The metaverse is currently the topic of intense conversation. This is a rare chance for the developing world to move ahead of outdated eLearning programs and into an environment where fresh experiential learning opportunities are available constantly.
Since the late 1990s PC internet boom that gave birth to eLearning, the education sector has advanced significantly. Microlearning was introduced by the second wave of mobile computing and social networking sites through shorter, video-based learning on demand. Now, according to industry observers, the third computing era has arrived. A metaverse of digital 3D areas where we communicate as lifelike avatars will take the place of flat, static pages on PCs and mobile devices.
You’re never alone in the metaverse, an embodied internet. The metaverse is “always on” and allows for social interactions with peers, unlike a Zoom call that is planned and ends when you’re done. This change has significant effects on developing skills and learning.
A Different Approach to Education
The gateway to metaverse learning is the latest offering of virtual reality (VR) headsets. VR headsets immerse the senses and provide an unparalleled sense of physical presence. Users can freely roam around a 3D scene and interact with the surroundings with their hands, exactly like they would in real life. VR technology has developed to the point that it is no longer included in Gartner’s hype cycle and is becoming sufficiently accessible (around $300) to close global capability gaps. Even single-player sessions don’t require an internet connection.
VR activates the motor center of the brain and develops muscle memory. VR could educate anyone, from agricultural skills to fire fighting, in the same way, that a flight simulator trains pilots for emergency landings. Spatial training, such as using the hands and body for tasks that are too risky, expensive, inconvenient, or just impossible to practice in real life, is one skill that plays to the particular strengths of the metaverse. Other examples include creating and then practicing in safe and controlled environment scenarios for typical to atypical operations, emergency response, difficult work environments, crucial procedures, and high consequence occurrences.
Six Ways the Metaverse Could Improve Education and Capability Development
1. Connect and Learn on A Realistic Virtual Campus
Learning had already started to shift from traditional classroom settings too much more virtual and blended ones before and during COVID-19. Through the use of virtual reality (VR) goggles, students can enter a virtual campus or institution to learn, explore, and mingle. For instance, in this virtual environment, students can explore various learning pods, go to libraries and breakout spaces, meet coaches and counselors, and socialize with peers.
By bringing people from diverse economic origins and geographically distant regions together to study in a more efficient, adaptable, and time-efficient manner, these digital experiences have the potential to really democratize education. For instance, the Kenya-KAIST virtual campus, which will open in September 2023 and be 60 kilometers from Nairobi, the nation’s capital, will enable the institution to expand its reach across continents and enable students to study together on cutting-edge subjects without having to travel outside of their home countries.
2. Improve Real-World Expertise in Hybrid and Virtual Situations
The metaverse offers an opportunity for immersive, embodied skill development using real-world events and high-stress situations, where mistakes can be made without repercussions. When done correctly, it blends spatial design, data analytics, and VR to increase learner confidence, engagement, and application. The following are some advantages of metaverse training:
Learning From Experience
Pharmaceutical industry giant Novartis uses a realistic, multiplayer VR simulation to teach life-saving lab techniques. Students enter a virtual lab where they can communicate with teachers while practicing welding tubes, taking off bag caps, and labeling bags with unlimited redos.
In the metaverse, learners can practice concepts in a variety of ways to hone skills through intense practice and feedback loops. Any time the game Spark City is played at Walmart, something new happens. Players are required to seek for assistance when customers are within 10 feet, but not before taking care of spillage and other safety issues.
3. Investigate Various Worlds via Storytelling and Visualisation
After the abundance of dull Zoom encounters during COVID-19, the two defining characteristics of a metaverse learning experience—visualization and storytelling—are urgently needed now. Learners can enter a completely different environment or put themselves in another person’s shoes with VR technology. For instance, DaVita, a pioneer in health care, uses an engaging, multi-sensory first-person story to foster patient empathy.
Entering meta worlds makes it easier to visualize scenarios, such as difficult development problems. For instance, a learner can live living in a clean Smart City or analyze the evolution of a South Asian street using a VR headset. Learners “enter” important global development concerns, such as climate change, education, gender, urban development, international trade, and public health, through bite-sized 360-degree storytelling, virtual tours, and visualizations.
4. Increase Human Talents in Social or Challenging Circumstances
Training employees in soft skills like leadership, listening, communication, and empathy is challenging to accomplish and assess. The metaverse makes this possible by immersing students in actual situations and allowing them to practice their soft skills in a secure setting, such as having delicate or challenging interactions with coworkers or clients.
5. Make Facilities More Accessible to Those With Disabilities
The metaverse has the potential to increase disabled people’s access to social and educational opportunities. An immersive environment, such as going to a mall or grocery store, stacking products at a store, or putting things into a truck, for instance, gives young adults with special needs, autism, and social interaction challenges the chance to develop their interpersonal and employment skills. Through VR apps, individuals may communicate with others and practice skills in a secure setting without worrying or feeling overwhelmed.
6. Increase Learning Performance Data Collection
Organizations can gather previously untapped data to obtain insights into student behavior to measure progress, discover gaps, and keep improving the learning experience by using the metaverse to build immersive learning experiences. Usage, productivity, attention and engagement, sentiment, and predictive analysis are all pertinent data on learner behavior. Additionally, teachers can take a more active part in data collection and lesson analysis on the efficiency of these environments for learning.