SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: Caroline Greiner
TIME: Thursday, June 22, 2023, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 210
TITLE: Using Augmented Reality to Train a Diverse Group of Undergraduate Engineering Students on Makerspace Tools
COMMITTEE: Dr. Roxanne Moore, Co-Chair (ME)
Dr. Katherine Fu, Co-Chair (ME)
Dr. Christopher Saldana (ME)


Undergraduate engineering students are often trained on makerspace tools using demonstrations given by teaching assistants or instructors; however, this training process is often not adequate for student learning. In industry, augmented reality (AR) has been shown to be a promising way to train and teach users step-by-step procedural tasks, such as learning how to use a tool or machine. AR has also been used as a teaching tool in the classroom where it improves student knowledge retention and achievement. This thesis investigates the effectiveness of an AR training tutorial on undergraduate engineering student learning of makerspace tools as compared to the traditional TA-led demonstration. Additionally, this thesis investigates if AR is a more inclusive teaching tool for underrepresented (URM) engineering students who often enter engineering programs with less prior engineering knowledge and experience than their peers. A group of undergraduate mechanical engineering students were trained on the power drill/driver with a TA-led demonstration and an AR tutorial using the Microsoft HoloLens. Students were given a pre- and post-survey that asked questions about their power drill/driver knowledge, self-efficacy, and feelings about the tutorial. Students also completed an assignment using the power drill/driver after completing the tutorial. While both tutorials resulted in a statistically significant increase in student learning, there was no difference in the increase between the two tutorials. URM students learned more than non-URM students from both tutorials, but this may be because they had less prior power drill/driver knowledge. URM students preferred the TA tutorial and non-URM students learned more with the AR tutorial likely because the of the difference in prior knowledge. Understanding how different trainings can affect the learning of different student populations is important when developing inclusive learning materials for the classroom.