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What can we expect from Metaverse in learning?

Valentine Vandenborght |

How would you react if you were told that it was now possible to learn from home… through a virtual world?

This is what the Metaverse offers today. A contraction of “meta” and “universe”, it is defined as a virtual world, similar to the real world but generated by a computer. to the metaverse should not be confused with virtual reality: it allows for active immersion and makes you an actor and even a builder of this world. First conceptualized in 1964 in a novel written by Philip Dick, it was brought to the screen by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973, then used in the film “The Virtual Samurai” by Neal Stephenson in 1992, which introduced the term “Metaverse”.
Its strength is that it allows users to move and interact with the virtual environment through their avatar.

The first major application of this concept came from the video game community, particularly with the online game “Second Life” released in 2003. Second Life was a true phenomenon between 2003 and 2007.Players could embody virtual characters in a world created by users themselves. Since then, many industries have tried to leverage this concept and to imagine how to use it to good effect. From sales to training, the challenges are huge. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook that became “Meta”, is betting on a connected and immersive future.

1) The application of the Metaverse in learning

In many sectors of activity, jobs and skills are changing more and more rapidly. Thinking about efficient ways to develop the skills of employees has therefore become a major challenge: how to optimize learning for large groups of learners at low cost?
Combining learning and the Metaverse could broaden the scope of possibilities and make learning even more effective.

  • First, in terms of learning effectiveness: because of its immersion, the Metaverse promises better involvement and therefore better knowledge retention. The immersive aspect makes the learning more intuitive and increases motivation.
  • It also promises distance learning for a very large number of learners at the same time, making it possible for them to interact with each other, and thus improving their ability to deal with situations that are exceptional in the real world.
  • Even more innovative than virtual reality, the Metaverse improves the quality of sensory perceptions, which increases the level of realism of the learner’s experience and the effectiveness of the learning. 
Personne qui passe d'un univers à un autre via le metavers

2) The challenges of the Metaverse in learning

The challenges of Metaverse in learning are significant. It can have impact on the following 4 pillars:

  • Attention, defined by the ability to open up to reality, to direct our actions towards a goal
  • Active engagement, which shows for example that the number of exercises performed counts more than the number of hours spent studying. The Metaverse would allow more exercises over a defined period of time and be more effective since learners are actively immersed.
  • Positive feedback on errors is important because it gives the learner immediate feedback on their action to develop their skills more quickly. Here, the Metaverse can provide feedback through avatars who can speak, whereas traditional digital learning only provides written feedback.
  • Learning reinforcement through repetition: the idea is to repeat knowledge several times to memorize it effectively. The Metaverse is like a second skin for the learner, a second world. It would therefore encourage them to return to their learning environment, that is more engaging and gamified than a traditional learning platform, to benefit from this repetition.

3) What type of learning environment for the future?

The Metaverse is still a very new concept and we cannot know yet in what exact conditions it will develop. However, we do know that its capabilities are infinite. According to Erwan Deveze, lecturer and consultant in Neuroleadership and Neuromanagement, within 3 to 5 years we will know more about its development and future.

Let us now imagine a learning experience in which the best learning innovations are combined with the aim of achieving the best impact in terms of skills development… Learners are immersed in the Metaverse where they have access to their own learning experiences. With microlearning, they can interact with short learning activities, allowing them to focus on what is important. With social learning, they can exchange with their peers and strengthen their sense of belonging to a community of learners. With gamification, they can learn by playing and improve their engagement as they acquire new skills. With virtual reality, they can simulate job-related actions and develop technical skills. Finally, adaptive learning collects all the generated data to identify learners’ profile accurately and adapt the learning experiences in real time.


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