Academicians struggle with the students not able to retain the complex and abstract subject matters for a longer duration.
There are two challenges at hand – first, making students understand the subject matter and second, helping them retain this knowledge for the longer duration. Whatever be the background, age or IQ, students tend to forget a significant portion of learning. Teachers and trainers put the lot of efforts to help students acquire new knowledge and skills, but the forgetting fails them. Even highly motivated learners like medical students also forget 20-30% of their basic science knowledge after one year and 50% by the second year (Custers, 2010).
To mitigate this challenge, academicians and publishers conduct continuous research and innovation. They work on identifying various students traits, pedagogical methods, learning material and educational technology. From the early techniques of oral teaching and written content, modern classroom includes the use graphical representation, multimedia, etc. These methods help students to grasp the subject matter genuinely and retain it in memory for the longer duration.
In this context, we will discuss two remarkable developments in the field of education and technology. Our first subject matter is the famous Neil Fleming’s VARK model of learning styles and the second is how using Augmented Reality can make a scalable impact on a specific type of learners.
Neil Fleming’s VARK Model of Learning Styles
Neil Fleming, a teacher in high schools, universities, and teacher education centers, served as a senior inspector for the over 100 high schools in the South Island of New Zealand. After critically observing more than 9000 ‘lessons’ in the classrooms, he found that even some celebrated teachers were ineffective for a specific section of students. Whatever be the learning style, none of the teachers was equally impactful to all students in the class. He found that each teacher had a typical teaching style which did not work for each student.
Then he identified four basic styles of learning: These styles combined known as VARK.
1. Visual Learners who learn best when the knowledge is imparted using graphics.
2. Aural learners learn best when teachers speak about the subject lucidly and let students talk about the topic.
3. Read/write learners learn best by reading books and writing notes, again and again.
4. The Kinesthetic learners are the ones that learn best by experience and practice (simulated or real).
We have ample resource for Aural Learners & Read/write learners for a long time. With the advent of multimedia technology and printing technology, the needs of Visual Learners have also been satisfied to a large extent.
However, we find little resources for the learning style of Kinesthetic learners. Physical models, laboratories have their limitations – technical, scalability, accessibility and affordability.
The Kinesthetic Learners form a significant majority. Felder’s Index of Learning Styles (ILS) conducted a study on engineering students and found that 68% learners are active learners, which includes Kinesthetic Learners.
The good news for Academicians and Publishers is that the latest development in Information technology called Augmented Reality, a subset of Artificial Intelligence can solve the problem for the Kinesthetic Learners on a mass scale.
Augmented Reality and its role
We define Augmented Reality as a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Look at this wonderful video:
The research and examples of Augmented reality are not new. However, the recent enhancement in computing power of smartphones and their ability to be used as AR Device has made the scalability of such solutions feasible.
Augmented Reality can help to create demonstrations, simulations, videos and movies of “real” things which can be accessed by the learners using AR Applications.
Unlike a lecture, graphics or a video, Augmented Reality can show the concepts and objects in a multi-dimensional interactive mode. With augmented reality, the user can not only experience but also interact with it, taking their engagement and motivation to a higher plane.
For example, if you are learning about a biological model, you can rotate it, dissect it or explore material from a variety of differing perspectives. Augmented reality can stretch the boundaries of teaching subject matters that students could not possibly experience first hand in the real world like a beating human heart.
Opportunities for Publishers & Academicians
Educational publishers and academicians have the new opportunity to explore Augmented Reality to create educational solutions that can improve the impact of their product and services. They can embed AR in the training material like Books, e-Books, e-Learning, Learning Platforms and the learning environment to deliver new levels of engagement and motivation and impact the duration of retention.
For investors in education, be it students or institutions, there is no better ROI than the allows learners to retain Knowledge longer duration.
Augmented Reality is getting so prominence that recently Augmented Reality Firm Upskill Gets $17.2M in Investment from very large organizations and institutional investors.