The effect of augmented reality on global coherence formation processes during STEM laboratory work in elementary school children

Kristin Altmeyer, Sarah Malone, Sebastian Kapp, Michael Barz, Luisa Lauer, Michael Thees, Jochen Kuhn, Markus Peschel, Daniel Sonntag, Roland Brünken

13th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference ICLTC 2021.


In science education, hands-on student experiments are used to explore cause and effect relationships. Conventional lab work requires students to interact with physical experimentation objects and observe additional information like measurement values to deduce scientific laws and interrelations. The observable information, however, are usually presented in physical distance to the setting, e.g., on a separate display of a measuring device. The resulting spatial split (Chandler & Sweller, 1991) between representations hampers global coherence formation (Seufert & Brünken, 2004): Mapping processes between the spatially distant sources of information are assumed to lead to an increase in extraneous cognitive load (ECL; Ayres & Sweller, 2014). Consequently, learning outcomes can be impaired (Kalyuga et al., 1999). Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to overcome the split-attention effect by allowing additional information to be virtually integrated into the real-world set-up (Azuma, 1997). A study by Altmeyer et al. (2020) with university students showed that AR-support during experimentation led to a higher conceptual knowledge gain but had no effect on ECL. The current study provides a conceptual replication of Altmeyer et al.’s (2020) research and focuses on three main objectives: First, we aimed at investigating the generalizability of the advantage of AR on experimental learning in a sample of elementary school children. Second, we examined if low prior-knowledge of children even amplifies the split-attention effect, as proposed by Kalyuga et al. (1998). Finally, we focused on obtaining deeper insights into global coherence formation processes during lab work using specific tests and eye tracking measures.


ICLTC_2021_Altmeyer_final.pdf (pdf, 76 KB )

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence