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Applying Instructional Design Principles on Augmented Reality Cards for Computer Science Education

  • St. Gallen University of Teacher Education

Abstract and Figures

In this article we describe Augmented Reality (AR) cards for computer science education that were created in the PCBuildAR project. From a technological point of view, we use marker-based AR for the cards so that students can learn and practice at any time with their smartphones. The instructional approach is based on the components content, construction and communication (3C model). The content ensures the acquisition of knowledge, which then is applied via problem-based learning activities (construction). Communication not only takes place between learners, but also with teachers. All materials will be available as open educational resources after the project is completed.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Applying Instructional Design Principles
on Augmented Reality Cards for Computer
Science Education
Josef Buchner
and Michael Kerres
Learning Lab, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
Abstract. In this article we describe Augmented Reality (AR) cards for com-
puter science education that were created in the PCBuildAR project. From a
technological point of view, we use marker-based AR for the cards so that
students can learn and practice at any time with their smartphones. The
instructional approach is based on the components content, construction and
communication (3C model). The content ensures the acquisition of knowledge,
which then is applied via problem-based learning activities (construction).
Communication not only takes place between learners, but also with teachers.
All materials will be available as open educational resources after the project
is completed.
Keywords: Augmented Reality Computer science education Instructional
design 3C model
1 Introduction
How to solve technical problems is a subarea of computer science education in schools.
Therefore, the physical components are required to un- and rebuild the computer.
However, these are not available everywhere in sufcient quantity [1]. The PCBuildAR
wants to address this lack and develops paper-based cards with 2D repre-
sentations of the components of a computer system, which are enriched with virtual
information using Augmented Reality (AR). Our focus is on the nal use for learning
of the AR cards. Our instructional approach is based on the three components of the 3C
model [2], which we combine with the potential of AR technology.
2 The 3C Model
According to [2], each learning environment consists of three components in different
proportions: content, construction, communication.
The content component offers learners instructionally prepared information that is
designed for the learning objective. The content can be prepared in various forms, such
©The Author(s) 2020
C. Alario-Hoyos et al. (Eds.): EC-TEL 2020, LNCS 12315, pp. 477481, 2020.
as a lecture by a teacher, texts, videos, audios or animations. The content component
aims at imparting declarative knowledge which is needed as a prerequisite for the
processing of learning tasks of the other two components.
The construction component encourages learners to engage in learning activities
that ts the learning objective. After successful completion of these, there are visible
results, e.g. in the form of artifacts or products. The learning tasks can be designed both
for individual and cooperative learning. Tasks are useful if the knowledge to be
acquired through the learning environment is also to be applied, i.e. procedural
knowledge is also part of the learning objective.
Communication enables learners to interact socially with other learners and/or
teachers/mentors. This component creates opportunities to deepen knowledge in
exchange with others, opens up opportunities for discussion and trains key compe-
tences such as conversation skills and the formulation of personal points of view.
The proportions of the respective components depend on the learning objective. For
example, it is quite possible that a learning environment consists to a large extent of the
components content and construction, while the communication component only
makes up a small part or perhaps even do not occur at all [2].
3 AR Cards
AR cards represent a variation of AR-supported learning that can be used in different
contexts [3]. AR cards have already been tested for learning English vocabulary [4], for
collaborative work [5] and for the promotion of computational thinking skills [6]. From
a technological point of view, such cards belong to the type of marker-based AR
systems, since the superimposition of reality around virtual artifacts is done by the
recognition of an image. Reality and virtuality are then displayed simultaneously,
interactions are possible in real time and the virtual objects are aligned with the real
environment [7].
As shown in [4,6], AR cards can be used with mobile devices, e.g. tablet or
4 The 3C Applied to AR Cards
In the PCBuildAR project, the principles from the 3C model and the potential of
mobile AR cards are now being brought together. How this can look like is now
described by means of each C.
4.1 Content and AR
Each PCBuildAR card shows a component of a classic computer system as a 2D
representation. Currently, eight cards for eight different components and several vari-
ations of the components are produced (see Fig. 1). Variations are needed because later
tasks require the exchange of components to solve a problem, e.g. upgrading a classic
home computer for professional photo or video editing. Using a mobile device, tablet
478 J. Buchner and M. Kerres
or smartphone, these images can be scanned with the camera and the additional
information stored on them becomes visible. Declarative knowledge, e.g. the function,
is conveyed for each component that is to be used afterwards (see Sect. 4.2). Because
of the denition in [7,8], AR cannot be considered as a single medium but as mul-
timedia. Therefore, learning materials with AR have to take into account the principles
from the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML), so that learners are not
cognitively overstrained, but are supported in their learning processes [8]. For our AR
cards, this means that 3D visualizations are not supplemented by written texts but by
auditory information according to the modality principle. We also dispense with
redundant representations by assigning AR a clear function, namely the extension of
the physical card, which remains visible and thus relevant [9].
4.2 Construction and AR
Within the PCBuildAR project, experienced computer science teachers formulate the
problem-based tasks according to technical issues. Examples include upgrading the
computer so that professional video editing software can run without crashes or
preparing the computer for graphically demanding computer games. With the latter task
we also want to consider real problems from the current living environment of many
children and young people. These tasks can be solved by rst folding the cards cor-
rectly and then replacing the corresponding component. Afterwards the cards are
scanned with a mobile device and the learners get feedback on the display if an
appropriate solution for the problem has been found.
AR also serves here as a support system, as the information on the components can
be made visible through scanning the markers, if needed. Especially beginners can
benet from such support actions as just-in-time information [10,11].
4.3 Communication and AR
The communication component of our AR card is also linked to the tasks. If the cards
are used in cooperative learning settings, the exchange between learners takes place. In
the classroom, the teacher can also be called upon to provide support if necessary.
Fig. 1. Example of an AR card that visualizes the RAM memory component.
Applying Instructional Design Principles on Augmented Reality Cards 479
The tasks that are to be solved in a team require the exchange of information
between the learners. Basically, this component should be able to be implemented
according to the ideas or conceptions of the respective teachers. We do not want to
impose too many restrictions here (see Fig. 2).
5 Conclusion and Outlook
In this article we have described our AR cards for learning the components of computer
systems, created in the PCBuildAR project. The 3C model serves as instructional
approach. Accordingly, the contents to be taught are designed according to the CTML
and the declarative knowledge is subsequently applied via problem solving tasks.
Learning can be done individually or in cooperation with others. The communication
component is not xed but can be implemented according to the learning objectives
and the teachers own ideas.
The next step for us is to test the PCBuildAR cards empirically in schools and to
investigate to what extent the combination of 3C and AR can help learners build
knowledge structures and supports the application of this knowledge in the eld of
technical problem solving in computer science lessons. The cards are then made
available as open educational resources (OER) for further use.
Funding. The PCBuildAR project is supported by the Innovation Foundation for Education and
the Austrian Exchange Service OeAD.
Individually or collaborative
Scan the cards to learn about the components of a computer
Place the cards together, scan the arrangement and see if the computer works.
Work on an assigned problem.
Change the appropriate component and reassemble the cards.
Verify that you have replaced the correct component by rescanning your assembly.
If help is needed
Fig. 2. Overview of the learning process with the AR cards.
480 J. Buchner and M. Kerres
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Applying Instructional Design Principles on Augmented Reality Cards 481
... It uses 8 cards to help computer science students learn and practice about the classic computer system [84]. ...
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