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Hands-on fabrication skills require complementary capacity for spatial thinking, but teaching often relies on 2D drawings to render inherently three-dimensional concepts. Computer-aided Design (CAD) software provides robust engineering visualization, but 3D models are displayed on a 2D screen and separate from the learner’s physical context. Augmented Reality (AR) is another 3D technology that has the potential to facilitate embodied learning and an introductory student’s transfer of concepts to tasks, because of its ability to integrate three-dimensional information into the physical context of authentic tasks.
We present the design, development, and initial course implementation of AR instructions to fabricate a metal flashlight using common fabrication tools and equipment in the machine shop. The app gives written instructions and engineering drawings, accompanied by an AR visualization of how the workpiece changes step-by-step and how all of the parts are eventually assembled. This app has now been released into an undergraduate-level introductory fabrication course (“Mechanical Engineering Tools”) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). We developed pre- and post-assessments to measure cognitive and affective outcomes and compare outcomes between a pilot AR-based cohort (N=6) to the traditional cohort (N=20). A psychomotor assessment was also carried out for a subset of the cohorts. This work suggests AR-enhanced instruction may promote learning transfer in hands-on skills training.
Liu, J., & Higgason, E., & Welsh, E., & Wight, J., & Hart, A. J., & Enns, G. (2022, August), Physically Contextualized Machining Instructions through Augmented Reality Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/40783
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