Mobile augmented reality for teaching structural analysis

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Advanced Engineering Informatics, ISSN: 1474-0346, Vol: 34, Page: 90-100

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Yelda Turkan; Rafael Radkowski; Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu; Amir H. Behzadan; An Chen
Elsevier BV
Computer Science
article description
Structural analysis is an introductory core course that is taught in every civil engineering program as well as in most architectural and construction engineering programs. Previous research unveils students' deficits in understanding the behavior of structural elements in a three-dimensional (3D) context due to the shortcomings of traditional lecturing approaches, which put too much emphasis on the analysis of individual structural members, thereby falling short in providing a solid, easy-to-follow, and holistic approach to analyzing complex structures with a large number of interconnected elements. In this paper, the authors introduce a new pedagogy for teaching structural analysis that incorporates mobile augmented reality (AR) and interactive 3D visualization technology. The goal of this study is to enhance the contents used in structural analysis textbooks and on worksheets by visualizing discrete structural members employing AR along with interactive 3D models in order to illustrate how the structures behave under different loading conditions. Students can interactively change the load and observe the reaction resulting from this change with the instant feedback provided by the AR interface. The feasibility of AR concepts and interaction metaphors, as well as the potential of using AR for teaching structural analysis are investigated, specifically by focusing on challenges regarding content integration and interaction. An AR application is designed and developed, and a pilot study is conducted in a junior level structural analysis class to assess the pedagogical impact and the design concepts employed by the AR tool. Control and test groups are deployed, and students’ performance is measured using pre- and post-tests. The results of the pilot study indicate that the utilized AR design concepts have potential to contribute to students’ learning by providing interactive and 3D visualization features, which support constructive engagement and retention of information in students.