Exploring the impact of varying levels of augmented reality to teach probability and sampling with a mobile device
Statistics is taught at every level of education, yet teachers often have to assume their students have no knowledge of statistics and start from scratch each time they set out to teach statistics. The motivation for this experimental study comes from interest in exploring educational applications of augmented reality (AR) delivered via mobile technology that could potentially provide rich, contextualized learning for understanding concepts related to statistics education. This study examined the effects of AR experiences for learning basic statistical concepts. Using a 3 x 2 research design, this study compared learning gains of 252 undergraduate and graduate students from a pre- and posttest given before and after interacting with one of three types of augmented reality experiences, a high AR experience (interacting with three dimensional images coupled with movement through a physical space), a low AR experience (interacting with three dimensional images without movement), or no AR experience (two dimensional images without movement). Two levels of collaboration (pairs and no pairs) were also included. Additionally, student perceptions toward collaboration opportunities and engagement were compared across the six treatment conditions. Other demographic information collected included the students' previous statistics experience, as well as their comfort level in using mobile devices. The moderating variables included prior knowledge (high, average, and low) as measured by the student's pretest score. Taking into account prior knowledge, students with low prior knowledge assigned to either high or low AR experience had statistically significant higher learning gains than those assigned to a no AR experience. On the other hand, the results showed no statistical significance between students assigned to work individually versus in pairs. Students assigned to both high and low AR experience perceived a statistically significant higher level of engagement than their no AR counterparts. Students with low prior knowledge benefited the most from the high AR condition in learning gains. Overall, the AR application did well for providing a hands-on experience working with statistical data. Further research on AR and its relationship to spatial cognition, situated learning, high order skill development, performance support, and other classroom applications for learning is still needed.