The Metaverse buzz
They say - ‘Marriages are made in heaven’. Is it so? Ask Abhijeet Goel, and Sansrati and they would tell you that marriages are made in the metaverse. They had their wedding ceremony destination as a scenic beach side venue; not a first by any means. What was unique though was that they were present in their digital avatars and so were the guests, who too joined in via their digital avatars. A first indeed! A Marriage made in Metaverse! Metaverse is indeed buzzing all around the town and creating levels of curiosity peeping out of ignorance in many cases.
Every corporate citizens’ aspiration
Suddenly, every corporate citizen is aspiring to be in Meta making it the latest and the biggest goal for most of the world’s technology giants. For FMCGs, think of a product you need and lo and behold, a vending machine emerges near you stuffed with the products. A few touches here and there to select and pay and the item is delivered behind you at your doorstep, as you move on. The automakers would give you a completely unique ‘drive it to feel it right now’ experience. You missed your mom in Christmas, create Christmas and get mom back from whichever world she is now.
Meta from the Greek meta, meaning "after" or "beyond" or “transcending beyond”. Metaverse - a second world of alternate digital realities where people work, shop, play, interact, socialize. So, is it fair to understand that the metaverse is virtual reality (VR)? Mathew Ball, a pioneering theorist answers - “To say the metaverse is VR is to say the internet is a mobile app.” (Matthew Ball, 2018)
Matt takes is “best swing at a definition” and here it is:
“The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3 virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.” (Matthew Ball, 2018)
The verse ought to refer to the transactional interoperability of the alternate world of venue, stores, galleries, learning schools, which you can enter through an adopted avatar.
Application of metaverse
Metaverse will be a world of hardware, networks, content, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, extended reality, with ownerships, payments, participations, packages, portability, packability and all kinds of probabilities. A new second world so immersive, to which we all will eventually belong for work as well as pleasure. Thus, the quick low-hanging applications could be areas of education, medical, hospitality, military, real estate, and manufacturing.
Is L&D going to get a metaverse impact?
The ‘second world immersive’ metaverse is a world characteristic of its virtuality immersed in reality (VIR). I refer to virtually immersed reality (VIR) as the human experience of an unreal world so near to real that the differentiator between the real and the virtual as a factor of experience is minimalized.
We shall be allowed to explore and experience alternate worlds with not only ease but with near absolute authenticity. This shall facilitate high-quality alternate world representations, depictions, portrayals and experiences that can immensely impact our learning self. Conventional pedagogical approaches will try hard to achieve such a high level of effectiveness in highlighting concepts and enabling knowledge and experience transfer through visuals but can be no match to the virtuality immersed in reality (VIR) that metaverse would provide.
Metaverse would also break barriers of ageism, class, category, and domain boundaries. Science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) along with a liberal arts pedagogic offering with similar efficacy would offer an expansive intellectual grounding in all endeavors of humanistic inquiry. Continued management education would remain no stranger to this and learners of all age will lap up the convenience along with the experience.
4 possible areas of L&D that Metaverse can influence:
- Learning Management System: Multi-user Virtuality Immersed in Reality (MUVIR) will add exciting interactive features to existing LMS and make them more invitational. With interactions, the next thing that is going to change is the way instant-gratification would happen. That would enhance the degree of use by learners. The learning administrators would finally see some automatic pull than the pushing they had to resort to drive learning compliances. The LMS maturity curve then grows to capture new heights of maturity by adopting higher degrees of interoperability. Truly, all this for learning governance.
- Simulations: Simulations would no longer be fashionable in their current state. They would adopt new avatars. Simulations would outgrow an artificially created environment and enter the new alternate world of virtuality immersed in reality, to go beyond understanding but relating by experience - the time and decision-based conditions. This radically enhanced experience increases learning efficiency many fold. Fakeness goes out of management education and comes in added layers of authentic learning experience.
- Teaching methods: Every child, you and I could be inside the solar system to understand the sequence of the nine planets. We could be in orbit and experience the speed. Learning by imagination replaced learning by experience. Relativity would be less mysterious and more relational. Every first-time manager would then experience the situational judgment and face the business results on the face. Of course, the flipside of directness in virtuality immersed in reality (VIR).
- Group Facilitations: It would become possible to create the constructs of time, task, boundaries, and replicate very large system inclusive thinking in a compact alternate yet realistic world. Every aspect of human process growth as experienced in groups would have the possibilities of representation and replication in an enhanced world. Thus, raising the potential learning efficacy as the limits of involvement, communication, indulgence, and collaborations will see new highs.
What was ‘unlearnable’ or ‘unfeasible’ in learning and development could see new possibilities. The characteristic power of virtuality immersed in reality (VIR), directness, and high relativity will boost alternative methods in conceptual learning. Multidisciplinary exchanges have higher possibilities of transgressing the body of knowledge boundaries. Learning and development surely will take an even larger democratic leap in all fields of continued education, be it, STEM, liberal education or management and leadership development.
When intellect takes a leap, humanity grows leaps and bounds.