Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality have taken over various business domains. The need for feeling, learning and experiencing without being present in the practical world has multiplied. The Covid-19 pandemic put further restriction on movements and pushed most businesses to transform their working model and move towards the virtual reality.
However, for some sectors this ‘digital shift’ wasn’t easy. The education sector is one of them. Restrictions and lockdowns during the pandemic made teaching and learning an arduous task for many.
But, thanks to technology, we now have the metaverse, a world where one can live, learn, study and interact in a 3D simulated environment wearing virtual reality goggles.
Sensing the need to make a major shift in all aspects owing to its work nature, educational institutions and edtech companies are integrating education with the metaverse to remove the distance and physical barrier from learning and make it more immersive and interactive.
How is the metaverse changing education?
The metaverse has grabbed the attention of top industrial honchos, as learning through the metaverse provides a gamified learning experience and constant access to study material for students.
The edtech market is one of the fastest growing of its kind. According to Future Market Insights’ recent study, revenues of the edtech market are expected to surpass $288.4Bn by the end of 2031 at a staggering 14.5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate). Top tech companies are investing in the edtech market to gain early mover advantage and promote learning through the metaverse.
For instance, Facebook Reality labs will be investing $150m for educational programs to improvise training and tech development. The company is partnering with Coursera and EdX for leveraging learning by offering the Spark AR curriculum of META that will use virtual reality and augmentation.
Similarly, Microsoft launched Microsoft Mesh in 2021. Through Mesh, the company is promoting the adoption of metaverse by offering it to educational institutions and edtech sectors.
Edtech companies can integrate the metaverse with their existing model and interact with each other through 3D avatars. In addition, the company has provided two fascinating options for students to accelerate learning. Students possessing Microsoft Holo-lens smart glasses can easily be a part of the metaverse, and the ones who do not possess the goggles can access the metaverse through the Microsoft teams’ grid instead.
Components of the metaverse that can be used in edtech
The metaverse is an amalgamation of three important components: artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Virtual reality: Virtual reality, known as VR, has already changed the entire gaming experience. Edtech companies are looking to provide a similar digital experience by integrating virtual reality with gamified learning modules. As per Future Market Insights’ report on gamification in the education market, by transforming the learning environment in classroom, the market will reach the valuation of $2Bn by 2031.
VR helps students answer questions through playing games, and in turn, offers rewards. Moreover, VR is a blessing in the metaverse for learners with special needs and for learners with disabilities. With the help of VR, learners with special needs can travel to new surroundings that would otherwise make them anxious. In addition, the integration of virtual reality in metaverse helps students learn important life skills by emphasising on specific points until the learners gain confidence.
Augmented reality: The famous game Pokémon Go provided us with a glimpse of how we can successfully integrate augmented reality in our lives. The game allowed users to remain in the present world while finding Pokémon within augmented reality.
Metaverse companies are implanting the same technique to make learning interesting. Through the use of augmented reality, learners can scan pages of their textbooks to understand the topic better, schools can design interesting magazines that can highlight school activities, and students who are deaf and mute can leverage the use of augmented reality by displaying tech driven flashcards.
Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence, or AI, not only enhances the learning experience but also reduces the burden of the teachers. With the help of AI, students can access questions on the specific topics they have studied. In addition, AI helps in assessing and evaluating learning and possesses the ability to grade learners without the help of the teacher.
The metaverse is integrated with artificial intelligence and machine learning. This helps students to ask questions and to gather information at any given time. Furthermore, it understands queries and provides answers for multiple questions at the same time.
How is the metaverse simplifying complex topics?
The need for learning complex topics not only through the medium of texts and diagrams but also practically is increasing the dependency on technology. Thus, with the help of metaverse, it is possible to learn astrophysics and study planets and the galaxy from a closer lens. The metaverse has the ability to create periods from history that consist of different civilisations and lifestyles. Through this, students will be able to learn about the past by simply putting on their virtual reality goggles in the present.
The metaverse is here to stay, and provides an immersive learning experience for its user. By integrating the metaverse with education, learners can become part of various periodic times where they will have a virtual avatar. For a more real time experience, companies are designing virtual avatars by which learners can modify their avatar with the surroundings they are in and the subject they are learning.
The future of the metaverse in education
Although the metaverse is still at a nascent stage of evolution, edtech companies are looking forward to improve the learning experience by creating different worlds that help learners to have a better idea of specific subjects. Moving forward, the metaverse is hinting at the possibility of allowing learners to create their own worlds where they can share their experience with fellow learners.
The metaverse is keeping the approach simple. It is augmenting the traditional method of learning by integrating technology and making learning simple by providing real time experience.
Moreover, the metaverse is making learning easy by offering tools that help students to learn, understand and implement knowledge easily.
In addition, the metaverse does not ditch the idea of learning in the presence of a teacher. In fact, it believes in the teacher being a core supporter of teaching, learning and education. Thus, the metaverse in education covers a wide range of learning, from being present in a virtual world to being present in the walls of the classroom. Owing to the integration of the metaverse, the future of education looks more fascinating and brighter than ever.
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