Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a devastating impact on the academic community. More than 90% of the world’s student population, or over 1.6 billion people, have had their education interrupted.
Online learning became a critical new tool due to this upheaval. Despite this, over 364 million people—29% of the world’s youth—are not connected to the Internet. To a large extent, the digital divide is larger than ever.
The good news is that we can help speed up the adoption of new technologies and make online education a standard practice. Assuming that idea holds, this will result in more innovative and open-minded approaches to education.
At KAIST, we confirmed that blended education worked effectively for our students. Therefore the whole world has effectively participated in an educational experiment. It allowed us to move away from the traditional teacher-centered paradigm and toward a more student-centered one, providing a fantastic chance to foster kids’ innovative thinking and teamwork. Students’ capacity to retain and apply what they learn is enhanced when instruction does adapt to their specific needs.
Ninety-six percent of respondents to a recent survey in Seoul, South Korea, agreed that the epidemic worsened the existing learning gap. In contrast, seventy-four percent decided that schools should implement a mixed approach to education consisting of both online and in-person instruction. We can see where we need to head in a new direction thanks to the comments made by KAIST students who have taken our online courses.
Utilizing a Virtual Environment (or “Metaverse”) to Foster Business Education and Interdisciplinary Teamwork
Deans of MBA programs believe that Virtual Reality offers the most potential for use in management training among the Metaverse’s many technologies.
With the new curriculum, there is more of an emphasis on combining different fields of study. Students from all walks of life, with interests spanning the humanities, the natural sciences, engineering, design, and even politics, may find the Metaverse an accessible learning environment.
The concept of globalization can also rethink. It is impossible to limit a virtual world to a certain location. For higher education, the Metaverse ushers in exciting new prospects, such as international and inter-institutional collaboration. The Metaversity makes it simple for speakers from around the world to participate in a virtual multi-location program and give presentations, seminars, and lectures using a digital double or avatar. In addition to preparing the next generation of sustainable leaders, this can lessen institutions’ environmental impact.
There will be a greater need for leaders who can effect radical change in the organization. Modern universities have the responsibility of grooming future leaders, and this calls for the use of innovative educational technologies like the
Metaverse and the relocation of traditional campus buildings to the online Metaversity.
Where Can We Go From Here to Investigate Metaverse for Higher Education?
Metaverse’s potential as a platform for advanced study remains to discover even for the best Metaverse development company.
There is tremendous potential for higher education in the Metaverse. Students now have access to more schools thanks to innovations like online college tours. Students from low-income backgrounds or underrepresented groups may not have the means to take a school field trip, yet they can still benefit from such excursions. The conventional college trip became an online experience during the pandemic. These tours are beginning to appear in the Metaverse, giving students a taste of what it would be like to attend college online.
The potential for metaverse-enabled educational experiences is investigated at several schools. The University of Miami in the United States provides students hands-on opportunities in medicine, architecture, climate change, and behavioral science. The university’s XR program provides a simulated operating room where students can practice administering anesthesia.
Universities and colleges used innovative methods to increase their reach and enrollment during the Covid-19 pandemic when traditional classrooms and campuses were closed. Educational institutions extensively researched the potential of metaverses and associated extended-reality (XR) strategies. How Metaverse can investigate higher education does demonstrate by the new roles of professors and technologies within the epidemic. 5G has the potential to completely transform the way we learn by bringing together a wide variety of new technologies on a unified platform.
Future developments and the emergence of the Metaverse
Author of the seminal science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” Neal Stephenson, coined the phrase “metaverse” in 1992. Video games and films like “Avatar” have since delved deeper into the idea. Metaverse also gained popularity after October 2021, when Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta.
As a result of the advent of the Metaverse, the concept of distance education will undergo radical change. Many people see the Metaverse as the next step for the Internet, but it has the potential to do much more. In May, Meta commissioned a white paper that predicted the global value of the metaverse economy may exceed $3 trillion by 2030.
Even if technological advancements have the potential to address numerous issues, they also bring their fair share of difficulties. One of the biggest obstacles in the metaverse environment is, for instance, interoperability. Assuring that digital asset developed in one Metaverse can utilize in another will be crucial to its widespread adoption. Despite these obstacles, the Metaverse has significant potential to impact many fields, including education. How well virtual reality education complements traditional approaches will determine over the next few years.
Metaverse has far-reaching educational consequences and will enhance the realism of college courses. A skilled labor force that can adapt to the demands of these emerging virtual environments will be in high order across many industries in the coming years.
Therefore, the following is a summary and synthesis of the Metaverse’s shared features:
Accumulation of Tools
The Metaverse, as reported by various studies (5G, AI, VR, AR, digital twins, blockchain, holography, IoT, Center for Journalism Studies of Tsinghua University, 2021; Kang, 2021; Shen et al., 2021; Sparkes, 2021; Lv et al., 2022; Park & Kim, 2022; Prieto et al., 2022) is more than just a new entity for VR (Internet of Things). The technical infrastructure’s components and functions may vary according to the domain (e.g., entertainment, commerce, education).
The meeting of the digital and physical worlds
The Metaverse’s defining characteristic is this. The items mapped or augmented from the actual world and the creations made in the virtual world are all included in the Metaverse, as indicated by the metaverse roadmap (Smart et al., 2007; Kye et al., 2021). Since the Metaverse will have less of a gulf between the virtual and real worlds, users will have a more realistic, multi-sensory, and convincing experience.
Fast, no-cost access
When coupled with a high-speed network, like 5G or 6G, smart wearable devices (such as headsets or glasses) allow users to enter the Metaverse instantly, with no restrictions on time or place (Ayiter, 2019; Prieto et al., 2022). From this vantage point, it allows users to easily and rapidly transition between the actual world and the virtual world via remote access, thereby realizing the benefits of both worlds.
One’s Electronic Signature
In the Metaverse, users can create their avatars to represent themselves online instead of using a premade one (Davis et al., 2009; Dionisio et al., 2013; Park & Kim, 2022). It is now possible to customize your digital persona to the smallest aspects, including your avatar’s face, body, and even expressions (Wei et al., 2004; Kocur et al., 2020). (Murphy, 2017). The online persona stands in for the user’s real-life ego. Further, users can exert influence over avatars using real-time tracking tools (Saragih et al., 2011; Genay et al., 2021). The digital identity of users, represented in the Metaverse by their living 3D avatars, plays a significant role in the Metaverse regarding ownership, engagement, embodiment, and sociability.
Multi-dimensional immersion and sensory overload
Vivid and colorful virtual sceneries created by technology can provide users with a profound immersion in the Metaverse (Shin, 2022; Zhao et al., 2022). Sensors, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) enables users to move, manipulate, and click virtual or projected objects, considerably motivating users’ many senses (Koo, 2021; Jovanovic & Milosavljevi, 2022; Park & Kim, 2022). The Metaverse, like Mark Zuckerberg’s “embodied Internet,” will allow users to enjoy experiences that are as real as, or even more real than, the real world itself (Bourlakis et al., 2009; Nevelsteen, 2017; Jovanovic & Milosavljevi, 2022).
Content that is both decentralized and editable
When it comes to altering virtual material’s attributes, position, or orientation, the Metaverse grants all users the same freedoms formerly reserved for organizations like developers on the traditional Internet. Users can make practically anything they can think of, just like Roblox and Facebook envisioned (Jeon, 2021; Zuckerberg, 2021). Players can also collaborate on and edit one another’s shared work (Taylor & Soneji, 2022). Users can now own and operate their digital properties with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their assets are protected and easily traceable thanks to advancements in security technology like blockchain (Vergne, 2021; Min & Cai, 2022; Vidal-Tomás, 2022).
In light of the preceding, we define the Metaverse as a 3D digital domain that combines the actual and virtual worlds and thereby escapes many of the physical world’s constraints (e.g., time and place). It gives options for users to change the contents and engage in a wide range of activities (e.g., working, studying, training, socializing, transacting) through avatars and in conjunction with other players and virtual objects. Experiences for users can be deeper, more realistic, and more embodied than ever.