ISSN: 2641-3086
Trends in Computer Science and Information Technology
Review Article       Open Access      Peer-Reviewed

Effects of using augmented reality on students’ learning

António Faria1 and Guilhermina Lobato Miranda2*

1PhD Student at the Institute of Education, Lisbon University, Portugal
2Professor at the Institute of Education, Lisbon University, Portugal
*Corresponding author: Guilhermina Lobato Miranda, Professor at the Institute of Education, Lisbon University, 1649-013 Lisboa, Portugal, Tel: +351 96 245 2549; Fax: +351 21 793 34 08; E-mail:,
Received: 01 February, 2023 | Accepted: 06 February, 2023 | Published: 07 February, 2023
Keywords: Augmented reality; Science education; Academic achievement

Cite this as

Faria A, Miranda GL (2023) Effects of using augmented reality on students’ learning. Trends Comput Sci Inf Technol 8(1): 001-004. DOI: 10.17352/tcsit.000061

Copyright License

© 2023 Faria A, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

This article presents the results of a systematic review of the literature regarding the effects of using Augmented Reality (AR) on the learning of science students (Natural Sciences and Biology).

The PRISMA methodology was used. Ten articles were selected from indexed journals, in a period of time between 2010 and 2022, after applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The main inclusion criteria were: only articles with students from Basic and Secondary Education (equivalent to ISCED 2 and 3) and that report results in students’ learning. The main exclusion criteria were: duplicate articles and those that did not present a teaching strategy associated with the use of AR. The databases consulted were Scopus, ScienceDirect, Springer Link, EBSCO and Web of Science.

Eight out of ten of the selected articles used an experimental methodology.

The results indicate that AR had positive effects on students’ learning and motivation, as well as on other variables such as visuospatial skills and student involvement in tasks.


AR: Augmented Reality; STEM: Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


The integration of Augmented Reality (AR) in work and learning contexts was due to Engineer Tom Caudell, in the mid-90s [1,2]. AR can be integrated into a broader context, which also includes virtual reality and mixed reality [2,3]. AR stands out in this continuum as it combines images generated by technology, i.e., unreal images, with the real world, but without the user being immersed in a virtual scenario [2,4-6]. The use of AR is diverse. We highlight the military, industry, medicine, museums, entertainment, and navigation [2]. The evolution of mobile systems, with the pertinent development of AR apps, and the fact that they are accessible, has favored their integration in formal and informal learning contexts [7,8]. AR makes visible microscopic aspects, as well as simulated manipulation of potentially dangerous situations [9,10].

The systems that generate AR can function with or without the use of markers [1,11]. However, it is important that they are used properly. The literature highlighted that systems with little immersion, such as those generated from smartphones, promote learning when the principles of the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning are taken into account [12]. Marker-based systems include the use of QR (quick response) codes and images. There are three fundamental components: information about markers, a camera to capture the image, and the 3D information that will be formed. On the other hand, applications without the use of markers require a Global Positioning System (GPS), a compass, and a monitoring system composed of an image recognition device [1,13-15], aspects that current smartphones integrate.

The analysis of the studies we carried out was guided by the following questions:

  1. What are the effects of using AR on students’ learning?
  2. Are there other variables that are associated with the positive performance of students who used AR as part of teaching and learning activities?

Materials and methods

We performed a systematic review of the literature following the PRISMA methodology [9]. The period considered was between 2010 and 2022. For this article, we analyzed 10 publications obtained from a more extensive survey on the integration of AR in teaching and learning contexts of Natural Sciences and/or Biology (Table 1). These 10 articles used different research designs: quasi-experimental (5 studies), experimental (3 studies), pre-experimental (1 study), mixed method (1 study), and case study (1 study), as illustrated in Figure 1.

We proceeded to a description of the research questions and results raised by the authors of the 10 articles related to students’ learning or students’ achievement, which can be observed in Table 2.

Results and discussion

The analysis of Table 2 shows that nine of the 10 studies analyzed indicated improvement in students’ academic results who used AR in a learning context when compared with the students’ outcomes who used the conventional method. Only one study [5] mentions that there was no difference in the students’ learning when comparing the results between the two groups: those who used AR and those who did not. However, the results of this study have shown that AR facilitates the perception of 3D concepts or processes that facilitated the development of visuospatial skills. In the study [4] the authors point out that AR favors problem-solving and self-control in students. One study [3] presents as a limitation the fact that there is no control group.

The authors of the 10 articles are unanimous in indicating that students are more connected to the class and teaching when AR is present. The aspect is supported by other research and literature reviews with students from other levels of education and in the learning of other subjects.

We emphasize that this positive impact of AR on student learning is referred to through greater proximity between theoretical knowledge and non-visible aspects of reality [2,3,7,13,14]. This aspect helps students to learn the internal anatomical structures [2] and the complex aspects of the subjects studied [3], fosters the development of higher-order cognitive skills [13], and working memory, by generating more complex and robust representations [14]; it also supports meaningful learning [7].

Except for one study [7] that used a computer system, which the authors point out as a limitation due to the high cost of the system, all other studies used smartphones or tablets, an aspect that makes the use of AR more accessible.

In our analysis, we found studies that used apps created for the content taught and analyzed in the research, but which no longer exist, which does not allow the replication of the activity with new groups of students. Some apps continue to exist, but only part of their use can be explored for free [2] and others continue to exist and allow full and free exploration [14].

Conclusion and recommendations

It is common to all analyzed articles that AR reveals itself, in the teaching and learning process, as an innovative and motivating tool, which promotes students’ attention and involvement in learning tasks. It also stands out as a complementary means to the use of other tools, namely in science teaching (STEM), given the possibility of making the non-visible visible. The aforementioned aspects, in the opinion of the authors of the 10 analyzed studies, lead students to a greater connection, involvement, and enthusiasm with the learning tasks, which translates into greater confidence.

We recommend that new studies be carried out to review the literature on the integration of AR in science teaching and that new investigations include the use of AR with certain teaching strategies to verify which are the most appropriate and advantageous in promoting student learning.

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