Advancing virtual education through technology is an important step for engineering education. This has been made evident by the educational difficulties associated with the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Maintaining educational standards while using virtual learning is something possibly solved through researching new educational technologies. A potential technology that can enhance virtual education is Augmented Reality, since it can show information that would otherwise not be easily experienced or obtained. Traditional learning tools fail to offer the ability to control objects and explore numerous perspectives the way augmented reality can. Augmented reality can be even further enhanced through the addition of animation. Animation could add the ability to see motion, increasing overall understanding as well as increasing the motivation to learn. When motion is not visualized, it must be perceived, which can increase cognitive load and cause the limitations of working memory to be met. Reaching the limits of working memory has been shown to negatively affect learning. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify the impact of digitizing product dissection on engineering student learning and cognitive load. Specifically, we sought to identify the impact of Augmented Reality and Animations through a full factorial experiment with 61 engineering students. The results of the study show that the virtual condition with animation exhibited increased effectiveness as a learning tool. It also showed that augmented reality is not significantly different than a virtual environment in the context of product dissection. The results of this study are used to explore future uses of augmented reality and animation in education, as well as lay the groundwork for future work to further explore these technologies.

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