In a Nutshell…
Kwang Hyung Lee from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology says, “the universities best equipped with digital infrastructure and savvy human resources will emerge as the new leaders − no matter where they are."
Let's dive into the educational metaverse and see what the future holds for universities, schools, and digital academic spaces.
It's no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the education sector. Statistics reveal that roughly 1.6 billion students from 192 countries have experienced educational disruption since the pandemic.
The upside of the disruption led to the emergence of many different forms of online educational experiences. Nevertheless, roughly 29% of students worldwide don't have access to the internet, which restricts their ability to learn and develop. This lack of infrastructure demonstrates that the digital divide is growing at a pace that far outweighs growth.
An opportunity to ensure the integration of new and emerging technologies for many, online delivery of learning and discovery will be a vital element of education. Inclusive actions such as these will ensure pedagogical solutions that are more creative, valuable, and driven by innovation.
There's still a lot of work to be done in online educational tool development. For example, online tools that facilitate scientific experiments or prototyping for engineering are just a few areas that continue to be challenging. However, emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), image tracking, and eye-tracking technologies are expanding our minds and helping us tackle these obstacles. These combined technologies enhance student learning and engagement by transforming how academic content is communicated. In this regard, the metaverse is an academic tool that motivates students to learn through immersion. It requires less cognitive load to process information, increasing the information retention rate.
There are specific barriers to the innovative educational experiences emerging from the metaverse. But, through hard work and creativity, we can band together to positively disrupt these obstructions on a global scale to foster growth with inclusivity in mind. In the future, students will select universities with diversity and inclusivity built into their metaverse experiences. The most significant factors that education will adapt to in the future are rising internet adoption, innovative technology, increased distributed living and learning, and a focus on gamification problem-solving.
It’s an exciting time for universities worldwide to start researching, building, and investing in developing their own metaverse educational experiences. A big part will be investing in innovation-led tools that encourage new approaches to our current problems. Doing so will enable universities, schools, and educational institutions to lead the way and build contemporary virtual campuses that grow and evolve as new technologies emerge.
The race is on for universities to build their distinctive and competitive presence in the metaverse that is both attainable and feasible for conducive educational experiences. These new virtual campuses must be fit for purpose and facilitate human interaction and diverse, specialized technological experiences that promote creativity and collaboration. We suspect that the universities with ample digital infrastructure will emerge as the new authorities on future educational experiences. Institutions that don't keep up with the rate of innovation are at risk of being left behind.
That being said, for this to work, we must ensure that universities are supported by the communities they serve and are places of inclusivity for all. The only way to build a better, more immersive metaverse educational experience for everyone is to make sure that breakthroughs in technology are used to benefit as many people as possible. This means that the private and public sectors should unite to create more inclusive learning opportunities for everyone and help ensure that we have future-proof frameworks that enhance resilience against societal upheavals—such as a global pandemic. Only then will digital disruption create new technologies that reshape the future of education for all.
To bring to fruition the academic meta-environments of tomorrow, Multiverse Labs is working hard to build the first metaverse virtual college campus in partnership with Aventis Graduate School and Smobler Studios.
Aventis, a Singaporean private education provider founded in 2007, aims to be the first open-metaverse graduate school in Asia once preparations take hold at the end of this year. We've entered a three-year agreement with Aventis and Smobler, where we'll work to support the Aventis Metaverse roadmap by cultivating physical and digital hybrid environments that facilitate quality educational experiences, networking, global executive conferences, and advanced management programs.
Students can enter a fully-functional, virtual 3D environment via virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) wearables that will reinvent e-learning experiences free of geographical limitations.
Our recent press release sets out the basis on which the collaboration rests: "The decision made by all parties involved to execute a MOU is based on their intent to collaborate on blockchain-based business opportunities by leveraging Aventis’ network of senior executives and prominent university brands, Multiverse Labs’ superior photorealistic technology, and Smobler’s design expertise in the open metaverse."
This exciting initiative is expected to be the first of many projects laid out in the Aventis metaverse roadmap, which will offer online courses such as data analytics and marketing to graduate students and senior executives. With the completion of a state-of-the-art virtual campus, Aventis will have the capacity to enroll over 60,000 students and provide them with an around-the-clock educational experience.
Multiverse will be crucial in helping Aventis design and deliver a college campus that facilitates the highest education-conducive environments. In unison with Smobler's expertise in graphic design, Multiverse will help build and shape Aventis' e-learning environments, ensuring we carve out and cultivate space for their campus to thrive in our metaverse. Multiverse is passionate about creating spaces that nurture academic minds and encourage excellence in those who frequent our worlds.
The Aventis metaverse roadmap plans to provide the rapidly-growing region of Southeast Asia with advanced virtual courses that guide graduate and executive learners on the path toward higher education. "Having a metaverse is not just gamification. It is about providing social and economic access and the ability to grow." shares Cindy New, company director of Multiverse Labs. Aventis metaverse is expected to begin onboarding new students and existing alumni by the third quarter of 2022.
Like the above scenarios, metaverse virtual reality applications in universities and schools provide several benefits over traditional models. Roblox is an example of a current metaverse learning experience, although it’s still very primitive in nature. This is mainly because metaverse environments shouldn't be limited to a single graphical style. Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft all have animated cartoon-like graphics that could distract students and detract from the overall learning experience.
The overarching objective here would be to create a photorealistic environment that mirrors the real world in order to captivate students and keep them interested. Metaverse locations can even replicate the real world and immerse students in stunning graphical interfaces that are both interactive and true to life. Putting visual immersion to one side, the metaverse is a way to bridge the gap between physical interactions. Virtual reality (VR) headsets are being redesigned with learning and education in mind. Newer models boast a more comfortable fit and can even replicate the movements of hands and fingers while students are using the equipment.
This enables teachers to design their own learning experiences that can utilize nuanced hand movements. A brilliant use case for this immersive technology is teaching children how to write or even teaching sign language. Research suggests that teaching in this way allows students to develop muscle memory. When they are out of the virtual environment, they will intuitively remember what they were taught in-verse, and reliving learned experiences won't feel any different.
Lastly, learning experiences in the metaverse can improve and expand safety in ways that far outweigh real-world comparisons. The metaverse gives teachers overarching control over student interactions and can curb bullying or provide disciplinary actions by altering permissions in virtual learning spaces. This will allow students to develop their knowledge base and skills much faster without the distractions that are so apparent in the real world.
The use of virtual reality (VR) in educational environments has many benefits, especially how it relates to the social aspects of institutional studies. Remote learning is a growing issue right now, with the World Economic Forum stating in a recent report that online course registrations were at an all-time high of 92 million in 2021. Regardless of the surge in popularity of online studies, Ofqual reported that learning in online environments needs to be improved to deliver the same level of comprehension as traditional in-class study.
This opens up a chance for the metaverse to drastically improve online learning environments by developing its creative and social components. The goal here is to make the metaverse the default choice for future learning experiences by positively changing how students learn and interact from the ground up. While virtual reality (VR) has made significant progress in the last few years, there's still a long road ahead before the technology is fully available and functional as it relates to future learning experiences. For example, having an advanced range of motion for online learning will compel students and make them feel more engaged with their surroundings.
The objective here is to offer an experience that simulates in-person learning in a virtual environment. The endless possibilities associated with metaverse learning open the door for new techniques and tools to be utilized, changing the way we learn and develop our skill sets forever. Persistent alternate realities are another burgeoning technology making waves for its potential use cases in the education sector.
Let's take a moment to envision a virtual classroom of the future, full of students from around the world eager to learn. The metaverse enables students and teachers to interact and meet, regardless of location.
Teachers can travel and participate in new cultural and learning experiences that both enlighten and inspire students. In this sense, teaching will become more of a shared adventure that will help students broaden their scope and understanding of a wide range of subjects through virtual immersion. They can then pass newly discovered and experienced information onto students, which is the definition of out-of-the-box future learning.
Imagine a learning environment where teachers can remove chairs and desks in an instance to make way for virtual recreation of a historical landmark or a prehistoric geographic landmass such as Pangea. Such simulations will enable students to explore openly and support inquisitive minds by actively encouraging questions with first-hand experiences. With this technology, the days of sterile classrooms will be a thing of the past. Students will instead look to the virtual realm to excite, fascinate and captivate.
If you enjoyed this piece, check out our article ‘Challenging The 6 Most Common Misconceptions About The Metaverse’. We clear up some pertinent misconceptions and unravel the preconceived ideas of what the metaverse is and its future potential—or lack thereof.