Interested in the Future of Learning? Try Metaverse for Education.
“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”
- Carl Rogers
My charter has recently evolved to include the Education industry. This news has been an absolute delight as I can now combine my passion for education, digital upskilling, and edtech, as well as my various social impact work in this space, with my official job. Coming from a family of educators, being an avid believer of education as the ultimate ‘magic wand’ to realize human potential, mothering a neurodiverse child; combined with decades’ involvement in various Education initiatives such as Board membership at Creative Education Trust, Alice Envisions the Future / Girls in AI hackathons, Microsoft DigiGirlz, and Imagine Cup Junior AI Bootcamps; have given me an invaluable opportunity to learn, experience, and contribute to this fascinating sector. Nonetheless, now that it is literally ‘paying the bills,’ I wanted to learn more about learning!
In the past year, I devoured countless books, podcasts, and interviews on the future of teaching and learning. I also had the privilege of attending leading global events such as ISTE, BETT, and the World Education Forum. As a technology enthusiast, my takeaway from this intense on-the-job ‘Bootcamp’ is that we have a game-changer in the making: Metaverse for Education.
But first, let me define what we mean by ‘Metaverse.’ There are many, many different definitions for Metaverse. For instance, Microsoft’s definition is “Metaverse is a set of technologies that allows for persistent, digital representations connected to aspects of the real world.” My simpler, personal one is that it is “3D Internet.”
And what about Metaverse for Education? According to Vantage Market Research, the global Metaverse in the Education market was valued at $4 Billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $32 Billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 40%:
No wonder the University of Tokyo opened its Metaverse School of Engineering earlier this year, as Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing region in this field. Nonetheless, Qatar University became the first university to join the Metaverse in July 2022. …and ten ‘Metaversities’ have launched in the U.S. this fall alone.
Leaving market numbers aside, we are observing massive (in some cases %300!) uplifts in learning outcomes with Metaverse. Why is this technology so powerful in teaching and learning? Metaverse enables education to be a collaborative, immersive, and interactive learning (and teaching) experience from anywhere, connected from any device.
Rather than me describing why Metaverse appeals to our learning buds so effectively, you could try it yourself from AltspaceVR or your TEAMS if you use one. If/Once you have had a chance to try it, you’ll probably have your own magical ‘aha’ moment and agree with the countless advantages of Metaverse for Education.
For me, the two most important ones are:
· “Show, don’t Tell”: Metaverse transforms learning into a more multisensory, interactive, and engaging experience. It enables fun and play as a natural element in the learning experience. This immersive experience and active contribution to learning move learners from passive, lean-back ‘listeners’ or ‘readers’ to active, lean-forward ‘participants.’ According to two studies by PWC and Saga University in Japan, this experience increases learners’ focus by 4–6x.
· Enhanced learning and teaching outcomes: Metaverse also empowers instructors to make the teaching process more inclusive, collaborative, and participatory, consequently significantly enhancing teaching and learning outcomes. We are seeing more than a %300 uplift in learning outcomes in our work with some of the medical schools in the U.S.
And why is this technology taking off so fast? My guess is it is because use cases in the metaverse span across learning AND playing. This is why millions, maybe billions of young digital citizens, are already familiar and comfortable with Metaverse. Simply put, all the same places most students and learners congregate in virtual space are access points to Metaverse experiences. While headset-enabled virtual reality is one way in, the 2D PC, smartphone, and tablet screens that already have broad use are also entry points to Metaverse experiences. And, of course, gaming platforms like consoles, PC, and mobile. Therefore, some experts view Minecraft as an Ultimate Metaverse Learning and Teaching Platform. According to Mohit Pandey, we have been in a natural transition first from Lego to Minecraft, and now from Minecraft to Metaverse.
We are at the beginning of a fascinating era for teaching and learning. As with any disruptive technology, we should embrace it, understand its capabilities and risks, and make the most of it to maximize our positive impact.
Speaking of risks, I cannot not mention the importance of operationalizing Responsible, Inclusive, and Equitable AI / AR / Metaverse, especially in the Education sector. As Temple University Psychology Professor and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow, Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, explains in the Bloomberg Edtech Series: Education in the Metaverse and her research A whole new world: Education meets the Metaverse, data privacy and security are top of mind, and trust is core to every element of teaching and learning in an inclusive, equitable digital learning environment.
If you’d like to learn more about Metaverse, here are some of my favorite sources:
Books & Articles:
- “Building the Metaverse,” Jon Radoff, 2021.
- “Value creation in the metaverse,” McKinsey, May 2022.
- The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything, Matthew Ball, July 2022.
- Marketing New Realities, Cathy Hackl, 2017.
- Infinite Reality, Blascovich & Bailenson, 2011.
Metaverse for Education Tools and Resources:
4. Merge Cube
Happy learning about the future of learning!