Metaverse – a place for education and training
Imagine a school class being taught a math lesson in the Metaverse. Or perhaps your new job’s onboarding training takes place in the same sphere. Instead of going to school or to the office, you put on your virtual reality glasses and enter a room filled with kids or colleagues from all around the world. Is this scenario as distant from reality as it appears? In this article, we will explore the possibilities of the Metaverse in the education sector as this becomes highly relevant for industry companies such as Bosch due to cost savings, rising efficiency and employee engagement.
The technological conditions and basis have already been established. According to a BCG study, the Metaverse already had 300 to 500 million active users in 2021, and counting. This includes 30 million installed headsets and 800 million mobile AR users, resulting in a 16 billion dollar market of hardware, software, and advertising (BCG, 2022). Although the general population does not have the required equipment at hand right now, the situation is feasible or at least imaginable.
Learning and training in the Metaverse
While the Metaverse has several applications like entertainment, gaming, socializing, learning, and working, this article focuses on the Metaverse’s learning and training opportunities. Education in the Metaverse opens a universe of possibilities and is projected to be worth 270 billion dollars by 2030 (McKinsey & Company, 2022). It can boost learning motivation, personalize learning, broaden IT knowledge, improve visualization of learning materials, and enable location-independent collaboration. The Metaverse rids itself of geographical boundaries, resulting in a broad scope of applications.
A good example of Metaverse education is in healthcare, where medical staff can be trained and gain practical experience. Healthcare workers, for instance, can practice sophisticated surgery and first aid in a secure setting. Another very important area is higher education and schooling. With the help of the Metaverse, hands-on education will become possible in the long run. Technology experts believe that immersive classroom experiences will be an important part of the curriculum and university of the future. Industrial staff will hopefully also profit from the Metaverse.
Next-gen industrial onboarding
Onboarding new employees in production factories is a difficult task as it can be dangerous for inexperienced people. Thanks to the Metaverse, workers can undertake relevant training in a secure setting and simulate manufacturing processes. This allows for a more immersive and interactive onboarding experience. Virtual environments and simulations make it possible to apply skills in the realistic setting of a production facility. Associates can retain information or acquire new skills faster through hands-on experience. The training offer itself is scalable and customizable: many associates can join simultaneously at any time from any location.
Moreover, the virtual environment or simulation can be adapted according to every company’s needs, and it can be continuously improved over time. This way, training associates and simulating manufacturing processes in the Metaverse can lead to a more skilled workforce and a more efficient, interactive, and cost-effective way of training, since physical training materials and travel expenses become a thing of the past.
Education for everyone?
Can Metaverse education replace on-site education and training? A good question! The Metaverse enables remote teaching, which leads to an immersive, experimental, and interactive learning experience for students and associates. Moreover, this interactive method of learning is more enjoyable and might increase motivation to study. Access to education is another crucial feature. Just imagine being able to listen to a lecture by a renowned scientist without having to travel or even leave your home. The Metaverse enables users to learn from whichever expert at whichever time they choose.
While the Metaverse offers afore unknown opportunities, it is important to check technical and moral impediments. Unfortunately, issues with privacy policies, network security, copyrights, digital citizenship, netiquettes, and approved use policies arise frequently. Furthermore, the Metaverse risks to bear a generation of students and/or associates that is becoming increasingly detached from the physical world. As a result, they are less likely to leave the house and might have fewer (real) social contacts.
The Metaverse – a place worth exploring
The Metaverse may be a place for the future of education. It definitely improves access to education. Unfortunately, there are still some obstacles that need to be overcome so that everyone can benefit from this opportunity. One of them includes making the Metaverse secure and protecting it against cyber attacks. But surely the major hurdle is that the technological basis and the hardware would have to be made accessible to everyone by default. Nevertheless, the Metaverse is a place worth exploring – it offers many opportunities, including more quantitative and qualitative education for everyone.
BCG (2022): “The Corporate Hitchiker’s Guide to the Metaverse”; https://www.bcg.com/publications/2022/a-corporate-guide-to-enter-the-metaverse-explained
McKinsey & Company (2022): “Value creation
in the metaverse”; https://www.mckinsey.de/capabilities/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/value-creation-in-the-metaverse