How the Metaverse is Changing Learning and Education

‘Metaverse’ and the buzz around the word! You can’t deny the fact that in the year 2022 the metaverse made the most buzz and quite a headway in eLearning. Are you curious about the buzz and willing to dive deep into the world of the metaverse? Then, this blog post is for you!

Humans can’t imagine their lives without technology today. Moreover, the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the scale, implementation, and adoption of several emerging technologies, resulting in the digital revolution.

Several industries, including gaming, entertainment, FinTech, and even education, are making forays into the metaverse. They are using the metaverse to not just engage with their players or customers but also as an emerging technology for training, onboarding, and other aspects. Digital transformation is no more a luxury but has become a necessity to survive in today’s digital world.

Before understanding how the metaverse will transform digital education, let’s first answer the basic question.

What is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is defined as a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on a social connection. The digitally stimulated, interactive virtual world is facilitated using VR and AR headsets, also known as meta-quest devices. The VR/AR headsets have stereoscopic viewports that give a 360-degree or realistic3D experience, while hand-held controllers help one interact with the virtual environment. The metaverse is a rapidly evolving technology that is both immersive and synchronous.

A recent report by J.P. Morgan estimated the market opportunity for the metaverse at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues. According to Markets and Markets, the global metaverse market is expected to grow at 47.2% CAGR during the forecast period 2022-2027 and reach a $426.9 billion valuation by 2027. Digital platforms and tech giants are already gearing up the metaverse, an economy predicted to expand to $13 trillion with 5 billion users by 2030, as per a new Citi GPS report.

Metaverse: The Future of eLearning

The metaverse is already revolutionizing the areas of training and onboarding. With its engaging experience, we can reduce the time taken compared to traditional methods. Several studies have shown that learning through experience increases learning quality and improves retention.

Experts have predicted that the metaverse is likely to change the face of online learning. As eLearning evolves, we can expect it to become a far more digital experience. With the advent of the metaverse, there is an opportunity for the eLearning industry to elevate the learning experience further.

Metaverse: The Future of eLearning through experience increases learning quality and improves retention

Every day, experts are working on developing innovative ways of learning by creating content using the metaverse. These learning materials provide more engaging learning experiences embodied using real-world scenarios. In conjunction with the traditional pen-paper syllabus, these are likely to herald big changes in L&D and education.

The metaverse can potentially enable students to virtually teleport to any place, at any time. So, with the help of meta-quest devices, a person’s metaverse avatar could visit ancient Rome, walk around the streets, visit the markets, and learn first-hand, albeit virtually, how people lived nearly 2000 years ago.

It could also help students enact real-life scenarios and learn with role-playing techniques. One great example could be in soft skills. For example, a mock meeting in the metaverse can be a good training ground to learn techniques to deal with bullying at the workplace.

Thus, the metaverse holds a lot of potential for learning and teaching, as it helps learners to visualize the textbook syllabus outside the classroom using VR. As a result, the metaverse undoubtedly makes learning both unforgettable and fun.

Let’s dive deeper in the different ways the metaverse positively impacts learning and education.

1. Bringing online environments to life

Virtual classrooms and campuses can be created as per learners’ needs and requirements. Further, they will be able to create their own avatars making the learning curve easy and flexible. Through the avatars, learners can visit libraries, sit in different lecture halls or classrooms, hang out with peers from different parts of the world.

Experts believe that such simulated environments that offer a range of digital experiences to learners will democratize the education sector. This enables the coming together of learners belonging to varied economic backgrounds from across the world.

2. Improving real-world skilling

Well-designed, curated content combined with spatial design and data science helps improve engagement. The immersive experience will help learners with the 6Cs – Collaboration, Communication, Content, Critical thinking, Creative innovation, and Confidence.

A metaverse avatar can learn various skills and tasks that could be further useful in real life. As a result, the learner has more freedom to learn and practice new skills without any fear of making mistakes or any related consequences.

Immersive Learning Experience puts into action the 6c's of how learners learn

3. Promoting interpersonal communication/interaction

Interpersonal communication or interaction is not easy in the online mode of learning. However, the metaverse allows virtual characters to interact. Thus, learners’ avatars on the metaverse will be able to not just socialize with their peers, but also study together, collaborate on projects, and connect with their teachers – all of which enhances the learning experience.

4. Enriching gamification

There are a lot of benefits to the gamification of learning. Apart from improving the problem-solving capabilities of learners, it is known to make learning fun and memorable. In the metaverse, gamification is taken to the next level. Lessons can be converted into game-based activities that will engage learners with realistic environment focused to increase their knowledge and skills, making learning both engaging and experiential.

5. Insights into the learner’s behavior

By creating immersive learning environments, content developers and organizations, like Meta, will get an insight into learners’ behavior. The data that they collect can be used to not just track learners’ progress, but also to identify gaps to improve upon the learning experience by developing more engaging content.

The Metaverse gives learners an immersive environment that is engaging and experiential

Embracing the Metaverse

The metaverse is an emerging technology that can become the next big thing. The technology is still in the nascent stage, though several sectors have started to exploit it. The metaverse holds the promise to be a game-changer in the eLearning sector, as it gives learners an immersive environment that is engaging and experiential. As eLearning evolves and embraces new technologies, the potential is limitless.

To learn more about how immersive learning experiences can enhance the quality of your eLearning, write to us now.

Future of Learning Led by Immersive Experiences with AR/VR

In the last couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital communication. It also boosted popularity of technologies such as Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) due to their ability to offer lifelike or immersive experiences. The AR and VR market is expected to reach a valuation of $114.5 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 25.3% during the forecast period 2022-2027, according to MarketsandMarkets.

In our earlier blog post How 3D Technology Makes Learning More Effective, we talked about how the eLearning industry have evolved towards the adoption of 3D-model-based learning for greater effectiveness. In the future, we can certainly expect augmented reality and virtual reality to enhance the learning experience greatly.

Studies show that immersive environments cause our brains to react in the same way as they would in the real world. Therefore, immersive environments can be a real game changer in the world of eLearning.

AR/VR can not only help learners to grasp abstract concepts far more effectively, but they also enable an environment that allows for practical experiences in simulated environment. For instance, think about corporate employees being virtually transported to the company’s headquarters or R&D Center for a walkabout with holographic 3D design models.

AR/VR technologies have extensive potential in several areas of learning. VR can help block or override distractions, thereby greatly enhancing learning outcomes since the experience is truly immersive. Here are a few examples:

Future of Learning Led by Immersive Experiences with AR/VR

Learning mechanical or physical processes

Let’s say a group of mechanical engineers need to familiarize themselves with the workings of the gearbox of a car. While traditional learning techniques can provide limited perspectives, a VR based experience can allow the learners to study the mechanics of the gearbox at close quarters. Learners can also observe the device from a variety of angles that would not be possible even in an actual physical environment.

Learners can try to virtually change gears and study the outcome as seen in the real world. Also, in the case of complex processes that might take time to understand, AR/VR tools offer unlimited opportunities to ‘practice’ processes virtually as many times as they wish.

This is especially important in instances where the physical location or product may not be easily accessible for training. It is also true for environments or use cases that can be potentially life-threatening. For example, consider a hydro-electric power station located at a remote location or a telecom tower with potentially hazardous radiation.

Another great example is in the area of medical education. The human body is highly complex. The ability to virtually observe the workings on organs and perform procedures in immersive simulated experiences can greatly enhance the quality of learning.

Learners can get immediate feedback from superiors and peers, allowing them to enhance their understanding and build confidence.

You can catch a demo for a meeting room in 3D to help evaluate information and data security risks.
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Simulating real-life environments

AR/VR environments can also be very effective when it comes to replicating real-life situations and environments. They allow learners to practice and learn new skills in a safe space without fear of judgement. One great example is soft skills training. People often find it intimidating to interact with colleagues in a work environment. Effective communication lies at the heart of great team building. So, practicing these skills in a simulated environment can help hone these skills and also develop much-needed confidence to carry this forward in real-world situations.

The same also holds true in the case of training in areas such as health, safety, and environment. For instance, think about training related to fire safety or handling of dangerous goods and chemicals, which are critically important but difficult to replicate in a real-life environment.

AR experiences can help train teams about products, services, or concepts in a highly engaging manner because they can help create ‘real’ experiences. For instance, VR headgear such as Oculus Rift can allow participants to learn using techniques such as role playing.

Man in VR glasses explaining biggest advantages that virtual environments offer

Discovering opportunities for remote collaboration

One of the biggest advantages that virtual environments offer is the opportunity for people to collaborate seamlessly in a virtual environment irrespective of their physical location. This is bound to become even more valuable in the world of distributed and remote workplaces where teams are still expected to work together as a team and execute tasks collaboratively despite physical distances.

Here’s an example of immersive learning experience for the workforce to learn about bullying and how to avoid it.
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Both AR/VR provide an opportunity for trainers to better engage their students through immersive experiences that make learning much more practical, effective, and enjoyable. And considering the growth of both AR and VR industries, it’s no wonder the educational sector will take advantage of both.

End Note

As AR/VR continues to evolve, we are likely to see it become more mainstream across a variety of learning requirements. With advances in technology, we could also see learning getting into the Metaverse. Watch this space to learn more about how immersive learning experiences can enhance the quality of your eLearning modules. You can also directly contact us if you have any queries.

How 3D Technology Makes Learning More Effective

The popularity of eLearning has been growing steadily for over two decades now, but the pandemic gave it a big fillip. eLearning adoption has drastically increased over the last couple of years due to factors such as social distancing norms, lockdowns, and travel restrictions, coupled with the need for immediate upskilling. The global eLearning market is expected to reach almost USD 400 billion by 2026, up from USD 200 billion in 2019, according to a Statista report.

Over the years, eLearning content has evolved considerably with increasing levels of interactivity. In the early 2000s, passive-based (L1) or limited participation-based (L2) content was dominant. Since then, the industry has evolved to a point where students can collaborate and have full control over their learning journey (L4). At the same time, 3D technology in education has introduced a new level of interactivity and fun – drastically enriching the learning experience.

The concept of 3D has been out there for decades. Most of us have likely experienced the magic of 3D in our personal lives, while watching our favorite movies in 3D at the cinemas or examining a 3D rendering of a house yet to be built. And of course, how can we forget popular video games that provided a 3D environment!

3D Technology for Improved Learning Results: Why and How?

We live in a 3D world, after all. Therefore, it makes sense that learning about it with a 3D technology is likely to be far more effective. Whether it is machines, plants, or the human body, 3D education provides a far more holistic understanding and a 360-degree view of the world.

Here are some ways in which 3D technology allows for better learning:

1. Learning complex processes or concepts

3D-based learning allows learners to experience or observe each step in a process visually rather than having to rely on complex verbal explanations. This is particularly valuable in the case of perplexing concepts or complex processes. Since human beings are inherently visual learners, the information presented through a visual 3D model is not only understood far more easily, but it is also simpler for the learner to commit it to memory.

For example, consider that a learner wishes to learn about the working of a machine that is either too large or too expensive to be available for hands-on training. While 2D drawings might shed some light, only an interactive 3D model can truly help provide the required depth of understanding. The learner has an opportunity to observe the machine from different angles and observe how it reacts to various actions.

A digital publisher of training material for flight training based out of Texas was keen to convert PDF manuals into interactive training material with 3D visuals. Given limited budgets and the absence of 3D objects, Harbinger created a 3D like experience using 2D photos, which were stitched in a way to deliver 3D experience using the Articulate Storyline tool.
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Harbinger also worked with an American corporation that manufactures robotic products for minimal invasive surgery. Harbinger developed a stapler surgery eLearning course that incorporated game-based simulation using custom HTML5 solution. The course helps learners understand the steps for setting up the stapler system, troubleshooting it, and using it effectively in mock surgery. To simulate a real machine, Harbinger recreated a 3D like design of every part of the system using illustrations. This helps learners experience the process of assembling or troubleshooting the real machine.

Learning complex processes or concepts

2. Enabling interactive learning in a safe environment

Let’s take the case of medical education. Learning concepts such as the myriad workings of the human body is likely to be far more effective when they are taught using 3D tools. For instance, a learner can closely observe how the human heart operates, how blood flows through arteries, and what impacts its functioning. Such visualization is simply impossible whether through words or 2D visuals. In fact, it is out of question to demonstrate this even in real life.

Driving is another notable example. While learning to drive is most effective in a real car in a real-world environment, it is important to remember that roads are fraught with risks from unruly drivers, careless pedestrians, or poor road conditions. While the prospective driver will eventually need to drive on the road, a 3D-simulated environment can give the driver the opportunity to hone their basic skills. This includes actions such as changing gears, applying brakes, and gauging speed in a safe and secure environment to understand safe driving practices beforehand.

Considering the last case, a group of biologists studying an endangered coral reef or a rainforest. It might be practically unfeasible for a full class of students to physically visit the location and observe at length, but a 3D technology can enable this.

The same applies to countless use cases, whether it is a machine operator, engineer, or physicist studying a new phenomenon.

Harbinger worked with a 25,000 employee- strong global wind energy company that sells, installs, and services wind turbines. L&D was looking for a way to explain the process of wind turbine installation process in a visual way rather than traditional eLearning along with scenarios which focus on key points to observe and remember. Harbinger created videos using illustrations and flash-based animations to give 3D impact and experience. The SCORM compliant illustrated videos make it easy to understand installation techniques that workers need to follow when using bolts in building windmills.
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3. Implementing gamified learning for an engaging learning experience

We always learn better when the learning experience is fun and engaging. 3D learning tools offer an opportunity to build more engaging learning modules since they allow for creating competitive online environments that reward learning. 3D environments lend themselves well to gamification.

Harbinger helped a US-based fast-food chain with 350+ outlets across the country to build a game-based course to train its staff. The game provided real-life experiences at a drive-thru counter and rewarded learners with interesting badges like Time Champ, Hat Trick, Perfection, and Head Set Hero. The gamified training was fun, simple, engaging, and encouraged the workforce to execute the brand standards at a higher level.
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4. Allowing shareability and collaboration for better learning outcomes

A 3D model acts as a stand-in for a physical object and thus allows for an almost life-like learning experience.

Let’s take a scenario here: While a biology class may have a physical sample of a rare frog species, it’s impractical for the whole class to observe the physical brochure. We can overcome this limitation with the help of an interactive 3D model, which will allow students to get a much better understanding of the species and give them the freedom to explore it at their own pace.

Implementing gamified learning for an engaging learning experience

The same holds true when learning about complex machinery or process flow in a manufacturing environment. Students can also learn through role-play where each team member assumes a role in the manufacturing process. This can help them get a far more holistic end-to-end understanding of how a particular product is developed from the raw material to the finished stage.

This also includes processes such as testing/quality assurance, which can be taught via 3D models. There is an opportunity to learn collaboratively and incorporate experiences for communication and teamwork because it is taught in a virtual environment.

Future of 3D Learning

As the future of learning unfolds, eLearning concepts are likely to evolve even further. Already, immersive and interactive technologies such as AR and VR are increasingly becoming commonplace and transforming the learner experience.

Stay tuned for our future blog posts in this series where we will examine the evolution of eLearning with the adoption of advances such as AR, VR, and the Metaverse. To learn more about how immersive learning experiences can enhance the quality of your eLearning modules, write to us at info@harbingergroup.com.

How technology is solving L&D
problems in organizations today

Increasing employee engagement in the learning process is becoming a key challenge many organizations face with regards to eLearning in the workplace. The year 2020 toppled the way organizations worked, with the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown dictating an accelerated adoption of technology, to quickly realign with the new normal. As remote work picked up at a rapid pace, the Learning and Development (L&D) industry was faced with newer set of challenges.

In the changing environment, on the one hand, upskilling and reskilling are the need of the hour with additional requirement to make learning seamless and intuitive for employees in the workplace. On the other, organizations need to be proactive to identify these gaps while investing time, effort, and money to use the appropriate L&D strategies.

According to a LinkedIn survey report, 64% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D shifted from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” in 2021.

Yet another challenge revolves around millennials who have grown up during the changing face of technology. Labeled as a ‘distracted generation’, lengthy eLearning classroom training sessions pose a struggle for the employee who is juggling a work-life balance. Online programs need to be developed to tailor to modern needs and offer a learning motive for professionals with a shorter attention span. Organizations also face the difficulty of the creation of new courses with additional costs incurred to modernize legacy but instructionally sound content. Besides, long formats of content are often viewed as an “optional” activity by employees.

Driving Technology to Enhance Learning Methods

So, how can technology support to deliver content that addresses these issues? Let us find out!

AI-Powered Learning Systems

Learning experience platforms (LXP) powered by AI are a preferred solution when weighed against the traditional Learning Management System (LMS). LXPs support business firms to identify skill gaps, offer personalization, display analytics to determine human behaviors, preferences, and performance. As LXPs support predicting the learners’ style and patterns, it goes beyond the offerings of a traditional LMS. The flexibility of LXPs, thus powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), plays a vital role in changing the learning style.

Microlearning Formats

Employees often do not show preference to consuming lengthy training formats. Implementation of learning in the flow of work resolves the issue.

Adoption of microlearning formats such as text, images, short videos and audios, games, quizzes, and more are useful for bite-sized learning modules. Microlearning programs are cost-effective and cater to the busy employees of today by offering them engaging content without the weight of a lengthy course. This format may not be suitable for all types of certification programs that may include longer content formats. However, Harbinger’s xSmart framework supports organizations to identify the key learning areas and present lengthy content in a smarter framework within no time!

Responsive Learning Design

According to the eLearning industry, 70% of learners experience greater motivation to access training on a mobile device.

Responsive eLearning designs create an improved learning experience while generating higher engagement. As smartphones have taken over as a preferred platform for a majority of online activities, responsive learning designs that are mobile-friendly offer complete flexibility. Mobile learning thus gives access to education anytime.

Immersive Learning Experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) offer highly immersive learning experiences to employees, supporting to retain attention in a remote-working age. Technology has evolved with VR headsets while simulating real-world scenarios in the digital space. The application of AR/VR technology breaks down the complexities of a subject to provide greater interaction while allowing employees to learn at their own pace.

Modern-day employees require the learning process to be tailored to their needs. Technology in itself has undergone multiple transformational processes to change the way learning is delivered, perceived, and consumed. Organizations need to leverage technology to meet the need of the hour. If you’re looking to scale up your digital programs and modernize content in no time, write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com to discuss more.