While some industries leap, others lag. The education system we have in place today isn’t broken, it does exactly as it was designed to do for students being educated over two centuries ago. As a result, the education sector has largely struggled to adapt to the ways to keep up with the changing pace of life and work in the digital age. And yet, as we enter a new phase of the emerging digital dimension, a new future for education in the Metaverse is on the horizon.
In recent years, the reluctance of the education sector to embrace the pace of digital change that is transforming other industries has been gaining significant attention. Until now, the Edtech boom and disruption in the sector have been driven by online education, with one recent ISC report suggesting, that the digital demand for education and learning in the online education market will reach USD 585 billion by 2027, more than doubling in value from 2021.
The rise of Metaverse, a network of three-dimensional shared virtual worlds populated with the avatars of real people, further represents a big challenge for the education sector — but also a massive opportunity in what is being described by some industry players as the next big thing for Edtech and is expected to grow into a $30 billion industry by 2032.1
Consider this, Roblox, a game that is widely viewed as a ‘pre-metaverse’ platform, has over 54 million daily active users globally and is almost 20 years old. The first players, who were only 16 when the game was first released, are already the movers and shakers of the fast-emerging world of web3.
The children of this generation of early adopters are already being educated in primary and secondary schools around the globe and are often referred to as digital natives. But more than this, these students are also spatially native learners, with natural capacities for learning inside of the immersive worlds of virtual reality on a level beyond what older generations can comprehend. It is no surprise then that the current model of education, which is largely passive and text-based in nature, fails to meet the needs and interests of the GenZ and GenAlpha cohorts of students who will finish formal education just as the projected value of the Metaverse economy is being realised.
As we look towards an exciting future in Web3, it is time for the education sector to find new ways to stay relevant in the digital world. The metaverse will provide opportunities for immersive learning experiences which allow for more personalised and customised learning pathways and create new ways of assessing student progress.
The immersive nature of the metaverse learning experience in virtual reality provides students with a real feeling of presence that can engage all senses. In these 3D learning experiences, students from around the globe connect, as virtual avatars of themselves, and learn by participating in immersive experiences and case studies, which they would have otherwise only come across on the pages of a book, or the 2D textual representations of the Internet.
Learning inside the Metaverse is most powerful when it creates a bridge between reality and what is possible in the virtual world. The metaverse will also enable educators to connect with students in new and innovative ways and open the door to educators, schools, and institutes for the sharing of open teaching resources, lessons, and content on a level not experienced before.
We are experiencing a digital transformation that will forever alter education and our relationships with technology and with each other. The metaverse looks to be the next evolution of how you use the internet, interact, learn, work and play online and will open up powerful opportunities for education to develop digitally.
Sophia Technologies — a UK online education company that runs the leading British Online School, Sophia High School — launched its ‘Athenaverse Project’ on the Ethereum blockchain in February, building a world for Metaverse education and VR learning inside of the only virtual reality first Metaverse, Somnium Space.
Bringing the Metaverse to its students, Sophia CEO Melissa McBride views the potential for learning in the Metaverse as ‘the holy grail of education.’ The metaverse will allow educators to create customised learning experiences based on the individual needs of each student and enable teachers to connect with students in new and innovative ways.
Amongst all of the amazing possibilities for the future of education in the Metaverse is the ability to inspire a better, more equitable, and sustainable era for education. VR Education and learning in the Metaverse opens the door to taking quality education beyond traditional school hubs and making it accessible to students all around the world.
This is the beginning of democratizing education, from the best educators in the world, to address learning through experience on a global scale.
Foto: Sophia App