L&D professionals have faced more than a few challenges over the past two years. The shift to remote learning has L&D leaders looking to develop remote interactive and collaborative spaces to promote safe yet effective training programs. On the business side, things have gone digital as well. Web-based team communication and collaboration tools have become integral to supporting virtual teams. However, as many of us have grown to discover, these existing digital tools have limitations. For example, there are now tons of tools available, making it difficult to centralize information and content. The same is true for learning programs.
Many employees may be suffering from a sense of disconnection to peers, managers, and learning programs. To mitigate issues in a remote learning environment, many organizations are exploring immersive learning solutions such as virtual, augmented, and mixed realities. These modalities can provide incredibly innovative and engaging learning experiences that are fully remote. But there’s still the issue of bringing learning together in a meaningful way to engage in face-to-face interactions.
Enter the metaverse—the next evolution in collaboration in working and learning. Metaverse learning takes a leap forward by combining immersive learning modalities such as VR and AR. Navigating their personal avatars through a 3D, interactive world, learners can learn, collaborate and communicate in real time and in a more physical fashion. This learning modality is relatively new but it appears poised to make a huge impact over the coming years as we return to hybrid workplaces. Here’s what you need to know and why we think you should consider exploring the potential of metaverse training.
What do we know about metaverse training so far?
Because this emergent technology is still—well—emerging, it’s a challenge to identify a clear ROI for L&D and the business. However, we can build an argument upon the mountains of existing research that demonstrate the effectiveness of immersive training, particularly where virtual reality is concerned.
Like VR, metaverse training has the potential to be more effective because it’s more realistic. There is a distinct connection to learning material and a sense of “presence” within the learning environment. Training activities can take place in simulated spaces to give learners exposure to real life situations. This can be critical for safety training, or when learners need to understand how to deal with stress and risk on the job. Rather than reading training material and then trying to retrieve knowledge when tested, learners can practice in simulations where they are free to make mistakes and repeat experiences to attain performance mastery. Responses to unpredictable scenarios can be honed time and again until the learner develops muscle memory. So what might have taken considerable time when delivered in person, immersive learning experiences can provide learners with much more time to develop long-term retention.
The potential for the metaverse
Metaverse training offers a similar roster of benefits to training based in VR, including reduced need for in-person training, travel expenses, time off work, etc. From a learning perspective, VR supports learners in unique ways. For example, facilitators can be present during learning experiences to provide timely and relevant feedback and reinforcement. The metaverse offers new benefits that expand upon the precepts of VR and immersive training.
Metaverse training can exist within a world built by L&D, but based around the needs of the learner. In a sense, the metaverse is similar to how a traditional LMS provides a centralized learning experience. However, metaverse training allows learners to engage with content in exciting new ways—in particular, physically. Users can wander throughout the “learning world,” appearing as avatars in a real space. They can communicate with peers, managers, and facilitators in real time and face-to-face. This can open up opportunities for L&D to experiment with new ways of delivering role playing experiences.
Developing a community of learning
Metaverse learning is built around a virtual community space—a learning-based world in which the learner has autonomy of access and movement. In this space, teams can more efficiently transfer knowledge and generate their own content. Rather than emailing a subject matter expert for an explanation, they can meet in a communal space where documentation, schematics, learning modules, and more can easily be shared amongst the team. Other team members can quickly be brought into the virtual space to answer questions and provide guidance.
Get started right now
Many companies see VR as a “nice to have,” but it might be viewed as a cost prohibitive learning modality when scaling up. VR can require a significant investment in headsets, platforms, mobile device management, content creation, etc. If your organization is resistant to VR training, metaverse training may be a perfect option to get started with immersive training. Microsoft’s Mesh for Teams is a complete virtual world developed specifically for the needs of virtual teams. This can allow you to test a basic metaverse training program without the need to invest in VR headsets and platforms. Because it’s relatively simple to get started with basic metaverse training programs, you can effectively demonstrate the value to your business.
While the platform may be relatively new, the science behind the learning is sound. It’s important that before you launch into a metaverse training program, you first develop a comprehensive learning strategy. Contact us to learn more about how you can bring this innovative learning modality to your organization. At the same time, let’s talk about developing an effective training strategy that leverages the unique tools and technologies that will become impactful over the next decade.