Imagine walking into a classroom. The teacher hands you a document with the homework you need to get done. You step out and meet a classmate, who discusses the previous week’s assignment. Then you walk together to the AV room, and watch a video.
Now imagine that you did this, not in-person, but as an avatar in an immersive 3D environment. You just experienced the metaverse in education.
Metaverse: The next internet paradigm
The metaverse is the future of the internet. While the internet today has built in elements of interactivity and collaboration, the way we interact with the internet is entirely in 2D.
The metaverse is a new approach to interacting with the internet in 3D, where instead of navigating a website by clicking on links, users can explore a virtual environment by moving through it in the form of an avatar.
The metaverse is often treated as synonymous with Web 3.0, which is a parallel new approach to the internet. However, while Web 3.0 focuses on decentralization of data and ownership on the internet, the metaverse is a new approach to the way we interact with the internet
Entering the metaverse
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘metaverse’?
Many of us think it’s all about VR headsets that power realistic virtual walkthroughs and experiences. Another common picture many of us have in our minds when we think of the metaverse is gaming – games like Minecraft or Roblox where your avatar explores, creates, collaborates and lives in exciting virtual worlds.
These are indeed both valid examples of the metaverse in action, and yet fall far short of capturing the scope of applications that it can fulfill. The metaverse does not by definition require VR headsets or other specialized hardware – they add to the depth of immersion you experience, but you can navigate a virtual environment just as well with your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Similarly, yes, games are a popular application of the concept of the metaverse today, but you could look at such games as almost a proof-of-concept of the enormous possibilities that the metaverse presents.
We believe one of the earliest and most cogent definitions of the metaverse is the most appropriate one – the ability to navigate the internet through rich, immersive 3D environments.
What this means is that the metaverse is the means of engaging your audience. The end goal is something your business needs to define, and craft your metaverse accordingly. There’s no doubt that the metaverse is suddenly hot, but it’s important to understand what it is, how to use and under what circumstances.
The metaverse in education
Immersion in an online classroom environment makes e-learning more efficient and effective, and improves online learning outcomes. Users can interact with elements that are not directly part of the learning process. This creates the experience of a living, breathing world.
Such immersion in metaverse learning is a strong differentiator since it holds the learner’s attention and does away with distractions. Immersive e-learning therefore becomes a value proposition in itself.
Which would you prefer? To play an immersive 3D simulation game, learning on the way? Or to learn from textbooks, documents or PPTs? All simulation training can be transformed into immersive, gamified 3D learning experiences, and that’s the new world that metaverse learning offers to the education domain.
Stay tuned for the second article in this series, where we go into more detail on the applications of metaverse learning, and why it is so relevant today.
And, of course, if you would like to know more about how the immersive environments of the metaverse in education could be applied to your e-learning needs, we’d love to talk!
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