VocabulARy: learning vocabulary in AR supported by keyword visualizations

Anuradhi Maheshya Weerasinghe, Verena Biener, Jens Grubert, Aaron John Quigley, Alice Toniolo, Klen Copic Pucihar , Matjaz Kljun

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Learning vocabulary in a primary or secondary language is enhanced when we encounter words in context. This context can be afforded by the place or activity we are engaged with. Existing learning environments include formal learning, mnemonics, flashcards, use of a dictionary or thesaurus, all leading to practice with new words in context. In this work, we propose an enhancement to the language learning process by providing the user with words and learning tools in context, with VocabulARy. VocabulARy visually annotates objects in AR, in the user's surroundings, with the corresponding English (first language) and Japanese (second language) words to enhance the language learning process. In addition to the written and audio description of each word, we also present the user with a keyword and its visualisation to enhance memory retention. We evaluate our prototype by comparing it to an alternate AR system that does not show an additional visualisation of the keyword, and, also, we compare it to two non-AR systems on a tablet, one with and one without visualising the keyword. Our results indicate that AR outperforms the tablet system regarding immediate recall, mental effort and task-completion time. Additionally, the visualisation approach scored significantly higher than showing only the written keyword with respect to immediate and delayed recall and learning efficiency, mental effort and task-completion time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3748 - 3758
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number11
Early online date3 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • Augmented reality
  • Vocabulary learning
  • Keyword method
  • Contextual learning


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