Is Metaverse Education Really Revolutionising Learning? Let’s Find Out!



13 June, 2024

Is Metaverse Education Really Revolutionising Learning? Let’s Find Out!

Decades ago, the Gurukul system thrived on the Indian subcontinent, with Gurus imparting wisdom to their disciples. They taught subjects like Mathematics, Ayurveda, Arthashashtra, Dhanurveda, Darshan, Astronomy, and many others in ancient India. As years progressed, society modified or diminished many of these older practices. Like every other industry, the education system experienced tremendous growth and evolution. A time that relied on books and verbal communication soon recognised the significance of technology. Humans found it necessary to embrace change, allowing technology to integrate into the system swiftly.

While history remains intriguing, technology enhances its understanding. Visual aids have made learning easier, capturing students’ attention better and improving recall value. Even challenging subjects like mathematics, astronomy, and economics became easier with technology adaptation. We may not have realised it, but when classrooms transformed into screens, we discovered an unexpected comfort in that system.

Now let us travel back to the lockdown- when the entire world, the noise, the daily hustle, the struggle, all came to rest. It was so unprecedented that it took us a few days or months to feel settled. The one change the majority of us witnessed was the wave of online education, work, and entertainment. Our interest and concentration were severely impacted when everything found its replacement online. I am not talking about the quintessential video games like Ludo or Chess that you would easily play online, but games such as cricket and football that very few of us imagined could be played in that version. Now, I want you to imagine a world one step ahead of what you lived back then.

Imagine a world where you can meet your friends, play games, work, and even shop without leaving home! This would have sounded absurd a few years ago, but today, we call this the Metaverse. In a nutshell, we can better understand the Metaverse as a virtual experience that digitalises our lives. The word draws inspiration from the term “Universe.” Quite literally, it is a universe of people interacting through digital avatars. We have already replicated the physical world we are surrounded by to enhance our use and experience. Think of the Metaverse as a mix of social media, video games, and the internet, all rolled into one to create an immersive, virtual experience. You can interact with others through digital avatars, bringing many real-life activities into a digital space. This combination makes things more convenient and fun.

When Metaverse Met Education

The lockdown may have been the beginning of online learning, but even after time passed, we accepted this learning mode and worked in several other ways. Let us understand how the metaverse has changed education:

  • Classrooms on the screen: Technology and gadgets have enabled online classrooms to be organised regardless of geographical barriers. People might doubt the credibility and accountability of these classrooms, but they efficiently imitate real-life classrooms. Additionally, they curate new classrooms that facilitate learning interactively. Students and teachers find it convenient to interact and learn the operations quickly, making it easy to get accustomed to them.

  • Connectivity: When India understood the necessity of Globalisation in 1991, it also understood the significance of connections across borders. The world we live in is no longer unipolar. It is a multipolar world where every country shares a slice of power, making us interdependent. The decision to globalise has not only brought nations together but has also introduced technological advancements.

A small screen enables you to connect with anyone across the world. You can connect, befriend, and learn at the same time from people you haven’t even met in reality. The virtual experience of meeting new people can enhance your interaction, broaden your choices, and assist your decision-making. You can collaborate with different people and share your ideas, resources, and opinions in exchange for a new learning experience.

Gathering people from different walks of life and making it possible for them to meet and socialise is a tough nut to crack, but guess what? Technology has made it possible.

  • Personalisation: The metaverse can provide customised learning journeys that cater to individual student needs, learning pace, and preferred learning methods. Additionally, educational content can be enhanced with interactive elements such as 3D models, gamified experiences, and interactive scenarios, making learning more engaging and immersive. This has proven to be an excellent way of keeping users close to the technology while simultaneously ensuring a comfortable user interface.

  • Skills: The interaction between the metaverse and education enables people to interact in simulated settings, where specially created real-world job scenarios impart vocational training. This includes complex medical procedures for aspiring medical professionals, alongside practical experiments in multiple fields for aspiring engineers. This change in approach to work has made it feel less monotonous.

  • Accessibility: Teachers can give students instant performance feedback through interactive exercises and online tests. By tracking student development, learning analytics can offer data-driven insights to enhance teaching methods and student results.

Demerits of Metaverse in Education

Even though the task of teaching and learning was made easy and exciting through the introduction of technology, it did not succeed in completely replacing the traditional ways of education. There is no human-made technology that has managed to serve only the advantages. It is bound to have some flaws. Here are some disadvantages of metaverse in education that can help you understand better:

  • Human touch and presence: When teachers and students are physically present in their classroom, live interaction is much more impactful than a virtual one. Additionally, teachers find it more convenient to catch onto their students’ nonverbal cues, making it easier for students to learn better. A classroom is created to build the appropriate environment conducive to learning. A student would be bound to feel more serious and focused in the presence of a teacher compared to a virtual space when neither has complete control over the other.

  • Security on stake: Data Protection is a big concern. The metaverse gathers a lot of information on students’ interactions, behaviours, and preferences. This information must be shielded against abuse, illegal access, and breaches to preserve students’ privacy. As it is rightly said- “When everything is free, your privacy is the cost.”

    You are more vulnerable when you voluntarily share a significant part of your personal information and data with people you do not know. The effective integration of metaverse technology in education depends on parents, teachers, and students continuing to have faith and confidence in one another.

  • The digital divide: Metaverse is undoubtedly making it convenient to connect globally. But do you think that would suffice? Surely, no. Within our country, some diverse people belong to different backgrounds. They may not be well-equipped with technology or the required finances to afford them. The expenses of Metaverse can be challenging for those who struggle to make ends meet or are the sole breadwinners for their families. In a world where even physical education is unaffordable for many, virtual education won’t find its way to reach the doorstep of every student. Even though they may deserve it, they only lack sufficient resources to afford it. Let’s understand it this way- there are many receivers but very few providers.

Final Words: Analysing The MetaWave!

The education industry promises a high return in exchange for a hefty investment, whether monetary or technological. Reports predict that by 2030 the metaverse market will likely reach the $1.6 trillion mark, with education playing a major role in capitalising on this growth. Both teachers and students have found this method of education to be more impactful, with a more positive effect on students’ soft skills, such as communication and effective collaboration.

Many students who would otherwise find it difficult to interact in physical classrooms due to the presence of their classmates have found it easier to share their opinions in virtual classes. According to statistics, 75% of students were found to be more engaged in learning if done virtually, indicating significant growth in recent years. Not long ago, we relied entirely on textbooks before transitioning to a hybrid and, eventually, a more tech-dependent system. The education industry has also seen the emergence of the Ed-Tech model, where technology and education interact to create a space that offers an enhanced learning experience.

At the end of the day, education is larger than a tiny screen. It educates an individual academically and stands responsible for building the morals and ethics that add significant value to their lives and decision-making. The students’ foundation is an amalgamation of what they learn in their classrooms and through interaction with their peers and teachers. A virtual setting devoids the students of that experience, of the human presence. The metaverse has surely taken the world by storm, specifically the education system, but does it truly have the potential to replace real-life education, or is that just a shebang; the time will tell!

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