Recent studies suggest that the number of students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees has been generally decreasing. An extensive body of research cites the lack of motivation and engagement in the learning process as a major underlying reason of this decline. It has been discussed that if properly implemented, instructional technology can enhance student engagement and the quality of learning. Therefore, the main goal of this research is to implement and assess the effectiveness of an augmented reality (AR)-based pedagogical tool on student learning. For this purpose, a model building design and assembly experiment with two separate (control and test) treatments were conducted in an undergraduate construction and civil engineering course. In each treatment, performance (with respect to three primary and three secondary measures) and workload data (with respect to six NASA TLX indicators) were collected and assessed. Both treatments were also videotaped for post-analysis and further observations of students’ performance. It was found that students in the test group (who used the AR tool) performed better than students in the control group with respect to certain (but not all) measures. In addition, test group students spent more time on collaboration, communication, and exchanging ideas. Overall, students ranked the effectiveness of the AR tool very high and stated that it has a good potential to transform traditional teaching methods.
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