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R. Llorente, M. Morant, F.J. Martinez-Zaldivar

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
There is clear trend on education, at every level, to transition to a digital curriculum. Current textbooks employed in higher education engineering studies must evolve to next-generation content experiences. The typical approach of digitizing textbooks cannot be considered transformative. By focusing on the entire learning continuum and in the creation of the digital curriculum, advanced digital content for both students and teachers must be developed permitting an improvement of the knowledge-building process in two main directions: First, developing advanced digital content that can be linked to conventional textbooks. Second, gathering student statistics, i.e. by connecting the advanced digital contents to back-end systems, in order to link the student outcomes to assessments and to identify the students’ potential bottlenecks. In a medium-term evolution of this approach, fully personalized learning would be possible, maximising the efficiency of the learning process.

Several authors indicate that the transition to the fully digital curriculum is limited by the relatively high cost of tablets and other digital devices and the copyrighted material [1]. It is necessary then to develop a “catalyser” for this transition to the digital curriculum. This paper proposes and reports an application developed introducing augmented reality in conventional textbooks in order to ease and speed-up the transition to the digital curriculum. Different techniques for providing in digital context to textbooks are considered and their performance measures. These techniques include smartphone/tablet marker-based augmented-reality, image-based augmented reality, BIDI™ code URL (universal resource locator) and conventional desktop-computer URLs.

The use of augmented reality in higher education studies is proposed and evaluated in this paper. A proof-of-concept augmented reality application has been developed in Android™ operating system using the open-source DroidAR Augmented Reality Framework [2] for evaluation purposes. The application runs in a smartphone or tablet for the student convenience. The performance of the proposed technology has been evaluated forming a panel of nine students from the Escuela Politécnica Superior de Gandia [3]. The students have been confronted to a set of Electrical Engineering problems with four different approaches to computer-based knowledge-building aids. These include (i) smartphone/tablet marker-based augmented-reality, (ii) image-based augmented reality, (iii) BIDI™ code URL, and (iv) conventional desktop-computer URLs. The usage (number of activations) have been tracked and statistically analysed.

The results indicate that image-based augmented reality or marker-based was activated in 92% on the cases, and a reduction of 18% in the time spent solving the engineering problems is observed compared to conventional URL-based knowledge-aid computer assistances.

[1] Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, “The Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age”, Digital Media Project white paper.
[2] “DroidAR Augmented Reality Framework”, info available at:
[3] Escuela Politécnica Superior de Gandia from the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, info available at: