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MarineXR: Comparing the impact of two different ocean AR experiences on student motivation and engagement



Augmented realty is increasingly used as a learning tool in educational settings. There are a wide variety of different AR implementations ranging from simple 3D model viewers to more interactive and dynamic content such as videos and animations. We developed two different types of AR experiences around ocean education: (1) a "tap-to-place" highly-immersive narrated experience that uses the principles of gamification, simulation, role-playing to engage students in scientific concepts around basking sharks and (2) a species learning modules that use realistic and animated 3D representations of marine and freshwater species to teach students about their physiology, morphology and ecology. We conducted a controlled experimental study comparing the impact of each experience on motivation and student engagement. We tested each module in a large, first-year environmental sciences class under remote learning conditions (~200 students). We measured how motivation, engagement, engrossment, and cognitive load differed between the two groups within the context of their attitudes towards science (as assessed by the Modified Attitudes Towards Science instrument). The results of the study and its consequences will be discussed. 


About the presenters:

Dr Paul Mensink is the Director of Graduate Environmental Programs and Teaching Fellow for the Faculty of Science at Western University.  Paul’s project, Engagement through Immersion: Immersive Education in Science, focuses on the impact of immersive technologies (e.g., virtual reality, augmented reality, immersive video) on student motivation, engagement, and scientific literacy in undergraduate and graduate courses at Western. Paul’s work has a particular focus on interdisciplinary environmental courses and engaging students with STEM subject matter related to sustainability and climate change education.

Dr. Lisa K. Briona is an entrepreneur in the area of gamification. Her research focuses on engaging and retaining students by leveraging game mechanics in K-20 STEM education. She is the recipient of several education and educational technology awards recognizing innovation in technology enhanced teaching.

Dr Isha Decoito focuses on two major aspects of STEM education: 1) curriculum, pedagogical perspectives and practices that reflect EDID, and 2) professional development of educators. Dr Decoito's research interests are organized under the following overarching themes: 1) EDID in science/STEM education; 2) digital technologies to improve scientific and technological literacy, given that a current barrier to their wider adoption is the learning curve associated with implementation by both instructors and students; and 3) mentoring and professional development.

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