Bridging the Gulfs: Modifying an Educational Augmented Reality App to Account for Target Users’ Age Differences

  • Hannah KlautkeEmail author
  • John Bell
  • Daniel Freer
  • Cui Cheng
  • William Cain
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10920)


This case study describes our process of modifying an augmented reality (AR) application called Spartan SR for spatial reasoning training for a different, younger user group. Originally designed for undergraduate college students, the application was modified for use by middle school students. Our modifications were designed to bridge certain gulfs of execution and evaluation in interactions with the application in ways that accounted for differences between college and middle-school students. Differences in age groups included reduced relevant prior knowledge and developmental differences in concrete versus abstract reasoning and problem solving as well as self-regulation and motivation. Using direct observation and focus group interviews, we identified modifications that seemed effective and others that needed additional refinement. Learned lessons include the need to redesign interface elements to help students navigate the Spartan SR environment; the value of introducing “real world” objects to scaffold the transition to more abstract shapes; the power of introducing elements of gamification; and the effects of various difficulty levels. These lessons led to iterative redesigns that have promise for improved user experiences at various age and learner levels.


Augmented reality STEM education Gamification Gulf of evaluation Gulf of execution 


  1. 1.
    Hsi, S., Linn, M.C., Bell, J.E.: The role of spatial reasoning in engineering and the design of spatial instruction. J. Eng. Educ. 86(2), 151–158 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Uttal, D.H., Cohen, C.A.: Spatial thinking in STEM education: when, why, and how? In: Ross, B. (ed.) Psychology of Learning and Motivation, vol. 57, pp. 147–182. Academic Press, San Diego (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wai, J., Lubinski, D., Benbow, C.P.: Spatial ability for STEM domains: aligning over 50 years of cumulative psychological knowledge solidifies its importance. J. Educ. Psychol. 101(4), 817 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Shea, D.L., Lubinski, D., Benbow, C.P.: Importance of assessing spatial ability in intellectually talented young adolescents: a 20-year longitudinal study. J. Educ. Psychol. 93(3), 604–614 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Papastergiou, M.: Digital game-based learning in high school computer science education: impact on educational effectiveness and student motivation. Comput. Educ. 52(1), 1–12 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Microsoft Corporation: Why Europe’s girls aren’t studying STEM (2017)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Knapp, A.: Why schools don’t value spatial reasoning (2012). Accessed 20 Jan 2018
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    Newcombe, N.E.: Picture this: increasing math and science learning by improving spatial thinking. Am. Educ. 34(2), 29 (2010)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ginsburg, H., Opper, S.: Piaget’s Theory of Intellectual Development. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (1979)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Piaget, J.: The Psychology of Intelligence. Littlefield, Totowa (1972)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hutchins, E.L., Hollan, J.D., Norman, D.A.: Direct manipulation interfaces. Hum.-Comput. Interact. 10(4), 311–338 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Norman, D.A.: Cognitive engineering. In: User Centered System Design, vol. 31, pp. 32–61 (1986)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bell, J.E., Cheng, C., Freer, D.J., Cain, C.J., Klautke, H., Hinds, T.J., Walton, S.P., Cugini, C.: Work in progress: a study of augmented reality for the development of spatial reasoning ability. In: 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (2017)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dweck, C.S.: Motivational processes affecting learning. Am. Psychol. 41(10), 1040 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    DiMenichi, B.C., Tricomi, E.: The power of competition: effects of social motivation on attention, sustained physical effort, and learning. Front. Psychol. 6, 1282 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Barata, G., Gama, S., Jorge, J., Gonçalves, D.: So fun it hurts–gamifying an engineering course. In: Schmorrow, D.D., Fidopiastis, C.M. (eds.) AC 2013. LNCS, vol. 8027, pp. 639–648. Springer, Heidelberg (2013).

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah Klautke
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • John Bell
    • 1
  • Daniel Freer
    • 1
  • Cui Cheng
    • 1
  • William Cain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Usability/Accessibility Research and ConsultingMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations