allows students to discuss or present their findings enabling the lecturer to ensure that the learning of the students is constructively aligned against the learning objectives.
Follow up activities could include the students creating a resource for an additional points on the walk. Another option is that they create their own holistic walk in a different area. This would allow future and current students to complete walks developed by their peers.

JISC Elevator – Watch the Video

The Health CARE project is currently a short term JISC* funded project being delivered by City University London. As part of the project we’ll be looking at how Augmented Reality(AR) can be used to enhance teaching and learning for students in the School of Health Sciences.

Case 1 – Clinical Skills Laboratory

Clinical skills are an essential component of healthcare education for trainee nurses; simulated practice is used to orientate students to the clinical environment. This example looks at how relevant resources can be overlaid over equipment, dummies and key areas within a clinical skills lab.

Case 2 – Public Health Walk/Locality Project

Student nurses are allocated to a placement in East London and it is important that they gain an appreciation of the culture, history and social composition of the area they are working in. Walking around an area can help identify health issues (Bryar and Orr; 2012, p. 102).

AR in Education Event

We’ll also be organising an event, to share the findings of this project and promote the use of AR for all education disciplines.

The video below was used to bid for and successfully receive JISC* funding.


*JISC elevator is a platform for crowd sourcing ideas that will use technology to improve education and research in UK higher and further education institutions. Ideas are submitted to the site and the community can vote to show their support if they like an idea. When an idea receives the target number of votes then we will decide whether or not to fund the idea. The combination of crowd sourcing and small agile projects enables experimentation with new ideas and technology that appeal to a large group of people while keeping costs and risks low.

See: for more details