In augmented reality games, game experiences combining electronic game content take the form of narrative materials and game-play elements exchanged through a wide range of communication media that are used in a related physical setting. Educational game developers design these games to maximize transfer of learning through close approximation of the game-scaffolded skills and the game environment to real skills and contexts. The games immerse players in electronic and actual learning situations using features that make them effective learning experiences for fostering meaningful learning. The situated learning experienced by augmented reality game players transfers to deep learning, often in social contexts. Research into the uses of these games as educational platforms has focused on developing the technologies for the games and on studies of games for learning. Results demonstrate the strengths and areas for continued development in the application of augmented reality games for childhood and adult learning in formal and informal settings.
As portable media platforms, social networking, and context-aware devices approach ubiquity, the potential expands for game content to be delivered and used anywhere in real time. Augmented reality (AR) games are innovative digital games framed by the real world that enable players to interact simultaneously with both a fictional world and the real world. Augmented reality games immerse players in a game scenario through visual augmentation such as head-mounted displays or others forms of digital augmentation in the form of e-mail, text messaging, or the World Wide Web. In AR games, the electronic game content is a combination of designed media intended to enhance an experience in an authentic setting. “Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not create a simulated reality. Instead, it takes a real object or space and uses technologies to add contextual data to deepen students’ understanding of it” (EDUCAUSE, 2005, p. 1).
Research into the uses of AR games as educational platforms has focused on developing the technologies for the games and on studies of games for learning applications. This chapter reviews the literature on the effectiveness of AR games for learning and describes implications and recommendations for research, design, and implementation at primary and secondary levels.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Cognitive Load: The amount of information processing activity imposed on working memory.
Authentic Learning: Learning that occurs within a realistic context in which the new knowledge, skills, and attitudes will be used.
Constructive Learning: Learning that requires the integration of new knowledge and skill into existing conceptions.
Meaningful Learning: Learning that is active, constructive, intentional, and authentic.
Mobile game: A game that is distributed to the customer using a mobile operator’s network.
Blended Learning: A coherent learning experience using a combination of electronically mediated and face-to-face activities.
Augmented Reality Game: A game that augments natural feedback to the player with simulated information.
Situated Learning: A theory of learning that emphasizes the importance of the context and culture in which learning occurs.