But what exactly is the Metaverse? According to eLearning Industry, “the metaverse refers to an online environment where Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) coexist. It provides a fresh digital world to collaborate, solve problems, and practice in, with an interactive engagement method.” We will talk about AR and VR later on, but for now, the key terms are: collaborate, solve problems, practice, and interactive engagement.
learning is a social process where collaboration is key to understanding new concepts by debating and working together with others while solving problems, practicing together, and having an interactive and engaging experience.
Why are these the key terms? Very simple because learning is a social process where collaboration is key to understanding new concepts by debating and working together with others while solving problems, practicing together, and having an interactive and engaging experience. Therefore, taking these crucial factors to a virtual environment where we can experience different events as if we were there, thanks to augmented and virtual reality, seems more than a fad. In this sense, at some point in the future, what has started with gaming and social media, could bring education to a whole new level.
Truly Immersive Learning Experience
Imagine you are an IB History teacher giving a lesson on the Titanic. You can create beautiful presentations using various online tools, find interviews, and even recruit experts in navigation and ships to talk about the factors that made the Titanic sink and its devastating consequences. Nevertheless, don’t you think it would be best if your students could relieve the magnificence of the Titanic itself, walk through its corridors, and see for themselves the iceberg that brought it to its demise? This is precisely where AR and VR give added value to the Metaverse and make it much more than the next Tik-Tok buzzword.
Virtual Reality (VR): In simple terms, VR creates a resemblance to our environment thanks to computer programming. Indeed, virtual reality can be the answer to complementing the school and college experience in online environments where there is no face-to-face contact with our peers by providing immersive experiences in 3D virtual classrooms. Moreover, this can be translated to the corporate world with 3D offices where employees can meet to discuss the latest training or where L&D departments can create virtual synchronous training sessions.
Augmented Reality (AR): AR brings together digital information with users’ real-time conditions, unlike VR, which is used to create an artificial environment. AR allows learners to submerge themselves in the subject matter, capturing their attention by enhancing different such as text, video, and audio in real-time.
The Metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way we teach and learn:
We are not saying that in-person learning environments are obsolete. But let’s be honest, in a tech-heavy world, people need to upskill according to the market’s demands, and the Metaverse can revolutionize how we share knowledge and acquire it. At some point in the future, we will probably even have the first Metaverse-based university where companies will enroll their employees to upskill and learn from the best of their industries worldwide.
according to research, immersive learning experiences can increase knowledge retention by up to 75%
Furthermore, according to research, immersive learning experiences can increase knowledge retention by up to 75%. We all know the advantage of explaining something only once to avoid wasting time and money.
From the learners’ perspective involving the Metaverse in education can radically change their experience by allowing them to train from anywhere in the world and learn the skills they need in practical and safe scenarios (think pilots or doctors) and constantly re-skilling in personalized learner-centered environments that take their weaknesses and strengths into account to create compelling learning experiences where they can be active participants, rather than passive consumers of information.
The next big thing or the newest fad?
There is no question that technology is constantly evolving, and hence we need to be prepared and open-minded for the changes to come if we want to stay relevant and continue growing in a world that doesn’t wait for anyone. However, it is a bit early to say whether the Metaverse will be the next big thing or simply a fad. After all, in the words of our CEO, the Metaverse may teach children to code, be creative thinkers, collaborate, and even manage money and friendships through gaming (with games such as Minecraft being introduced to K-12 education), yet “the lowest hanging fruit is through the inclusion of 3D avatars – but hold on to your money a little longer. Unless you are planning to be a Metaverse edtech, I wouldn’t build or buy my Metaverse just yet. I’d wait for more mature web 3.0 technologies and slightly more widespread adoption.” Even if, as she says, “It is my prediction that in the future, every single learning platform will be connected to a Metaverse.”
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