Nowadays, augmented learning receives increasing attention in the educational setting, and is often used to enhance educational outcomes of a wide range of learners. In this paper, the current and proposed uses of augmented learning, as well as its relationship to the existing educational models, some of its implications, the strategies of its integration, will be discussed. Also, the importance of augmented learning and its impact on a leader’s ability to make decisions in nurses practicing in an operating room will be exposed. This study is based on a review of 14 scholarly articles published within the last five years.
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Currently, the technologies of augmented learning are used for a variety of purposes. For instance, Duh & Klopfer (2013) mention that augmented reality technologies can be employed in classrooms dedicated to mathematics, physics, biology, and ecology; clearly, their application is also possible in numerous other classrooms. Garrett, Jackson, & Wilson (2015) report the use of augmented learning tools to teach students clinical skills needed in laboratories; Pauly et al. (2014), as well as Vera, Russo, Mohsin, & Tsuda (2014), show that augmented reality technologies can be utilized to teach medical students how to better perform different types of surgery on patients.
Chou & ChanLin (2014) report an implementation of augmented learning instruments (in particular, mobile applications) to assist freshmen students in exploring the university’s campus; similar tools may be employed to help disabled persons (for instance, those who are unable to walk) to learn about and better adapt to their environment. And indeed, Katz et al. (2012) demonstrate how virtual reality technologies can help the visually impaired navigate in their setting. Therefore, augmented learning is utilized in a wide range of academic and educational settings, as well as in health care and special education to compensate for physical disability and similar issues.
It is important to stress that many of the uses of augmented learning technologies described in the previous section are not widely employed in education. Therefore, researchers offer to spread the utilization of these tools among a variety of educational contexts. Some studies propose the implementation of augmented learning in other educational contexts; they also offer to use different applications and hardware to do this.
For instance, Narayan, Davis, & Gee (2012) research the use of the Mobile Web 2.0 instruments on the Apple hardware (iPhones and iPads). At the same time, Lee (2015) compares the use of mobile-based apps and computer-based apps, showing that the former is associated with better outcomes for the academic motivation, the readiness to learn, and the formulation of clear aims; thus, the utilization of mobile technologies in the educational settings is recommended. Also, it is important that the augmented learning can be implemented in other settings as well; for example, Conner (2014) suggests that the innovative learning technologies can be made use of in organizations, and may help transform studying “from a passive activity done to learners to an active and very human activity that enables people to build upon… their potential” (p. 7). It appears arguable that a user may be created for these technologies in virtually any context where one needs to learn.
Relationship to Existing Theories and Models
There exist a large number of learning theories and models. For instance, let us consider constructivism and social learning theories. According to constructivism, new knowledge is built on the knowledge that a person already possesses and that the most effective studying occurs when the learner actively interacts with the materials (Hinshaw, Burden, & Shriner, 2012, pp. 874-875). In this regard, augmented learning helps to master new data, for it allows for more interactive “communication” between the learner and the materials. As for building upon the existing knowledge, this issue is related to the content of the materials, whereas augmented learning arguably affects their form; so, augmented learning does not contradict this part of the constructivists’ view and is compatible with it.
On the other hand, proponents of the social learning theory affirm that learning takes place in a social context when the learner interacts with others and models their behavior; modeling occurs in four phases, namely, attention (attention must be gained and kept for the information to be learned), retention (data needs to be stored), reproduction (practicing and improving the knowledge), and motivation (influence of encouragement or punishment) (Hinshaw et al., 2012, p. 875).
Arguably, augmented learning is helpful at each of these stages, for information provided in a multimedia form better catches attention. Besides, it is coming in more than one form makes it easier to remember due to the activation of a larger number of brain centers, which leads to grasping and storing information in different variations. Augmented learning allows for more effective practicing (for instance, how to perform surgery; Pauly et al., 2014; Vera et al., 2014), and can encourage the learners by e.g. being more catchy.
Instructional Design Implications
The use of augmented learning has several implications for the instructional design of the courses. The materials need to be adapted to the multimedia form; it appears obvious that reading a text during a lecture would mean a suboptimal use of multimedia technologies. It is paramount to employ a wide range of forms when providing information in a classroom, for instance, visual, audio, and even haptic.
Vision-haptic visualization, contextual visualization, and annotating the objects of the real world are reported to be associated with more efficacious learning (Santos et al., 2014). Real-world annotation is what makes augmented learning effective for such tasks as e.g. teaching surgery (Pauly et al., 2014; Vera et al., 2014). Also, it was already noted that using multiple senses by learners during the educational process allows for better retention of information.
Implications to Student Learning Outcomes
The utilization of augmented learning is often helpful in improving the learning outcomes of the students. Enhanced learning outcomes can be considered one of the main reasons for the implementation of these innovative techniques, letting the students better master new materials. The improvements in the quality of education have been reported in several fields, including mathematics, physics, biology and ecology (Duh & Klopfer, 2013), the use of clinical laboratories (Garrett et al., 2015) and nursing (Ferguson, Davidson, Scott, Jackson, & Hickman, 2015; Bassendowski, 2015), surgery (Pauly et al., 2014; Vera et al., 2014), special education interventions (Katz et al., 2012); it is asserted that the effectiveness of the augmented learning is higher not only in the educational but also in the industrial/organizational setting (Conner, 2014). Therefore, the use of new techniques is reported to improve the quality of education in virtually all fields and environments.
To integrate augmented learning techniques in education, educators need to use new technologies in the classroom. For certain purposes, a specific software can be created to simulate the situations which the students will face in their future job, for instance, performing medical operations, analyzing data about the molecular build of a physical body, or flying a plane.
It is also paramount for educators to help students learn how to utilize the new technologies on their own to enable them to learn outside the classroom, ultimately assisting them in becoming lifelong learners. This support is much needed; it is interesting that many contemporary students, the so-called “digital natives,” while being skillful with using the new technologies, often remain unaware of the potential of the latter for education, which is why it is stressed that instructors should help students master using the new technologies during the learning process (Narayan et al., 2012).
The Importance of Being Informed About Trends and Issues in the Field of Instructional Design
It ought to be emphasized that nowadays the rate at which new knowledge is being produced is very high. To deal with the constantly increasing pool of data, learners need not only to be given the knowledge in the educational setting but also to be able to find and “filter out” the information themselves. Employing augmented learning can help students to test the data that they have found; Pauly et al. (2014) and Vera et al. (2014) provide some examples of this. Also, utilizing the newest technologies can help learners to better manage the data, organize it more effectively, and process it faster; to do this, students should be taught how to use these innovative tools (Narayan et al., 2012).
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Because the pool of knowledge is constantly changing and updating, the instruments that are employed in teaching also need to be continuously modified. These facts warrant the statement that being aware of trends and issues in the sphere of instructional design is of crucial importance for contemporary educators.
The Impact of Augmented Learning on a Leader’s Ability to Influence Organizational Decisions in Nurses Training in a Hospital Operating Room
The utilization of augmented learning techniques can also provide the leaders with assistance regarding the hospital operation room management. It is stressed that strategic decisions and surgery management practices have a great impact on the health outcomes of the patients, as well as on the cost-effectiveness of the operating rooms (Peltokorpi, 2011). By employing certain virtual reality tools, operations can be simulated in the educational setting.
Therefore, leaders can use these innovative techniques to determine the best organizational decisions regarding the participants of the operation and the nurses who receive training in a hospital operating room. Also, the nurses whose instructors have been using the augmented learning techniques will be better prepared for their training in the operating room, which can also make it easier for the leader to make decisions regarding their training.
To sum up, it should be emphasized that augmented learning becomes more and more important not only in education but also in several other settings. Significantly bettering the effectiveness of studying, it is an important tool in the 21st century. It is already employed to improve the educational outcomes of a wide range of learners, and a number and variety of its proposed uses are constantly expanding.
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Conner, M. L. (2014). Social learning augmented by social media: Creating better organizations for a better world. Development and Learning in Organizations, 28(6), 6-8. Web.
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