Imagine you are attending a training program on leadership development. The session starts with you and your fellow participants logging into a virtual world. You find yourselves in a beautiful forest, where you are greeted by your facilitator. The group then sets off on a hike, discussing leadership principles as you go. As you walk, you come across different challenges that require you to put your leadership skills into practice. At the end of the learning and development session, you reflect on your experience with your fellow participants, and the facilitator provides feedback on your performance.
This is just one example of how the metaverse can be used for learning and development. I am sure you can imagine many other ways in which the metaverse could be used for training, coaching, and development.
As an exponent of the advancement of learning and development technology, I see the metaverse as a game-changer for our industry. Though the contours of its impact are still unclear, I believe that the metaverse will have a profound effect on how we design and deliver learning programs. More importantly, I am certain it will provide new opportunities for learner engagement and learning experiences.
What is metaverse?
The metaverse is a term used to describe the virtual world, where people can interact with each other in a 3D environment. It is also sometimes referred to as the ‘virtual reality web’ or the ‘3D internet’. In simple words, the metaverse is a shared, virtual space where people can interact with each other and with digital content.
It is often described as an “extension” of the real world, or as a parallel universe that coexists with our own. The metaverse is not a new concept. It was first described in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel Snow Crash, published in 1992. In the book, the metaverse is a computer-generated virtual world in which individuals interact with one another and digital things in 3D settings. While the metaverse may still be in the early stages of development, it holds tremendous potential for transforming the way we interact with each other and with the world around us. In the future, the metaverse could become an essential part of our lives, serving as a platform for work, play, and social interaction.
According to a report by Goldman Sachs, the metaverse is expected to generate $3 trillion in economic activity by 2030. This is a huge market opportunity, and it is no surprise that many companies are already exploring the metaverse.
For instance, Facebook has announced its plans to create a metaverse called Horizon. This is an ambitious project that will allow people to connect and explore digital things in a 3D setting. Facebook is not the only company exploring the metaverse. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon are also working on their versions of the metaverse.
The potential applications of the metaverse are endless. From gaming and social networking to e-commerce and education, the metaverse can be used for a wide range of purposes. It is also worth noting that the metaverse is not just for entertainment.
Take, for example, the way hospitals are using virtual reality to treat patients with anxiety disorders. Here, VR is used to create a simulated environment that allows patients to confront their fears in a safe and controlled setting. The doctors and nurses can then provide support and guidance to the patients as they work through their issues.
Another excellent example is Mesh from Microsoft. Mesh is a platform that allows users to collaborate and work on projects together in a virtual space. This is a great tool for businesses as it allows employees to work together on projects, even if they are located in different parts of the world.
E-learning companies and the metaverse.
E-learning companies are already beginning to explore the potential of the metaverse for their products and services. For example, Adobe has announced its plans to create a 3D version of its popular Creative Suite. This will allow users to work on projects together in a virtual space. Other companies are also exploring the potential of the metaverse for learning and development. IBM, for instance, has created a virtual reality training program for its employees. The program is designed to help employees learn new skills and improve their performance.
The immersive and interactive nature of the metaverse will provide learners with new and exciting ways to engage with content. In the past, most interactions have been based on text and audio. However, the metaverse will allow for more immersive and interactive experiences. People can also use avatars, or 3D representations of themselves, to interact with others in the virtual world. Avatars can be used for a variety of purposes, such as giving presentations or attending meetings.
The metaverse presents an excellent opportunity for the learning and development sector. It offers a new method for people to interact with material and experiences in new ways. Though it is still in its early stages, the metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn and develop new skills.
Challenges for learning in the metaverse
The transition to the metaverse will not be without its challenges. The most significant challenge will be ensuring that the content is appropriate for the new medium. For example, traditional e-learning material may not work well in a 3D environment. As such, e-learning companies should start experimenting with the new medium. To begin with, they can create prototypes and test them out with a small group of users. This will help e-learning companies to understand the potential of the metaverse and how it can be used to improve learning.
Making content engaging and immersive.
The games industry has been quick to embrace the potential of the metaverse. Understanding the way games are designed and created will help e-learning companies to create more immersive and interactive content. In addition, the gaming industry can also provide valuable insights into how to engage and motivate learners. The only precaution to be observed is that the experience does not become frivolous; instead, attention should be focused on how it may help with the development of new skills. For instance, games can be used to teach people about teamwork and collaboration – the side benefit being that they are also enjoyable.
Understanding immersive technologies.
To access the metaverse, we will need to use extended reality (XR) platforms such as Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Augmented Reality (AR). Each of these technologies offers a different way to experience the world.
Augmented Reality (AR):
This technology superimposes computer-generated images in the real world. For example, you might use AR to see a product in your home before you buy it. In the learning world, this could be used to provide learners with information about a topic. For example, if you were learning about the human body, AR could be used to show you the different organs and how they work together.
Virtual Reality (VR):
This technology creates a completely immersive experience. You are placed in a computer-generated world where you can interact with objects and people. This could be used to create simulations that allow learners to practice new skills. For example, if you were learning to drive a car, VR could be used to create a simulation of different driving conditions. This would allow you to practice your skills without putting yourself or others at risk.
Mixed Reality (MR):
This technology combines aspects of both AR and VR. It allows you to see computer-generated images in the real world and interact with them. This could be used to create simulations that are more realistic and lifelike.
Thus, to create immersive and interactive content, e-learning companies need to have a good understanding of these technologies.
Developing new skills.
The metaverse will require us to develop new skills. For example, we will need to learn how to create 3D content and how to design experiences that are engaging and immersive. In addition, we will need to learn how to use the new technologies that are required to access the metaverse. These skills can be developed through training and development programs. Alternatively, e-learning companies can partner with other organizations that have expertise in these areas.
Access and affordability
The metaverse will have limited accessibility for most people. This is because the hardware required to access it is expensive and not widely available. In addition, the software required to create experiences in the metaverse is also expensive. As such, e-learning companies need to be aware of these limitations when developing content for the metaverse.
The metaverse will also place demands on our cognitive resources. For example, we will need to process a lot of information to navigate through the different virtual spaces. This can lead to mental fatigue and can impact our ability to learn. As such, e-learning companies need to be aware of these limitations when developing content for the metaverse. For instance, keeping the lessons and activities short (<15 minutes), using simple language, and providing clear instructions can help to reduce the cognitive load on learners.
Getting started with the metaverse
To start using the metaverse for learning and development, e-learning companies need to understand the needs of their learners and identify the best way to meet those needs using the metaverse. Here, we will need to consider the following:
Step 1: What are the learning objectives?
“Learning in the metaverse” sounds trendy and exciting. However, as with all new technologies, a technological trend should not dictate your instructional design. Always start with the learning objectives. What do you want your learners to be able to do after completing the learning experience? Can the same experience be delivered without using the metaverse? If not, then and only then, should you consider using the metaverse.
Step 2: Choosing the content best suited to achieving those objectives?
As a general rule, the metaverse is best suited to content that is interactive and engaging. If your content is static and/or does not lend itself to interaction, then the metaverse is probably not the best delivery platform. You will have to access your existing content and decide how to repurpose it or create new content that is more suited to the metaverse. Most probably, you will need to do a bit of both.
Step 3: Designing learning content in the metaverse.
Developing content for the metaverse is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the technology and how it can be used to create engaging and immersive experiences. However, some basic ideas can guide you in the development of metaverse content. To get started, consider the following questions when designing new content.
- How will the content be presented?
- What learning modalities will be supported?
- What type of interactions will be used?
- How will learners navigate through the content?
- How will they receive feedback?
- What tools and technologies will be required to develop and deliver the content?
You’ll need to hire learning and development specialists who have previous experience developing immersive and interactive experiences. A typical team would include instructional designers, 3D artists, and software developers. Not to mention, subject matter experts to help with the content, mentoring, and support.
Step 4: Measuring the learning outcomes.
Finally, you need to consider how you will measure the learning outcomes. In the metaverse, learners can have a range of different experiences and interact with the content in different ways. As such, it can be difficult to determine how well learners have understood and retained the information. To measure the learning outcomes, you will need to consider how to track learner engagement and progress. This can be done through the use of data analytics. Data analytics can help you to understand how learners are interacting with the content and identify areas where they are struggling. This information can then be used to improve the learning experience.
With the metaverse, the sky’s the limit when it comes to possibilities for learning and development. While there are many challenges to be faced, the potential rewards are great. By understanding the nature of the metaverse and how to make use of it, the learning and development industry can create new and innovative ways to improve learning. Hence, it is important to start exploring the potential of the metaverse now so that e-learning companies can be prepared for the future. If you need any assistance in content development for your eLearning training programs, contact Learnsure Ai.