Journal article Open Access

Augmented Reality Applications for K-12 Education: A Systematic Review from the Usability and User Experience Perspective

Effie Lai-Chong LAW; Matthias Heintz

In the past two decades, we have witnessed soaring efforts in applying Augmented Reality (AR) technology in education. Several systematic literature reviews (SLRs) were conducted to study AR educational applications (AREAs) and associated methodologies, primarily from the pedagogical rather than from the human–computer interaction (HCI) perspective. These reviews vary in goal, scale, scope, technique, outcome and quality. To bridge the gaps identified in these SLRs, ours is to meet fourfold objectives: to ground the analysis deeper in the usability and user experience (UX) core concepts and methods; to study the learning effect and usability/UX of AREAs and their relations by learner age; to reflect on the prevailing SLR process and propose improvement; to draw implications for the future development of AREAs. Our searches in four databases returned 714 papers of which 42, together with 7 from three existing SLRs, were included in the final analysis. Several intriguing findings have been identified: (i) the insufficient grounding in usability/UX frameworks indicates that there seems a disconnection between the HCI and technology-enhanced learning community; (ii) a lack of innovative AR-specific usability/UX evaluation methods and the continuing reliance on questionnaire may hamper the advances of AREAs; (iii) the learner age seems not a significant factor in determining the perceived usability and UX or the learning effect of AREAs; (iv) a limited number of studies at home suggests the missed opportunity of mobilizing parents to support children to deploy AREAs in different settings; (v) the number of AREAs for children with special needs remains disappointedly low; (vi) the threat of predatory journals to the quality of bibliometric sources amplifies the need for a robust approach to the quality assessment for SLR and transparency of interim results. Implications of these issues for future research and practice on AREAs are drawn.

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