How will we train and learn in Metaverse in the future? What new opportunities does new technology bring us?
TLDR; a lot – to the point where Metaverse changes many ways in learning & education and how we practice on physical and digital world.
With metaverse and virtual reality, you can have much more training and rehearsals beyond than is possible on the real-world side. This is has been happening for a long time already, for example, in pilot training, where the simulator is used a lot to bring experience in addition to the actual flight hours. The same is being applied to multiple training scenarios already today and will expand to many other learning and qualifications – the environment is just an immersive Metaverse instead of a highly customized simulator. For example you could learn and rehearse first in Metaverse without the customized, and expensive, simulator and then move to that simulator before finally taking final training in the actual, physical, plane. It is much more agile to make Metaverse environment to guide the user with instructions (or instructor avatar – real person or a computer guide!) than go and apply changes to customized simulator and this is one of reasons why Metaverse adds much value there – on top of location: you don’t have to go to the sim to rehearse inside the Metaverse. Just put on your headset and controls and log in to begin.
In a virtual environment, you can explore buildings, process stages, repairs, emergencies, tasks or situations in advance, and these exercises can reduce the time required for training on the real world side. In addition, the training environment can be duplicated, stored and thus developed for learning & scaled – and in addition, there may be participants in the same virtual learning environment from all over Finland.. Or from anywhere in the world. I see a big value by bringing in virtual instructors (“bots” with avatars) who can guide and give feedback on your performance as well.
Immersive learning beyond the real world limits
The Metaverse also brings new opportunities to learn and look at things from a new perspective, which is not possible in the real world: explore spacewalking, take a quick space flight through the solar system, take a walk on different planets or fly around Saturn, while learning about their details and curiosities, studying distant galaxies or diving into the micro-world to study bacteria, cell or even atomic activity. Planning surgery or even practicing an operation in advance is already possible with HoloLens, and the actual surgery can be assisted by bringing a plan and 3D imaging of the patient to the surgery with augmented reality.
Virtual learning isn’t something new, but Metaverse and its increasing use will also mean that such environments will be used even more in learning and education. This is not a utopia in any way, for example the Turku University Of Applied Sciences has already a training application that can be used to complete a forklift driving license – location independently (article is in Finnish). How about practicing specific ship maneuvers and being able to see the situation from different angles (just think how augment reality or Hololenses could help to steer a ship in difficult situations) or using real world findings to help new store managers understand their customer behaviors.
Metaverse is an excellent place to practice encountering people and responding to different social situations – in a completely different way than a 2D meeting gives. The Avatar can also make it easier for people to throw themselves into different roles and lower the threshold for taking a more active part than would happen in a real-world classroom. The environment and encounter can reflect reality when you practice your managerial, customer service or salesperson skills.
Technology is evolving rapidly and the controls are getting new features like haptic (touch) feedback – allowing the user to feel like they are actually touching an object or another person in virtual reality. One example of this is the upcoming Playstation VR2, where both virtual glasses and controllers have a haptic equivalent. Such opportunities bring a lot of new dimensions to a wide range of exercises, even if you don’t go into haptic gloves or clothes. I have no doubt that these features will come to the next generation of VR/XR devices as standard. Even without haptic feedback the immersion can make people “feel” they are touching holograms – read ahow Microsoft Mixed Reality studios explored more immersive interactions.
Oculus’ website contains various case study examples of how the use of VR has helped companies and how it has benefited education. There are quite a few examples of these and directions on how VR and Metaverse change learning and education.
Boeing , for example, believes that using VR and Microsoft’s Hololens , it is possible to deduct up to 75% of the time needed for training.
It is also good to think about it from a concrete point of view: is It possible to implement online and hybrid courses better with Metaverse ? How can we get people from the real education classroom in Helsinki on an equal footing, as well as online participants? If the instructor is using a VR headset is there enough presence for people in the room? If they are not – are they neglecting online attendees? Perhaps they will be using AR (such as Hololens technology) to be present on both. How attendees will be able to interact and feel they are in the training together – and benefit from social learning as well? This aspect is very different currently in 2D online trainings than what’s happening with the group in the classroom: and this challenge is what Metaverse will be tackling down. When the new learning future is reality it also means we could scale out trainings from a single country to global level – and still keep using our native language and make the group feel they are in the training together. Yes, native language since I see inclusion a big key for making Metaverse a success: automatic translations – at least on live captions level or computer speaking live audio captions for those with issues reading captions.
A more versatile environment in Metaverse enables the students to feel they are in it together (opposed to current 2D meetings ) and provides also a framework for more interactive learning. It is possible for the instructor / teacher to use more versatile methods in teaching, which contributes to activating participants. Learning becomes more meaningful and gives you also better results and there is also an option to get more help from AI (“extra teacher or guide to help out). Examples of methods include 3D models brought into the space, network diagrams and content-clarifying objects, as well as new types of groupwork and exercises in which course participants receive more effective information about the points they want. And let’s not forget embedded “tooltips”, live translations and visual guides either.
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