The metaverse at the service of training
Based on the information we have cited in our previous articles on what metaverse is and the controversies surrounding it, it seems interesting to address the topic of metaverse in the service of training. Will employees have to be trained in new practices? Will training take place in this new world?
The metaverse applied to the world of training opens up new perspectives of immersive pedagogy and will impact many professions in the coming years.
We consider here the entire field of study: face-to-face, e-learning, blended, and on-the-job.
The “Learning Metaverse”
Metavers and training: some reminders
The COVID health crisis has accelerated the development of new uses linked to digital technology, particularly in the training as a whole, and therefore Open and Distance Learning (ODL), grouped in what is known as the ” e-learning “, defined by the Ministry of National Education as follows: ” Any training device that uses a local or wide area network or the Internet to disseminate, interact or communicate, including distance learning, in a distributed environment, accessing sources by downloading or viewing on the net. It may involve synchronous or asynchronous, tutored systems, self-study systems, or a combination of the above. E-learning is therefore the result of the combination of interactive and multimedia content, distribution media (PC, Internet, intranet, extranet), a set of software tools that enable the management of online training and tools for creating interactive training. Access to resources is thus considerably expanded, as are the possibilities for collaboration and interactivity “.
E-learning and the digital tools that make it up have therefore been placed at the heart of the news. Even if it is a pity that the “EdTech observatory” has disappeared in 2019, being dissolved on the website data.gouv.fr the “COVID-19” experience has awakened the actors of digital training.
The latest on “Learning Metavers”
The meta-verses in the service of training, learning and development will allow to maintain this awakening, a major challenge coupled with the management of innovative projects as well as the support to change.
On the side of the professional training actors (immersive learning, adaptive learning), but also of the agencies and organizations of customized and/or off-the-shelf training), one can imagine in blog publications:
- what/how their technology will fit into the metaverse;
- the expected benefits of metavers in training;
- future strategies to be developed for OFs and organizations.
Caution is often palpable. Nowadays, it is necessary to remain vigilant, because when someone tries to ” sell you HR applications based on the metaverse, most of the time they are based on virtual reality technology (with a headset for example) and not on a real metaverse “. ” What we see today is not metavers: they are virtual reality platforms, immersive or not, that is to say, either with a helmet or on the computer – but we are not yet really in the metavers “, reminds Pierre MONCLOS (UNOW, 2022).
This being said, here is an approach that can be encouraged: the project/product of Kwark Education which recently proposed its educational metaverse – ” MetaKwark ” – based on the virtual presence approach from cognitive sciences*, presenting an approach consisting of a “Corporate Metaverse“.
Nevertheless, we note thattotal immersion (via VR and its headsets) is absent from this metaverse: a lack that confirms the current global immaturity in building a training metaverse in congruence with the definition of metaverse in the broad sense. Especially since the benefits of this have been demonstrated in HSE training.
The work in educational innovation and its artifacts have shown the interests of gamification more easily integrated with VR, or how its use – sometimes a prerequisite in the design phase – in training course, is of great relevance (we change levels, we access a new mission, we enter a new episode) and thus participates in the success of the learner and his skills development.
Metavers and training: from description to prescription
We propose to make the following shift from a descriptive approach to a more prescriptive proposal regarding the meta-verse of training.
We think ofaccess to the training meta-verse as a marathon rather than a race against the clock.
Long-term thinking is indeed a necessary prerequisite, shared by many researchers, to avoid potential pitfalls related to technological innovations, but also to form alliances – not only partnerships – and invest.
The training meta-verse will not only be a matter of numbers (more than 1,400 people in videoconference at the same time, for example); numbers do not de facto determine quality. The human being must not be put aside or forgotten in favor of technology alone, of the mass.
This new parallel journey must be considered in a socio-technical context. And adding to the virtual presence approach of the ” MetaKwark ” base the phenomenon of “remote presence” in e-learning (Jézégou, 2019**), can ultimately prove complementary and efficient.
What are the tools of the “Learning Metaverse”?
We can already include the tools of the general metaverse: virtual reality (VR headsets, sensory sensors), augmented reality, blockchain, interconnection tools and technologies, NFTs and other digital currencies.
But training tools in the strict sense? On the one hand, we have a current offer that is plethoric; a new world whose number of planets is not yet limited, and on the other, the training which is certainly a defined disciplinary field, but which has been reinventing itself for 30 years, by multiplying accesses, sources, supports, by innovating technologically speaking, by surfing on the NTIC.
Here is what will form the first base:
- training platforms (LMS)
- authoring tools (content creation – LCMS)
- Training Management Systems (TMS)
- all the pedagogical modalities of the ” Digital Learning “: distance learning (e-learning, virtual classrooms/meetings, audio and video podcasts) and hybrids (don’t forget the classroom, the MOOCs and its cousins COOCs and SPOCs, social learning), immersive (such as Serious Games), all at the service of the trainees, teachers/lecturers/trainers/experts.
If numbers are not everything, neither is the multiplicity of tools. Also, to avoid the legitimate backlash to which we expose ourselves (“of course, it’s a catalog, a listing of ” Digital Learning ” , but so what? “), the corollary of tools would be the composition, the organization of this environment equipped with all these tools. What would this universe look like? The best way to get started is to watch the video below:
What would it consist of? Many planets, for sure:
- the ” e-learning ” planet of course;
- but also the ” podcast learn ” planet;
- the ” learning library ” planet where teachers, doctoral students, and trainers would come for inspiration;
- the ” meta-school ” planet, where we could imagine an advanced version of the GLOWBL tool, linked to MICROSOFT virtual classroom technologies;
Planets, places specific to the theme, to the disciplinary field on which you want to increase your skills, transmit or even create knowledge.
Creating alliances around this common universe would also be part of the foundations of this meta-verse of training.
This ideation phase could extend and last, and would follow the improvement and specialization of digital training tools and environments as the technologies behind the scenes change and/or evolve, as links with other metavers are possible, offering a constantly evolving “learning metaverse“.
All the planets of our universe having not been found at the same time, it will surely be the same for the emergence of those which will compose the “Learning Metaverse“.
Conclude… in the opening
Today, in the world of corporate training, there are few references, case studies, or hindsight on the advent of the metaverse, whether professional or academic.
There is therefore a wide range of possibilities for improving what already exists, drawing inspiration from it and imagining, considering, creating and developing a version of the training meta-verse, over a “long period of time”, in collaboration rather than in competition, by approaching it from a socio-technical point of view.
Finally, the idea of a hybrid “Learning Metavers” in its access as well as in its uses can also begin to be considered.
The film has only just begun; its script will be expanded, rewritten, shot, turned around, in the months and years to come.
If you are interested in the subject of innovation related to training, the SQORUS teams are here to help you. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss it.
* the feeling of self-presence, the feeling of spatial presence, the feeling of virtual co-presence (virtual interactions with others).
** “the result of a mediated relational dynamic between learners, between learners and teacher (or trainer) within a digital communication space.”
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