What is a Metaversity? Where the Metaverse and Learning MeetWritten by Madisyn Villamil
Metaversities are helping learning and training become more efficient, accessible, and engaging—especially in hybrid and virtual environments. But you may ask yourself, “what is a metaversity?”
The challenges of online learning have forced organizations to rethink how to create impactful, immersive learning experiences for better information retention. Many forward-thinking universities and corporations are already reaping the benefits of virtual reality and experiential learning.
Let’s talk about what a metaversity is. Let’s review the benefits of VR learning. And let’s discuss how to bring the metaverse to your organization for more effective learning, collaboration, and training.
What is a Metaversity?
A metaversity is a fully-virtual learning institution in the metaverse where learners and instructors can interact. In some cases, a metaversity is a digital twin of a physical campus. In other cases, a metaversity can be a unique environment created for learning in virtual reality(VR).
Learners can visit a metaversity from anywhere in the world using a VR headset. They can then explore 360-degree immersive rooms, collaborate with other learners, and participate in instructor or self-led learning experiences.
Unlike how we understand the concept of a university, metaversities are not limited to higher education settings. Learning is a lifelong journey, and successful businesses recognize the importance of continuously upskilling employees to stay competitive. Metaversities and VR campuses are also used for corporate onboarding, training, and collaboration.
What Does a Metaversity Look Like?
Edstutia is one of the world’s first fully-immersive campuses in virtual reality. The campus is home to several buildings designed for teams to meet and train. Speakers from around the world can teleport to the Amphitheater for a presentation. Learners can also break out into small group training sessions in the Modern Main Hall.
Campus visitors can chat with their coworkers, attend events and training sessions, and explore the different venues and their functionality. The VR campus experience provides a whole new dimension that supports experiential learning and creates a sense of togetherness for remote workers.
The Challenges of Online Learning
Education and work have largely moved online, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of 2022, 53% of US workers reported working in a hybrid or remote manner. The shift to a virtual environment has created new challenges. Instructors, course designers, and L&D professionals are struggling to create engaging learning and training experiences.
Metaversities and virtual reality learning experiences combat many challenges, including scrap learning, a lack of collaboration in global teams, and mental exhaustion from the overuse of 2D video chat platforms—otherwise known as “Zoom fatigue.”
How do metaversities combat these issues? To answer this question, let’s explore the benefits of learning in VR.
The Benefits of VR Learning
Technology allows higher education institutions to accept students from all over the world. Hiring employees in various cities or countries has become the norm for businesses. Building diverse and global teams is undeniably advantageous, but it also comes with unique challenges in collaboration and team-building.
Several 2D video call platforms are available, but the inevitable Zoom fatigue takes over, and the sense of togetherness and connection is lost. VR allows teams to meet and collaborate in a 360-degree space. Gathering in a room in the metaverse restores the lost sense of closeness and, quite literally, can make you feel like you’re standing next to a coworker in another country.
VR learners can collaborate on labs, simulations, team-building activities, games, and more in a metaversity environment. 360-degree immersion in VR is a more engaging way for people to connect and collaborate than video calls and online chats.
Accenture’s enterprise campus in the metaverse, also known as “The Nth Floor,” was created to bring Accenture’s global workforce together to meet, collaborate, and learn. They even made digital twins of many of their physical offices and have held hundreds of community gatherings on campus.
Reading, watching, or listening to something doesn’t mean you understand the material. 90% of content is forgotten just one week after these traditional learning methods. VR simulations introduce a learning-by-doing approach that leads to higher information retention. In simulations, learners can repeat the steps of a process and safely experiment with different outcomes.
For example, let’s say you’re onboarding employees in customer service. The onboarding program in your metaversity might include simulations that walk the new employees through handling different scenarios with customers. The simulations will demonstrate how processes work in the customer service department and build employees’ soft skills to prepare them for difficult customers.
Self-paced online learning was once all the rage for micro-learning and adapting to different learning paces. However, this learning approach has drastically low completion rates, and employees aren’t typically motivated to pay attention to them. When it comes to higher education, for example, large online courses have an average completion rate of just 5-15%.
VR provides a new way to adapt to different learning styles without sacrificing completion rates and motivation. Learners can complete modules and simulations in VR at their own pace and repeat them if needed. The learning-by-doing approach also helps hands-on learners thrive by practicing their skills in a realistic environment.
Investing in the required hardware and software may seem costly initially, but virtual reality can save your organization significant time and money in the long run. Some learning and training scenarios, such as soft skills training and training on dangerous work, can be expensive and challenging to create in real life or online.
For example, if you want to teach interns in your manufacturing company how to maintain and repair certain pieces of equipment, VR may be a safer and more cost-effective option. Buying extra equipment for practice would be expensive, and mistakes could lead to injuries.
VR learning is also four times faster than classroom learning and 1.5 times faster than online learning, helping organizations save time and money on training.
Engagement & Efficiency
Staying engaged in an online learning course can be challenging, and learners face many distractions, such as phones, emails, and other work assignments. Not to mention, they’re only one click away from opening up another browser window.
VR, on the other hand, keeps learners utterly free from distractions. When they put a headset on, they’re fully engaged in the learning environment’s sights, sounds, and objects. Complete immersion explains why VR learners are four times more focused than their e-learning peers.
When you have the full attention of your learners, you can get more done in less time—50% more than e-learning. VR saves institutions and businesses critical time on learning and skills development. A study on VR training in the manufacturing industry found that VR reduced training time by 75%.
VR provides new ways to assess learner engagement, motivation, progress, knowledge retention, and more. There are countless metrics that instructors can monitor, such as:
- Eye and body movement
- Voice analysis
These metrics hold valuable insight into the effectiveness of learning programs. Instructors can analyze these metrics to determine when they need to intervene with at-risk learners or change elements of their program.
How to Bring a Metaversity to Your Organization
By now, it may be more obvious why many organizations are using metaversities for more impactful learning experiences. Learning in VR can bring your L&D programs to the next level, which in turn helps retain talent, improve financial outcomes, and build a more positive employee experience.
Bringing the metaverse to your organization is a project that requires careful planning and strategy. If you’re ready to adopt VR learning, here are strategic steps you can take for a smooth, successful journey into the metaverse.
Create a Solid Use Case
It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement of virtual reality, but when it comes to solving learning challenges, you should be intentional in your approach. Creating a solid use case is the critical first step in bringing a metaversity to your organization and designing VR learning experiences.
Consider what’s missing from your current approaches to learning and collaboration and how virtual reality might help solve those problems. Do you only need to use VR to supplement one or two training programs missing a learning-by-doing element? In that case, you may only need a few VR learning modules.
Do you want to hold company events in the metaverse, have new employees undergo a robust onboarding program in VR, and have many upskilling modules? In that case, you might consider building an entire metaversity or unique metaverse environment like Accenture.
If your focus is more about upskilling your own team and providing ongoing training without having to invest in the development of your own metaverse, working with an existing metaversity may be the better option for you.
Once you establish your use case, you can set specific goals and determine the metrics you will use to measure success. VR offers many exciting, new ways to measure learning impact. You can also conduct frequent surveys to ensure VR brings value to your employees’ learning experiences.
Build a Metaverse Team
Building a team of employees who are motivated to deploy immersive technologies at your organization will keep the VR integration process moving. Many companies even appoint a Chief Metaverse Officer (CMTO) to ensure their organization will be a key player in the metaverse as it matures in the coming years.
You might not have the means to hire employees dedicated to your metaverse strategy. However, you can determine which employees are interested in immersive technologies and would be eager to help move the pieces of your metaverse strategy in the right direction.
Ideally, these team members will be advocates for the initial investment in hardware and software and visionary leaders willing to take calculated risks. They can also adjust strategy throughout the adoption process and handle communication with external vendors to create impactful VR learning experiences.
Having someone from each department volunteer to be part of the project is a great way to start. The unique perspectives from different areas of the company will also ensure your strategy aligns with solving relevant business problems.
Partner with Experts in VR Instructional Design
Once you’ve established a solid use case and goals, it’s time to partner with a vendor who can help you create and roll out metaverse experiences to reach them. In collaboration with your company’s subject matter experts, a vendor can help you design VR simulations, games, learning modules, and more.
Partnering with VR instructional design experts is key to building high-quality immersive learning experiences. Estudia can create custom VR learning modules that capture your company’s culture, values, and specific needs for upskilling.
Your team can also take existing courses designed to upskill today’s professionals in our virtual reality campus. Edstutia’s campus has several buildings designed for collaboration and training, such as our Modern Main Hall, Meditation Dome, Breakout Room, Boardroom, Cafe, Amphitheater, and more.
The right partner will help propel your metaverse strategy forward and create a robust virtual reality training program for your organization.
What is a Metaversity: Wrap-Up
The flaws of online education and training lead to scrap learning, disengagement, and the inevitable Zoom fatigue. Metaversities transform how we learn and train by bringing global teams together and instilling the learning-by-doing approach missing in traditional learning.
Edstutia is leading the disruption of traditional learning by combining the benefits of experiential learning with the latest metaverse technologies. Learning can occur in Edstutia’s fully virtual campus, with 360-degree immersive venues, functionality, and ready-to-go learning simulations and modules. Edstutia can also help your enterprise create customized VR training solutions for your specific needs.
Contact us today to learn how Edstutia can help you create impactful learning experiences with virtual reality.