This research examines the benefits and challenges associated with largely self-guided learning as a method for encouraging students to deepen their understanding of sustainable building design principles. This work builds off of prior work related to this topic in which first-year architectural engineering students were tasked with redesigning an existing curtain wall design to make the building perform more sustainably. In this follow-up research, students were given a list of several possible building materials to be used on a curtain wall design and several photographs of the existing building with the curtain wall digitally removed and also with it faded in the images so that students could document their ideas on the photos in the context of the surrounding built space. Pre-tests and post-tests, reflection questions, and focus group assessments were used to better understand the implications of this activity. It was found that, while students' understanding of sustainable building topics was not significantly enhanced from this activity, they did show improvement in the design processes that were employed as compared to the prior work where the additional materials and provided photographs were not included. The students who participated in this activity experimented with creating more design iterations as compared to prior students who were not given the images and material list to guide their decisions. The designs submitted by students during this activity were also more focused on the building element in question and did not deviate to other building elements as often. The findings from this work will serve as a point of comparison for future efforts related to better understanding the educational value of augmented reality technology in improving sustainable design skills in first year engineering students.