Enhancing learning experiences through AR

Augmented reality (AR) in education helps students easily acquire, process, and remember information. Additionally, its gamified nature makes learning itself more engaging and fun. Our goal was to help students upskill in Industry 4.0 technology by bridging the gap between online and hands-on learning through the magic of AR.

I was responsible for the end to end product design of the application.

User Experience
User research
UI design

Year 2020


weeks from kickoff to deliverables


months development to MVP release
to App Store

Girl holding the AR app on a tablet device

The challenge

Workers in advanced manufacturing looking to upskill don't have remote learning opportunities on the latest smart manufacturing machines. RMIT recognised that textbooks and online courses could not provide enough hands-on interaction. To bridge this gap and enhance RMIT's product offering, our team was tasked to explore AR technology and produce an app that could also integrate seamlessly within online learning journeys.

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Through augmented reality (AR), educators are able to improve learning outcomes through increased engagement and interactivity.

The approach

The discovery phase was a high‐intensity effort that involved analysing the competitor landscape and understanding user needs around digital learning. In particular, I focused on the behaviours and pain‐points related to AR technology on mobile devices. In my field studies and through contextual inquiry, it became apparent that there was a mental model mismatch.

I conducted contextual inquiry, facilitated co-design sessions, used desktop research and guerilla user testing. This approach was necessary to fully understand the problem space, the various spectrum of use cases, mental models related to this technology and for inclusive design.


Co-design workshops


User testing participants




Worker interviews

Many users struggled to use and initiate the AR experience. Task rate completion (TRC) tests showed a fail rate of 70%.

On mobile devices, users did not expect to have to stand and scan the environment with their device camera in order to activate the machine model. Instead, like most held devices, users expected to be stationary as if it were exploring an interactive game.


Building empathy

It quickly became clear that we had assumed too much of people's digital literacy. To move beyond assumptions I created a spectrums and situations map to highlight the range of temporary or permanent challenges we needed to consider. Working with this inclusive framework enabled me to quickly prioritise the product features.

Design sprints

The biggest challenge I faced throughout this project was to propel the ideation and design across multiple teams, one team handling the learning design and our team, responsible for the AR development. Since the project involved many stakeholders, I needed to coordinate and get buy‐in from many competing interests. One of the unifying activities I facilitated was a design sprint which provided much-needed momentum and concepts for testing.

Image of Aesop's sustainable gift wrapping.

Introducing XR LearnHub, a way to explore IoT technology in workplace
Browse AR experiences for online coursesUsers can browse course experiences to learn more about AR and its application to learning material.

One click login

Easy replenishment

Lesson overviews and key activities establish a clear connection between theory and practical application. Forward feedback in the form of lesson overviews and key activities help reduce confusion by providing more context.

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Easy replenishment

Reducing the learning curve with walkthrough instructionsGuides users through the necessary steps to activate the technology. System feedback aids usability and reduces friction-related to low digital literacy.

One click login

Easy replenishment

Animation of app icons

Guerilla testing

Once I had a new prototype, I held guerrilla user testing with 15 students and 5 educators. Participants were asked to find the CNC course and to activate the experience. The testing was coupled with open-ended questions around user satisfaction and suggestions for improvement. The new flow resonated well and confirmed that designing for people's spatial context and providing scaffolded learning improved the user experience.

XR LearnHub launched in November 2019. The release coincided with a series of AR and VR workshops for business and educational audiences. Since its release, XR LearnHub has helped RMIT's Centre for Digital Enterprise lead the way in enhanced learning experiences by being the first of its kind AR app dedicated to TAFE and workplace training.