Prof. (Dr.) Suresh C. Joshi
Director, Digital & Online Learning
Shree Guru Govind Singh Tricentenary (SGT) University
Chandu-Budhera, Gurugram – 122505
Metaverse is essentially a virtual world, which is a collection of several technologies, i.e., augmented reality, virtual reality, spatial computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It may have the potential for creating a multifaceted virtual platform and to provide a synthetic stimulus and teleportation to different domains in education. In the classrooms, Metaverse can help enhance the experiential learning capabilities of the curriculum. It can revolutionize education by providing immersive experiences that were not possible before. Students can practice and correct mistakes without harming anyone, which can provide a safe environment for learning in various hands-on disciplines. The use of artificial entities can provide personalized teaching without the need for a real person.
Today’s classrooms are undergoing a complete transformation with the integration of the physical and digital world, creating ‘phy-gital’ spaces. With the Metaverse, students can travel through time, into the future, or to places that are not physically accessible. While in a traditional conventional classroom, it’s the cognitive domain of the brain that gets impacted. However, in Metaverse one can experience the things and become a part of the activity. Such involvement has implications for learning in the cognitive, effective, and psychomotor domains. Predictive analytics can be used in Metaspace for assessing learning experiences and for analyzing outcomes that can help improve decision-making.
There are some challenges in implementing Metaverse in the classrooms. A key challenge is that the technology is still in the experimental phase and being tested in the metaspace. The barrier to the technology may be the physical aspect of it, i.e., the equipment, availability of the network, and the digital infrastructure. Another challenge is the integration of augmented reality or virtual reality into Metaverse, which itself is in its infancy. While many things can be done effectively in virtual reality, a few things such as secure payments aren’t yet fully secure. It may take a few years for Metaverse to reach its full potential. The real challenge would be around how we adopt Metaverse without getting addicted to it, and how we think of technology and humanity together.
According to research from Cornell University, the developing concepts of Metaverse fit precisely in line with the future living in the world of digital natives and digital generations. Multisensory experiences in the Metaverse offer users a more immersive experience and can enhance empathy and human connection by allowing people to interact with each other in a digital environment. These results can be helpful for the gaming, entertainment, and education industry. The entire business enterprise can be authenticated and presented in Metaverse. The potential application of the metaverse may also be in the world of finance. With the advent of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it becomes clear that the traditional financial sector is ripe for disruption. The Metaverse could provide a platform for individuals and businesses to interact with each other, transact in virtual currencies, and create and exchange NFTs. Some companies have already started exploring the possibilities of the metaverse. Sony, for example, is developing motion-sensing technology that could be used in conjunction with head-mounted displays to create a more immersive experience in the metaverse. Adidas and Nike have both opened digital studios where customers can create custom products in a virtual environment.
Undoubtedly, there are significant challenges to the widespread adoption of the Metaverse. There is a need to distinguish between the virtual and physical worlds. As more and more of our lives are spent in digital spaces, it becomes increasingly important to be able to differentiate between the real and virtual worlds. Also, there is a need to look into the cost effectiveness. Companies and educational institutions will need to invest in the necessary hardware, software, and personnel to make the most of the Metaverse. Regulatory challenges also loom large. The use of NFTs in the metaverse, for example, raises questions about ownership and copyright that have yet to be fully resolved. In addition, the fact that the Metaverse is not governed by a single regulatory agency raises concerns about data privacy and security.
The metaverse is likely to be shaped by the collective imagination of the stakeholders. As more people explore the possibilities of this new technology, it will continue to evolve and change in ways that we cannot yet imagine. In a way, Metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way we live, work, learn, and communicate by creating immersive, interactive virtual environments that are not limited by physical space or time.
The future of the metaverse is bright, and the potential applications are limited only by our creativity and our willingness to embrace the possibilities of this new world.
P.S.: The write-up of the article is based on one of the Webinars conducted by the author (https://youtu.be/rwM9k-hgI-E) and may contain the thoughts of the industry experts from the Webinar.