There has been a lot of discussions recently over the advancements in the sphere of Web3.0 (which should be distinguished from Web3) and the Metaverse (not to be confused with the company Meta). Matthew Ball, Cathy Hackl, and many others have both done a wonderful job of detailing what the Metaverse should be and some of the impacts upon society.
Yet, there hasn’t been a lot of discussion on what learning will look like as we move towards this exciting next phase of the internet. I was recently interviewed on the Peggy Smedley podcast where we had a wonderful discussion of how the next generation of the web will impact learning. There are many futurists discussing the business and social implications, but only a few have focused on how this will impact learning.
This is especially important as we leave a challenging time where many students and faculty were forced to shift to online learning with little to no preparation. While some thrived in this environment, most found the experience wanting. As this has been the primary area of research for the last twenty-plus years, it seemed like a good idea to share some of what has been gleaned over those decades.
What will learning look like in the Metaverse?
The shift to learning in the metaverse will be focused on personalization, experiential learning, and ubiquity. This will be a major shift away from the industrial model that has been used for the last 100 years to provide traditional or state-run (and most private) education. In education, there has already begun a shift away from the lecture-style of learning to student-centered learning. As we begin to take advantage of the technological advances associated with Web3, we will see this trend toward experiential learning accelerate.
Then, what will learning in the metaverse be like? Some early versions in this sphere have focused on the social and collaborative learning environments that are expected (ex. Virbela and SkyLect), while others have been less learning-focused and more game-focused, but still represent a small snapshot of what a version of the metaverse will look like (ex. Roblox, Core, Fortnite).
One thing is clear as we begin this journey into Web3.0. We will build upon the foundations of Web 1.0 (basic HTML pages) and Web2.0 (Reactive websites). There are a lot of contributing technologies, including Embodied Cognition, Avatars, AI, Blockchain, AR/VR, NFTs, Digital Twins, Virtual Production, and much, much more. Over the next several posts, I will endeavor to share a little into each of these and how they will impact learning in the 21st century. Hopefully, this will also give you a little taste of what will be in my new book, Learning in the Metaverse (forthcoming)
It’s time to get excited!