One of the most promising uses of augmented reality is in the field of education.  While some might think that using AR for education is just a gimmick designed to trick kids into learning, there is a scientific basis for why using visual information is important. 

Communication occurs through our senses.  We have five senses, but we don’t use them equally.  This is how we use them:

Visual – 75%

Hearing – 13%

Touch – 6%

Smell – 3%

Taste – 3%

As you see the sense we use the most, overwhelmingly so, is vision.  We get most of our information through the eyes. 

At Toyota, my employer, we put this into practice by requiring all papers to be condensed into one page.  We use lots of graphs, diagrams and as little words as possible.  We teach people to communicate through visualization, a prized skill in Toyota, because you can quickly convey a lot of information in a short time.  Even multi-million dollar projects are funded from one-page presentations given in less than five minutes.

This holds true for education.  So much is lost when a teacher stands at the board and lectures.   Little of the information gets through to the subjects, resulting in wasted time and uninterested students.  A recent post from Immersive Tech reminded me of the power of visualization.  While the video is from last November, it helps illustrate my words (yet again proving the point), so I’m reposting it.


I’m impressed by the interactivity of the molecular structure lessons, illustrating beautifully the complex nature of atoms with simple sweeps of the hand.  Seeing is believing and by seeing the lesson at a desk or on the projector, the students can stay engaged in the lessons. 

There’s a reason the phrase, “Do what I say and not what I do,”  exists.

We’re recognize the power of our actions outweighs the power of our words.


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

  • Excellent breakdown of how we use our senses! It is interesting to see the pareto rule applied to our senses; we use ~20% of our senses ~80% of the time.

    With vision and audio being the dominant senses, it is understandable that immersive technology has the most growth in this area (vs smell/taste).
    Touch immersion is starting to develop with haptics, since displays and speakers are getting close to producing perceptually real sights and sounds. Once these combine, there will be some amazing educational tools! (consider practice surgery on a perceptually real patient)

  • I hadn’t thought about the pareto rule applied to the senses, but that’s so true. It fits quite nicely. Thanks again for your comments.

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