“Augmented and Virtual Reality Application Design for Immersive Learning Research Using Virtual Nature” by Harrington

  • ©Maria C. R. Harrington



Entry Number: 56


    Augmented and Virtual Reality Application Design for Immersive Learning Research Using Virtual Nature


Project Affiliation:

    University of Central Florida


    Described are two applications using immersive augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for informal learning research. A critical design factor resulting from the authentication process in sourcing all text, media, and data is the high information fidelity (truth) in all signals transmitted to the human. The AR Perpetual Garden App was developed to annotate the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s dioramas and gardens to bring learning to all visitors. The Virtual UCF Arboretum was developed to represent the real UCF Arboretum in VR for immersive learning research. More like a virtual diorama or virtual field trip, they are open to independent exploration and learning. Unlike fantasy games or creative animations, these environments used accurate content, high information fidelity, to enhance immersion and presence. As data visualizations or simulations, and not point-clouds or interactive 360 VR video, they can show past, present, and future scenarios from data. As an application intended for informal learning, the needs of learners as well as the institutional stakeholders were integrated in a participatory design process by extending traditional user-centered design with expert-learner-user-centered design. The design patterns will be of interest to a broad community concerned with perception, emotions, learning, immersion and presence, and


    Doris Ash. 2010. How Families Use Questions at Dioramas: Ideas for Exhibit Design. Curator: The Museum Journal 47, 1 (Jan. 2010), 84–100.

    Maria C. R. Harrington. 2009. An Ethnographic Comparison of Real and Virtual Reality Field Trips to Trillium Trail: The Salamander Find as a Salient Event. Children, Youth and Environments 19, 1 (2009), 74–101.

    Maria C. R. Harrington. 2018. Improving Psychophysical Well-being and Performance in Isolated, Confined, and Extreme Environments with Head Mounted Virtual  Reality Photorealistic Simulations of Earth Based Natural Environments. In Proceedings of the 2018 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop  HRP RESEARCH: THE GATEWAY TO MARS, January 22-25, 2018, Galveston, TX.

    Maria C. R. Harrington, Markus Tatzgern, Tom Langer, and John W. Wenzel. 2019. Augmented Reality Brings the Real World into Natural History Dioramas with Data Visualizations and Bioacoustics at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Curator: The Museum Journal 62, 2 (April 2019), 177-193.

    Donald A. Norman and Stephen W. Draper (Eds.). 1986. User Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human-Computer Interaction. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Hillsdale, New Jersey.


    Acknowledged for support: Dr. J. W. Wenzel, Dr. M. Tatzgern, B. Isaac, L. Giarratani, M. Lyon, M. Oliver, T. Langer, R. Dinic, and M. Tiefengrabner and members of The Harrington Lab: Z. Bledsoe, C. Jones, J. Miller, T. Pring, and K.e Beck, and the real UCF Arboretum: Dr. P. Bohlen, J. Elliott, R. Jarrett, A. Lindsay, J. Guziejka, and R. Pares.


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