Collaborative Research: Strategies for Learning: Augmented Reality and Collaborative Problem-Solving for Building Sciences Grant

Collaborative Research: Strategies for Learning: Augmented Reality and Collaborative Problem-Solving for Building Sciences .


  • Strategies for Learning: Augmented Reality and Collaborative Problem Solving for Building Sciences, a collaborative project between Florida International University and the University of Central Florida, will integrate Augmented Reality (AR) with Building Information Modeling (BIM), visual simulations, and interactive lessons to support collaborative learning. Specifically, the research team will examine if and how Ecocon, a computer-based tool, can improve students' problem-solving and collaborative learning skills leading to the design of more sustainable and better performing buildings. Students enrolled in architecture, civil/construction engineering, and mechanical engineering courses will engage in four four-week units, and after each, will complete a collaborative assignment in interdisciplinary teams. As there is little known about how people learn and collaborate using the integration of new technologies and AR, addressing the research questions of this project will potentially contribute significantly to advancing the design of learning environments using new and emerging media. The broader education of engineers and architects emphasizing collaboration, leadership, and communication skills will also potentially lead to increased innovation, enhanced sustainability, and reduced cost of training once they enter the work force. Florida International University has a proven history of providing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for underrepresented minorities that comprise 80% of the student population. Therefore, activities deployed in this project including K-12 student involvement, seminars, presentations, and developed courses will impact diverse student populations and serve as a foundation for a diverse high quality building and construction workforce in the future.The investigators will use a design-based research approach to discover: (1) How does engaging with Ecocon impact students' problem-solving skills and collaborative learning interactions? (2) How does interaction with the project change students' understanding of building science principles in their respective disciplines? (3) Does use of Ecocon enhance the ability of students to successfully transfer the principles they have learned to new situations? (4) What is the impact of the use and the project approach on student motivation for further collaborative learning? A design-based methodology was selected because the pedagogical experiments will be set in real-world learning environments where there are many variables that cannot be controlled, and this approach will allow the researchers to try to optimize as much of the design as possible and to observe carefully how the different elements are working. Assessment and evaluation will be conducted using mixed methods, including, but not limited to cognitive assessments such as pre- and post-tests and technical reports, and affective assessments such as pre-and post-attitude surveys and exit interviews. Project outcomes and techniques will provide guidelines to create similar multi-disciplinary learning tools for other STEM fields. All project methods and tools will be easily accessible on a dedicated open source website to allow other institutions to replicate and/or modify the learning experience for their own circumstances.

date/time interval

  • September 15, 2015 - August 31, 2018

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 1504898

local award ID

  • AWD000000005080