Inclusive Peer to Peer Learning with Augmented Reality ( i-PEAR)

Are lectures a relic of the past? Is our attention span shrinking dangerously? I am not sure how to respond to these questions. I have observed repeatedly that students returning on campus seem more disengaged than ever before, struggling to cope with their physical and mental well-being in the after-Covid 19 eras.

Therefore teaching ought to be inclusive. Inclusion as General Comment No. 4 of the United Nations defines inclusive education as:

‘. . . a process of systemic reform embodying changes and modifications in content, teaching methods, approaches, structures and strategies in education to overcome barriers with a vision serving to provide all students of the relevant age range with an equitable and participatory learning experience and environment that best corresponds to their requirements and preferences.’ (United Nations, 2016, para 11)RPD (United Nations)

During the two-meter distance and hopefully long after it, our ‘learning buddies’  served as a safety net that enhanced our human-to-human contact. Peer learning frames the new capital of the infosphere. Students and educators usually find ‘learning friends’ as co-travellers to help them acquire new skills or digest information as creative work with others that provide micro-scaffolding in class and online. The Peer-to-Peer instruction model, originated by Aric Mazur in 1997, offers significant evidence that it could make learning more efficient, collaborative, and empowering.

According to Harvard Business Review, peer-to-peer learning fits naturally with how we naturally learn new skills. They describe what is called a Learning Loop:

People gain new skills best in any situation that includes all four stages of what we call the “Learning Loop”: gain knowledgepractice by applying that knowledge; get feedback, and reflect on what has been learned. Peer-to-peer learning encompasses all of these.

Another element of the holistic instructional design is visuals. Visuals are an experiential form of reading and thinking. The visual language as part of augmented reality is a rapidly growing market amongst ICT technologies in many fields such as education, marketing, medical training to name a few. AR provides an enriched view of the physical world, adding layers with contextually helpful information, delivered visually or by stimulating other senses using hand-held or wearable devices.

The i-PEAR project uses the power of visuals as AR and peers learn to create a different and holistic pedagogical design that aims to address the needs and preferences of the students. That is why it is inclusive; the students could create, share and experience AR content while learning with their peers. Educators could be the learning architect of the activities and intervene when students need further support or guidance. In this way, the ultimate goal is to empower students as lifelong learners.

The iPEAR project combines the collaborative expertise of technology-enhanced learning researchers, computer scientists, and educators to build a strategic partnership to streamline the adoption of Augmented Reality (AR) technology in educational practice. The project will create innovative open educational resources for educators that help implement and integrate active and collaborative learning pedagogical approaches supported by AR. This will enrich the teaching practice and support inclusive, peer-to-peer learning relevant to the requirements and preferences of the students.

The main objectives of the project are:

  1. Facilitate the adoption of AR in education by creating open-access teaching and learning material for educators.
  2. Create and maintain a community of experts in educational AR and other stakeholders to ensure the project’s sustainability and keep the most valuable results up to date.
  3. Map the educational use of AR, focusing on collaborative and peer learning approaches.

We are going to produce

  • Toolkit of Educational AR apps
  • Compendium of best practices in Educational AR in Higher Education (Research & literature review)
  • Pedagogical strategy & Competence framework for AR and peer learning
  • Conference
  • iPEAR publications (a book) & Open access audio-visual material for dissemination

Connect with iPEAR!
Join The Digital Ways community LinkedIn groupTwitter: @TheDigitalWays and Facebook: @DigitalWaysEU

Here is the link to the project

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Project partners:

  • AKTO SA. Greece

The European Union has co-founded this project under the ERASMUS+ programme, grant 2020-1-DE01-KA203-5733. The blog reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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