In the Special Region of Yogyakarta, an autonomous region of the island of Java in Indonesia, the TALE 2019 conference – discussing technologies for learning, teaching and assessment in engineering – was the stage for the presentation of two PAL research papers, one first authored by Will Guest and another by Josh Secretan. Will presented these papers on an AR architectural framework and on learning analytics in AR, respectively.

The conference is the IEEE Education Society’s flagship event for the Asia-Pacific region and, with it’s awe-inspiring views of Mount Merapi and proximity to Borobodur, offered a spectacular location for researchers, technologists and educators to come together to collectively construct a vision for this fast moving field. Keynote speakers travelled from around the globe (from Norway to Japan and California) and we were treated to many local delights, included a variety of dances and mouth-watering local cuisine.

The XR special track was a lively session that saw AR and VR being used for the civil engineering industry, the visualisation of crystalline structures and making a children’s museum come alive. The two papers from our lab were on Architecture and Design Patterns for Distributed, Scalable Augmented Reality and Wearable Technology Systems, offering a practical guide and detailed example for those wishing to develop augmented reality systems that also include wearable component, cloud services and machine learning tools. The second paper, entitled Learning Analytics in Augmented Reality, demonstrated how xAPI can be used to efficiently extract performance metric from AR-enhanced tasks, using the role of stage technician as a working example. Both are available online as open access.

Will found at this conference an impressive mix of solidly future-focused technical work, balanced by a deep appreciation for the pragmatic and human-centred nature of teaching and learning. The vibrant (and exceptionally well-catered) venue together with all the hospitality one could wish for gave new energy to the conversation and discussions, leaving an impression, he says, that will stay with him for years to come, not to mention some new friends.