Updated: Feb 9
The Metaverse is happening. It will soon be as omnipresent as Instagram, Meta and TikTok. Technology will advance to bring us new immersive worlds. How our learning ecosystems prepare must also advance to meet these new opportunities.
As the Metaverse is underway, Businesses, L&D professionals, Instructional Designers, and other Learning Solution providers have a chance to pave the way rather than getting caught in the whirlpool. In this blog, we offer a path for bringing best learning practices into the metaverse. We suggest a series of tried & tested principles to guide the design of new learning technology.
Imagine a rectangular training room, surrounded by White Boards, Presentation screens and movable chairs. You’re taking your new joinees on the growth journey of the organization. All of a sudden, a timeline is projected onto the middle of the floor. Employees move their chairs away to stand in the present, ready to move backward and enter the year 1980 —a year in which they will encounter a new reality. Everything that surrounds them is of that year. Who’s that young, charming, driven person they see in the Metaverse? Well, that’s the organization CEO when he was 22 years old! The employees explore, they ask questions, they ponder, they learn!
This deep, transferable learning that will last a lifetime comes to us by virtue of the metaverse being delivered in a hybrid, guided play environment that represents the learning of the future. The metaverse opens the door to new possibilities for incredible ways to leverage learning solutions within a greater ecosystem. A digital world in which users can collaborate, interact, analyze, practice and problem solve is ideal for corporate L&D because it gives learners the tools they need to succeed while at the same time, encouraging & enabling them to manage their own learning experience.
2022 has already ushered in widespread investment into Learning & Development programs and technology, specifically to engage a new workforce and enhance employee experiences. The Metaverse on the other hand continues to be the talking point in the News and organizations are starting to implement learning interactions in virtual environments. Consumers, especially Gen Z expect personalized, engaging experiences in their day-to-day life and that is setting the standard for learning solutions.
The metaverse is likely to completely support AR & VR technologies, combined with Artificial Intelligence. The metaverse in its most optimal state, will allow for anyone to create on an global, interoperable platform where they can share their content & games with the world.
Embrace Digital Disruption to Adapt to the Multiverse. How?
Learning is ambient. It is the job of the L&D team to meet the learner in a place that they're comfortable & familiar in and more importantly, a place that facilitates the transfer of knowledge. Figuring out learner behaviours in their comfortable environments will help identify roadblocks and therefore, opportunities where the overall learner experience can be improved. You can begin by asking the following questions:
1. How are your employees acquiring the information they need?
2. Where do your employees access learning resources?
3. What captures your employees' attention when they learn?
4. How do you provide employees with feedback?
Once you have these answers in place, it comes down to enabling the employee to find what they need, when they need it. Instead of drawing out a traditional learning journey, embrace the chaos. After which, you make the required information available through a combination of new technologies - online chatbots for support or AR to run practice simulations to VR led fully immersive sessions.
With progressive technologies, and advancing learning cultures that accept remote learning & other digital disruptions, now is the best time to start formulating your organization's learning & development strategy for the Metaverse.
The real ROI
Organizations want their employees to come out of their training programmes being able to seamlessly perform their job in real life. That is the best way to measure whether your training worked or not.
What type of training can the Metaverse be best used for?
Experiential learning technologies, including AR, VR and other three dimensional simulations give learners a controlled & safe place to practice otherwise dangerous tasks.
It's not necessary for all experiences to be driven through new age technologies. Despite the fact that it makes all training fun & engaging, focus on the 'right’ experiences.
1. Reducing risk in Dangerous Tasks
It is safe to operate any machinery incorrectly in virtual reality. In fields like construction, law enforcement, safety training, health care and manufacturing, "mistakes" are often life threatening - not to mention expensive.
Immersive simulations would help reduce the number of botched operations. VR can accurately replicate tasks and procedures that could provide practical, and hands-on training to enable learners to visualize, practice and prepare.
2. Prepare & Practise Soft Skills
High risk industries aren't the only ones who could benefit from Experiential learning. The Metaverse could give learners the opportunity to uninhibitedly practice their soft skills and identify their shortcomings. Think of customer service professionals who could practise de-escalating conversations with customers, and interact with heated exchanges and actually prepare for those exchanges. Imagine a multiple scenarios' sales negotiation simulation that could better train your sales personnel.
And so, we return to the classroom surrounded by white boards that can transport learners as if they work in a magic room. In this room and in this world, employees will have first hand experiences, master a broader suite of skills, and be better equipped to transfer what they learn into their real work.
The metaverse is coming to businesses. The question is whether learning solution providers, designers, policymakers, business owners, and employees, can appropriately use this to enhance learning experiences.