This fall, Ryerson University is launching a remote learning solution that offers at-home science lessons in augmented reality, Ryerson Augmented Learning Experience (RALE), powered by NexTech AR Solutions’ InfernoAR technology. More than 5,000 first-year chemistry, physics, and biology students will have access to AR-enhanced lessons in the upcoming fall and winter terms.
RALE is an all-in-one solution with virtual lab experiments and assessments. Moreover, it supports live classes and on-demand video tutorials.
At-Home Science Experience in Augmented Reality
Getting access to on-campus labs isn’t easy, especially during a global health crisis. RALE changes that by making virtual labs accessible to students at any time of the day. They can learn at their own pace and time. Furthermore, they can redo everything as often as they want, enabling students to fully grasp the theories, concepts, or processes involved.
All of the augmented reality lab experiences are fully interactive and scripted. The exercises are engaging with guided lessons that lead to specific learning objectives. Students have to go through pre-assessments and video tutorials before they can perform experiments. They can access these resources from their desktop or laptops. Once they’re done, they need to scan the QR code from their PC screens using their preferred mobile device. This should give them access to AR-enhanced lessons.
The lessons consist of hands-on immersive learning experiences. It uses realistic lab materials and tools, which students can manipulate to perform their experiments.
Augmented Reality in Higher Education
In an interview, we asked PR representative Rebecca Revel why augmented reality was used instead of other immersive technologies. “The choice of AR technology was the result of a collaborative and ongoing content and usability thought process between our AR studio and the university staff, to match the courses’ objectives, but also integrates a more cultural dimension, using the University’s branding, tone of voice, even mascot,” Revel explained.
She said that augmented reality makes it easy for them to create CSI-like investigations that teach students certain processes, as well as the different pieces of lab equipment.
AR certainly can’t recreate the physical and tactile experience of conducting experiments in a real lab. However, it’s still an invaluable tool in higher education because of its accessibility. “Augmented reality fills a gap between theory and practice, by providing a fully immersive, error-free experience, very close to a hands-on practice,” Revel said.
Since smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous nowadays, many students can gain access to educational resources. They can also use them anytime they want. Moreover, they can perform experiments in risk-free environments.
As the global health crisis continues to disrupt classes, we can expect NexTech AR to create other virtual learning solutions for schools across North America.
RALE is compatible with most Android and Apple devices. As long as the smartphone has a rear camera, it should be able to access the virtual lab.