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The metaverse – is education being redesigned?

April 30, 2022

The metaverse is being built and its growing use represents huge opportunities. This topic is becoming more and more topical, since Facebook has created a parent company in the name of Meta and other giants in the field like Microsoft are following suit. What is important to remember is that the meta-verse is extremely promising for innovation and has an impact in various fields including education.

Before we go any further, can we start by understanding what the metaverse is?

The term metaverse was coined in 1992 by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson. In its use today, this concept could mean different things to different people. However, many mention the metaverse as the future of the Internet, a 3D virtual world where everyone will be able to interact through masks or other accessories capable of immersing humans in a universe parallel to the physical world, thus a digital world accessible through virtual and augmented reality that will resemble “a city, a country or even a country represented digitally and inhabited by avatorial residents.”

“Mirror World”, “Space Internet” and “AR Cloud” are other names used for the metaverse; the ones presented right now are just a sample of what is to come.

Is there really anything new for education and training in all this?

Several authors and actions demonstrate that yes, education and training are affected by the phenomenon and metaverse could be the best thing for students. According to the video, Metaverse as a gas pedal of academic change, we talk about change leading to seeing the whole world as a classroom.

As an advantage, it is noted that this technology allows to counter the difficulties encountered in synchronous courses, in relation to the lack of interactivity. The meta-verse allows for more interactions with immersive experiences that can make digital interactions more human for learners.

It is also found that those trained with this technology are more confident to act on what they have learned in training, which leads to improved learning with better knowledge transfer to the field. This could mean more successful learners and more effective training, including language training.

The metaverse also has the advantage of bridging the gap between training and the world of work, as learning with this medium can simulate anything in a 3D world. It can connect learners to the world, allowing the creation of training experiences in a rich variety of expertise.

There is also the possibility of replacing some written apprenticeships and exams with more real-world apprenticeships and exams without the dangerous consequences of the real world.

Avec le mWith the metaverse, social media platforms will be enhanced as a more immersive virtual environment, where there will be more virtual interaction, will be available. These platforms will have benefits for training.

What are or will be the challenges?

Despite the advantages of metavers just mentioned, this new technology comes with challenges and complications that will require solutions. First, there is a need for fast and reliable Internet connectivity worldwide for the implementation of metavers, which is currently not available. In addition to the speed of connectivity, the lack of interoperability is a challenge, as the solution is not complete as long as exchanges between platforms are not made with great ease.

In addition, there are already existing problems related to the Internet that may persist or even increase. Here we can talk about accessibility challenges for users with disabilities. We must also consider the risks related to privacy, data security, cyberbullying, cybercrime and also the inequalities related to access to technology that discriminate against those who do not have the means to acquire the necessary digital tools.

There is a risk for users, from a social and cultural point of view, to create new norms and customs of virtual life and thus harm interactions with the natural environment.

In addition, with this new technology comes even more targeted advertising to users with facial expression analysis, personalized store displays and more, leading to the risk of over-consumption by users.

In conclusion, will the disadvantages or challenges slow down or stop the development of this universe?

Despite the disadvantages and challenges, it would seem not, as several fields have already embarked on these changes. For example, in the field of health, Microsoft has organized augmented reality operations with its HoloLens 2 headsets, in collaboration with surgeons in several countries. The interest was mainly in training, especially for countries lacking certain medical expertise. We can say that the disadvantages and challenges that this technology represents are elements that will have to be adapted to, in order to allow full access and use of what the metaverse offers. The rest is to follow…