The learning affordances of augmented reality for museum exhibits on human health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Augmented reality (AR) is an emerging technology with the potential to transform learning. By digitally adding or removing information from the physical world, AR creates a sense that real and virtual objects coexist, and can enhance people’s interactions both with each other and with objects in the world. Most museum implementations of AR have been in the realms of art and history. Using examples from across formal and informal settings, this article illustrates the learning affordances of AR for museums that aim to communicate concepts related to human health. These topics often present spatiotemporal challenges for learning, but can be made more accessible to learners when contextualized within personally, socially, and culturally relevant contexts. After briefly reviewing research on learning with AR, the article examines how museum designers might leverage AR’s capacity for spatial and temporal representation, narrative and interactivity, real-time personalized scaffolds, and collaboration, to create meaningful learning experiences on medicine and human biology. The article ends with a discussion of issues related to the use of AR in museums, and thoughts on future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-87
Number of pages15
JournalMuseums and Social Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Augmented reality
  • Health
  • Learning
  • Museums
  • Review
  • Technology design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Museology


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