Guiding or Exploring? Finding the Right Way to Teach Students Structural Analysis with Augmented Reality
The paper reports on the design of an augmented reality (AR) application for structural analysis education. Structural analysis is a significant course in every civil engineering program. The course focuses on load and stress distributions in buildings, bridges, and other structures. Students learn about graphical and mathematical models that embody structures as well as to utilize those models to determine the safety of a structure. An often reported obstacle is the missing link between these graphical models and a real building. Students often do not see the connection, which hinders them to utilize the models correctly. We designed an AR application that superimposes real buildings with graphical widgets of structural elements to help students establishing this link. The focus of this study is on application design, especially on the question whether students prefer an application that guides them when solving an engineering problem or whether the students prefer to explore. Students were asked to solve a problem with the application, which either instructed them step-by-step or allowed the students to use all feature on their own (exploring). The results are inconclusive, however, tend to favor the explore mode.
KeywordsAugmented reality Education Engineering Structural analysis Virtual instructions
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation under grant number #1712049.
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