Changing the Tide: Learning and Training in the Metaverse

Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore pushed the colonial class abroad in 1901. No longer confined to brick-and-mortar classrooms, students learned under the shade of mango trees standing on the cool calm of red perbhum soil. .

It was as if holistic learning was only possible in the open air – through the dismantling of factory-style learning spaces and the hardening of thought. Unlike Tagore, the importance of curiosity, play, and disorder were ideas that continued to develop in education.

However, very few have taken it to the level of the material where the cookie-clip class itself, as a space, has been brazenly disrupted and reimagined. In his 2015 interview with architect Larry Kearns, who has worked on mixed learning spaces for Chicago boarding schools, author Michael B. . and rearranging the classroom into open studio spaces and “pop-up classrooms.”

But those class expulsions from the end walls or those of disturbing the spatial hierarchy automatically granted to the teacher, found a strange resurrection in the metaverse. I met with Dr. Alex Holland, co-founder and president of the virtual world platform Virbela, to understand how the metaverse is disrupting traditional teaching and learning spaces.

From the physical to the physical

Virtual reality platforms such as Virbela show that it is ergonomically possible to move from the physical realm of a classroom or corporate training room to a hyper-realistic learning space. While it’s safe to say Zoom, YouTube, and other platforms already offer educational opportunities that aren’t limited to physical buildings, Metaverse dives a little deeper by focusing on spatial immersion.

Howland likens it to the energetic experience of reading a novel and immersion in the plot, setting and lives of the characters. As opposed to passively consuming learning material from the talking head or voiceover in a video, learning in virtual reality creates an elusive sense of movement and agency. For example, in the Virbela platform, a learner can accompany their avatar to a community center to learn about global warming, dance to a rooftop concert, stop by saying hello to another avatar, or join a group. Wireless waiting to raise a technical issue with IT staff. . With a host of customizable architectural features, many universities, including Stanford University, which hosts some of its leadership programs on this platform, are beginning to take their courses into the metaverse.

Not only do Virbela’s Frame products imitate real architectural constructions of campus environments, but they allow for complete customization of environments by people with “enough novice technical skills” to build their own environment. Some teachers have built environments from extracts of marine life taken from the Great Barrier Reef and sent their students on a journey into the blue underworld of ancient coral reefs. Some took their students’ avatars to Australia’s outer shores at 18

Convicted Twentieth Century Ships Learn about the History of Criminal Deportation and Settlements. Referring to the e-commerce company, which uses the Virbela campus to train employees, Dr. Howland highlights how the company’s virtual achievement center serves as a classroom for new employees who are trained in hardware, security, entry and exit boxes, etc. . Without having to attend a crowded distribution center.

This shift from traditional learning spaces and passive learning patterns to atypical intangible universities and immersive learning environments in cyberspace indicates a significant shift in the spatial identity of learning habitats.

From teacher to learner

Consumer culture and the democratization of online education have eliminated the status of the teacher’s desk.

The teacher’s number is no longer the only source of authority in the classroom, with countless hyperlinks and free access to information, the learner has become the center stage. Metaverse platforms like Virbela focus the learner in their fun environments that range from cellular classrooms to alternative peer-to-peer learning, virtual outdoor spaces and other spaces.

This detachment from the formality of physical learning spaces has led to the creation of more interactive and streamlined learning environments, able to integrate learners from different parts of the world who cannot travel in the same physical learning space.

But, as with most things in life, changing tides also have complex ramifications. In his article, “Why Digital Avatars Make the Best Teachers,” Professor Jeremy Beilson spoke about the ability of virtual reality to ensure that no learners are left behind in virtual classrooms.

This is possible thanks to the follow-up of the physical movements of the teacher and the learner. Bailenson explains, “In a video game, a person must act intentionally to produce a behaviour. But in virtual reality, equipment tracking [can be integrated to] Find out what someone is doing and… redraw the avatar while performing the same action… however, users can change their feed in real time… for example, a teacher can choose to never display an angry expression on the computer. , but always replace it with a calm face. Or it can filter out distracting students’ actions, such as talking on cell phones.

Although he warns that “we must be careful not to cross the line between strategic shifts and outright deception,” one wonders whether such modifications herald an age of mechanical utopias that care little about influences. The psychological effects of these changing behavior patterns on both teachers and learners.

While the metaverse promotes a smooth and democratic learning space with de-focusing of the teacher/trainer and refocusing the learner, one must look for other forms of social engineering that replace the authority of the teacher.

Dr. Jaendrina Singha Rai’s research interests include postcolonial studies, literary-spatial studies, British literature, rhetoric and composition. Before teaching in the United States, she worked as a clerk at Routledge and taught English in colleges in India. She is a resident of Kirkland.

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