International Association of Educators   |  ISSN: 1554-5210

Original article | International Journal of Progressive Education 2019, Vol. 15(5) 42-57

Effect of augmented reality environments on cognitive load: pedagogical effect, instructional design, motivation and interaction interfaces

Emin İbili

pp. 42 - 57   |  DOI:   |  Manu. Number: MANU-1906-18-0001.R1

Published online: October 16, 2019  |   Number of Views: 219  |  Number of Download: 594


The aim of this study was to explain the relationship between cognitive load and the effects of augmented reality (AR) learning environments. To achieve this aim, firstly, the studies of systematic literature reviews on the potential and limitations of AR learning environments were examined. Afterwards, the effect of AR was categorized in terms of (1) pedagogical effect, (2) instructional design, (3) motivation and (4) interaction interfaces. Finally, the relationship between cognitive load and the emerging categories related to the potential and limitations of AR was explained and recommendations were presented. From a pedagogical point of view, AR helps to reduce extraneous cognitive load and to increase germane cognitive load. On the other hand, the effect of AR systems, which are difficult to use and complex in terms of instructional design, on cognitive load was revealed. Some teaching methods and design principles that can be effective as solutions were presented. In addition, the effects of motivational stimuli on the prevention or extension of cognitive capacity among students were described. Finally, the potential and limitations of AR interaction interfaces on cognitive load were explained. The results of this research provide important clues for AR developers and instructional designers in terms of reducing cognitive load and the elimination of working memory limitations.

Keywords: Augmented reality, cognitive load, instructional design, interaction interfaces

How to Cite this Article?

APA 6th edition
Ibili, E. (2019). Effect of augmented reality environments on cognitive load: pedagogical effect, instructional design, motivation and interaction interfaces . International Journal of Progressive Education, 15(5), 42-57. doi: 10.29329/ijpe.2019.212.4

Ibili, E. (2019). Effect of augmented reality environments on cognitive load: pedagogical effect, instructional design, motivation and interaction interfaces . International Journal of Progressive Education, 15(5), pp. 42-57.

Chicago 16th edition
Ibili, Emin (2019). "Effect of augmented reality environments on cognitive load: pedagogical effect, instructional design, motivation and interaction interfaces ". International Journal of Progressive Education 15 (5):42-57. doi:10.29329/ijpe.2019.212.4.

  1. Akçayır, M., & Akçayır, G. (2017). Advantages and challenges associated with augmented reality for education: A systematic review of the literature. Educational Research Review, 20, 1-11. [Google Scholar]
  2. AlAgha, I., & Rasheed, R. (2015). An Exploratory Study of 3D Interaction Techniques in Augmented Reality Environments. JSW, 10(4), 427-440. [Google Scholar]
  3. Arvanitis, T. N., Williams, D. D., Knight, J. F., Baber, C., Gargalakos, M., Sotiriou, S., & Bogner, F. X. (2011). A human factors study of technology acceptance of a prototype mobile augmented reality system for science education. Advanced Science Letters, 4(11-12), 3342-3352. [Google Scholar]
  4. Ayres, P. (2006). Using subjective measures to detect variations of intrinsic cognitive load within problems. Learning and Instruction, 16(5), 389-400. [Google Scholar]
  5. Bacca, J., Baldiris, S., Fabregat, R., & Graf, S. (2014). Augmented reality trends in education: a systematic review of research and applications. [Google Scholar]
  6. Bai, H. (2016). Mobile Augmented Reality: Free-hand Gesture-based Interaction. [Google Scholar]
  7. Baumeister, J., Ssin, S. Y., ElSayed, N. A., Dorrian, J., Webb, D. P., Walsh, J. A., ... & Thomas, B. H. (2017). Cognitive Cost of Using Augmented Reality Displays. IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics, 23(11), 2378-2388. [Google Scholar]
  8. Billinghurst, M., Kato, H., & Poupyrev, I. (2001). The magicbook-moving seamlessly between reality and virtuality. IEEE Computer Graphics and applications, 21(3), 6-8. [Google Scholar]
  9. Brown, M. C., McNeil, N. M., & Glenberg, A. M. (2009). Using concreteness in education: Real problems, potential solutions. Child Development Perspectives, 3(3), 160-164. [Google Scholar]
  10. Carlson, R., Chandler, P., and Sweller, J. (2003). Learning and understanding science instructional material. J. Educ. Psychol. 95: 629–640. [Google Scholar]
  11. Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1996). Cognitive load while learning to use a computer program. Applied cognitive psychology, 10(2), 151-170. [Google Scholar]
  12. Chandrasekera, T. (2014). Using augmented reality prototypes in design education. Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, 19(3). [Google Scholar]
  13. Chessa, M., & Noceti, N. (2017). Investigating Natural Interaction in Augmented Reality Environments using Motion Qualities. In VISIGRAPP (6: VISAPP) (pp. 110-117). [Google Scholar]
  14. Chi, M. T. (2009). Active‐constructive‐interactive: A conceptual framework for differentiating learning activities. Topics in cognitive science, 1(1), 73-105. [Google Scholar]
  15. Cierniak, G., Scheiter, K., & Gerjets, P. (2009). Explaining the split-attention effect: Is the reduction of extraneous cognitive load accompanied by an increase in germane cognitive load?. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(2), 315-324. [Google Scholar]
  16. Clarke, T., Ayres, P., & Sweller, J. (2005). The impact of sequencing and prior knowledge on learning mathematics through spreadsheet applications. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 15-24. [Google Scholar]
  17. Cooper, G. (1998). Research into cognitive load theory and instructional design at UNSW. [Google Scholar]
  18. Costley, J., & Lange, C. H. (2017). The effects of lecture diversity on germane load. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(2). [Google Scholar]
  19. Costley, J., & Lange, C. H. (2017). Video lectures in e-learning: effects of viewership and media diversity on learning, satisfaction, engagement, interest, and future behavioral intention. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 14(1), 14-30. [Google Scholar]
  20. Da Silva, M. M., Teixeira, J. M. X., Cavalcante, P. S., & Teichrieb, V. (2019). Perspectives on how to evaluate augmented reality technology tools for education: a systematic review. Journal of the Brazilian Computer Society, 25(1), 3. [Google Scholar]
  21. De Jong, T. (2010). Cognitive load theory, educational research, and instructional design: Some food for thought. Instructional science, 38(2), 105-134. [Google Scholar]
  22. Debue, N., & Van De Leemput, C. (2014). What does germane load mean? An empirical contribution to the cognitive load theory. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 1099. [Google Scholar]
  23. Diegmann, P., Schmidt-Kraepelin, M., Eynden, S., & Basten, D. (2015). Benefits of augmented reality in educational environments-a systematic literature review. Benefits, 3(6), 1542-1556. [Google Scholar]
  24. Dirin, A., & Laine, T. H. (2018). User Experience in Mobile Augmented Reality: Emotions, Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices. Computers, 7(2), 33. [Google Scholar]
  25. Drobisz, J. (2017). The Effects of Arousal Presented by a Pedagogical Agent on English Language Learners' Situational Interest, Cognitive Load and Reading Comprehension in Online Reading Tasks. [Google Scholar]
  26. Ferreira, Jose. "Methods, media, and systems for computer-based learning." U.S. Patent No. 8,672,686. 18 Mar. 2014. [Google Scholar]
  27. Fotaris, P., Pellas, N., Kazanidis, I., & Smith, P. (2017, October). A systematic review of Augmented Reality game-based applications in primary education. In Memorias del XI Congreso Europeo en Aprendizaje Basado en el Juego Graz (pp. 181-191). [Google Scholar]
  28. Hedberg, H., Nouri, J., Hansen, P., & Rahmani, R. (2018). A Systematic Review of Learning through Mobile Augmented Reality. iJIM, 12(3), 75-85. [Google Scholar]
  29. Herpich, F., Nunes, F. B., Petri, G., & Tarouco, L. M. R. (2019). How Mobile Augmented Reality Is Applied in Education? A Systematic Literature Review. Creative Education, 10(07), 1589. [Google Scholar]
  30. Hogg, J. L. (2012). Cognitive design considerations for augmented reality. In EEE International Conference on e-Learning, e-Business, Enterprise Information Systems, and e-Government, Las Vegas, NV. [Google Scholar]
  31. Hsu, T. C. (2017). Learning English with augmented reality: Do learning styles matter?. Computers & Education, 106, 137-149. [Google Scholar]
  32. Huang, Y. M., Huang, Y. M., Liu, C. H., & Tsai, C. C. (2013). Applying social tagging to manage cognitive load in a Web 2.0 self-learning environment. Interactive Learning Environments, 21(3), 273-289. [Google Scholar]
  33. Ibili, E, & Sahin, S. (2015). The effect of augmented reality assisted geometry instruction on students’ achievement and attitudes. Teaching Mathematics and Computer Science, 13(2), 177-193. [Google Scholar]
  34. Kaptelinin V, Nardi B (2012) Activity theory in HCI—fundamentals and reflections [null]. Morgan and Claypool, San Francisco [Google Scholar]
  35. Kester, L., Kirschner, P. A., & Van MerriËnboer, J. J. (2004). Timing of information presentation in learning statistics. Instructional Science, 32(3), 233-252. [Google Scholar]
  36. Khalil, M. K., Paas, F., Johnson, T. E., & Payer, A. F. (2005). Interactive and dynamic visualizations in teaching and learning of anatomy: a cognitive load perspective. The Anatomical Record Part B: The New Anatomist: An Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists, 286(1), 8-14. [Google Scholar]
  37. Kirschner, P. A. (2002). Cognitive load theory: Implications of cognitive load theory on the design of learning. [Google Scholar]
  38. Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41, 75–86. [Google Scholar]
  39. Klepsch, M., Schmitz, F., & Seufert, T. (2017). Development and validation of two instruments measuring intrinsic, extraneous, and germane cognitive load. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1997. [Google Scholar]
  40. Klopfer, E., Perry, J., Squire, K., & Jan, M. F. (2005, May). Collaborative learning through augmented reality role playing. In Proceedings of th 2005 conference on Computer support for collaborative learning: learning 2005: the next 10 years!(pp. 311-315). International Society of the Learning Sciences. [Google Scholar]
  41. Lee, E. A. L., & Wong, K. W. (2014). Learning with desktop virtual reality: Low spatial ability learners are more positively affected. Computers & Education, 79, 49-58. [Google Scholar]
  42. Lee, H., Billinghurst, M., & Woo, W. (2011). Two-handed tangible interaction techniques for composing augmented blocks. Virtual Reality, 15(2-3), 133-146. [Google Scholar]
  43. Leppink, J., & van den Heuvel, A. (2015). The evolution of cognitive load theory and its application to medical education. Perspectives on medical education, 4(3), 119-127. [Google Scholar]
  44. Leppink, J., Paas, F., Van der Vleuten, C. P., Van Gog, T., & Van Merriënboer, J. J. (2013). Development of an instrument for measuring different types of cognitive load. Behavior research methods, 45(4), 1058-1072. [Google Scholar]
  45. Matcha, W., & Rambli, D. R. A. (2011, November). Preliminary investigation on the use of augmented reality in collaborative learning. In International Conference on Informatics Engineering and Information Science (pp. 189-198). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. [Google Scholar]
  46. Mayer, R. E. (2005). Principles for managing essential processing in multimedia learning: segmenting, pre-training, and modality. In R.E. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (pp.169–182). New York: Cambridge University Press [Google Scholar]
  47. Mayer, R. E. (2009). Constructivism as a theory of learning versus constructivism as a prescription for instruction. Constructivist instruction: Success or failure, 184-200. [Google Scholar]
  48. Moyer, P. S., Bolyard, J. J., & Spikell, M. A. (2002). What are virtual manipulatives?. Teaching children mathematics, 8(6), 372-377. [Google Scholar]
  49. Paas, F., Van Gog, T., & Sweller, J. (2010). Cognitive load theory: New conceptualizations, specifications, and integrated research perspectives. Educational Psychology Review, 22(2), 115-121. [Google Scholar]
  50. Quintero, J., Baldiris Navarro, S. M., Rubira, R., Cerón, J., & Velez, G. (2019). Augmented Reality in Educational Inclusion. A Systematic Review on the Last Decade. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1835. [Google Scholar]
  51. Renkl, A., & Atkinson, R. K. (2003). Structuring the transition from example study to problem solving in cognitive skill acquisition: A cognitive load perspective. Educational psychologist, 38(1), 15-22. [Google Scholar]
  52. Safadel, P. (2016). Examining the Effects of Augmented Reality in Teaching and Learning Environments that Have Spatial Frameworks (Doctoral dissertation). [Google Scholar]
  53. Saitta, E. K., Gittings, M. J., & Geiger, C. (2011). Learning dimensional analysis through collaboratively working with manipulatives. Journal of Chemical Education, 88(7), 910-915. [Google Scholar]
  54. Saltan, F., & Arslan, Ö. (2017). The use of augmented reality in formal education: A scoping review. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 13(2), 503-520. [Google Scholar]
  55. Schafer, D., & Kaufman, D. (2018). Augmenting Reality with Intelligent Interfaces. [Google Scholar]
  56. Schnotz, W., & Kürschner, C. (2007). A reconsideration of cognitive load theory. Educational psychology review, 19(4), 469-508. [Google Scholar]
  57. Shelton, B. E., & Hedley, N. R. (2004). Exploring a cognitive basis for learning spatial relationships with augmented reality. Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, 1(4), 323. [Google Scholar]
  58. Sommerauer, P., & Müller, O. (2018, June). Augmented Reality for Teaching and Learning-a literature Review on Theoretical and Empirical Foundations. In ECIS (p. 31). [Google Scholar]
  59. Strehler, A. (2008). The relationship between cognitive load, cognitive style and multimedia learning (Doctoral dissertation, University of Pretoria). [Google Scholar]
  60. Sweller, J. (1999). Instructional design. In Australian educational review. [Google Scholar]
  61. Sweller, J. (2010). Element interactivity and intrinsic, extraneous, and germane cognitive load. Educational psychology review, 22(2), 123-138. [Google Scholar]
  62. Sweller, J., Ayres, P. L., Kalyuga, S., & Chandler, P. (2003). The expertise reversal effect. [Google Scholar]
  63. Sweller, J., van Merriënboer, J. J., & Paas, F. (2019). Cognitive architecture and instructional design: 20 years later. Educational Psychology Review, 1-32. [Google Scholar]
  64. Sweller, J., Van Merrienboer, J. J., & Paas, F. G. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational psychology review, 10(3), 251-296. [Google Scholar]
  65. Swensen, H. (14th-16th November 2016). Potential of augmented reality in sciences education. A literature review. Proceedings of ICERI2016 Conference, Seville, Spain [Google Scholar]
  66. Teo, T., & Noyes, J. (2008). Development and validation of a computer attitude measure for young students (CAMYS). Computers in Human Behavior, 24(6), 2659-2667. [Google Scholar]
  67. Turk, M., & Robertson, G. (2000). Perceptual user interfaces (introduction). Communications of the ACM, 43(3), 32-34. [Google Scholar]
  68. Van Merriënboer, J. J., & Ayres, P. (2005). Research on cognitive load theory and its design implications for e-learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 5-13. [Google Scholar]
  69. Van Merriënboer, J. J., Clark, R. E., & De Croock, M. B. (2002). Blueprints for complex learning: The 4C/ID-model. Educational technology research and development, 50(2), 39-61. [Google Scholar]
  70. Van Merrienboer, J. J., Kester, L., & Paas, F. (2006). Teaching complex rather than simple tasks: Balancing intrinsic and germane load to enhance transfer of learning. Applied Cognitive Psychology: The Official Journal of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 20(3), 343-352. [Google Scholar]
  71. Wang, T. J., & Huang, K. H. (2018). Pedagogy, philosophy, and the question of creativity. Teaching in Higher Education, 23(2), 261-273. [Google Scholar]
  72. Wernaart, G. W. H. (2013). Cognitive Load Measurement: Different instruments for different types of load? (Master's thesis). [Google Scholar]
  73. Wigdor, D., & Wixon, D. (2011). Brave NUI world: designing natural user interfaces for touch and gesture. Elsevier. [Google Scholar]
  74. Xue, H., Sharma, P., & Wild, F. (2018). User Satisfaction in Augmented Reality-Based Training Using Microsoft HoloLens. [Google Scholar]
  75. Young, J. Q., Van Merrienboer, J., Durning, S., & Ten Cate, O. (2014). Cognitive load theory: Implications for medical education: AMEE guide no. 86. Medical teacher, 36(5), 371-384. [Google Scholar]
  76. Yuliono, T., Sarwanto, & Rintayati, P. (2018). The promising roles of augmented reality in educational setting: A review of the literature. International Journal of Educational Methodology, 4(3), 125-132. [Google Scholar]