Using Augmented Reality Toward Improving Social Skills: Scoping Review

Gloria Mittmann, Vanessa Zehetner, Stefanie Hoehl, Beate Schrank, Adam Barnard, Kate Woodcock

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Review article

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Augmented reality (AR) has emerged as a promising technology in educational settings owing to its engaging nature. However, apart from applications aimed at the autism spectrum disorder population, the potential of AR in social-emotional learning has received less attention.

OBJECTIVE: This scoping review aims to map the range of AR applications that improve social skills and map the characteristics of such applications.

METHODS: In total, 2 independent researchers screened 2748 records derived from 3 databases in December 2021-PubMed, IEEE Xplore, and ACM Guide to Computing Literature. In addition, the reference lists of all the included records and existing reviews were screened. Records that had developed a prototype with the main outcome of improving social skills were included in the scoping review. Included records were narratively described for their content regarding AR and social skills, their target populations, and their outcomes. Evaluation studies were assessed for methodological quality.

RESULTS: A total of 17 records met the inclusion criteria for this study. Overall, 10 records describe applications for children with autism, primarily teaching about reading emotions in facial expressions; 7 records describe applications for a general population, targeting both children and adults, with a diverse range of outcome goals. The methodological quality of evaluation studies was found to be weak.

CONCLUSIONS: Most applications are designed to be used alone, although AR is well suited to facilitating real-world interactions during a digital experience, including interactions with other people. Therefore, future AR applications could endorse social skills in a general population in more complex group settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere42117
Pages (from-to)e42117
JournalJMIR Serious Games
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2023


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