ENTER A NEW ERA OF TRAINING WITH THE METAVERSE
Just when you thought that technology couldn’t be more advanced, Facebook comes out with something new.
Or Meta I should say. The technology conglomerate’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebrand in the fall, and the news – particularly what it means for our everyday life– is still sinking in for everyone.
In the statement, they said “Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.”
I think everyone’s next question was “What is the Metaverse?” The statement continues with:
“The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world.”
I don’t know about you, but I still had some questions after this.
Essentially, the Metaverse allows us to be together virtually in as realistic a way as possible. They do it through projections that display onto what Meta refers to as the “physical world.”
So, it’s a combination of highly advanced virtual reality and augmented reality that blends into the real world for an immersive experience. The metaverse is predicted to impact social connection, entertainment, gaming, fitness, work, education, and commerce. Which led me to think about how it could impact corporate training.
Before I talk about that, I’m going to ease you into the concept of the metaverse by getting you to consider the entertainment industry. When you go to a normal concert, you hope your favorite artist will be in a city near you, then you buy tickets as soon as they are available and hope they don’t sell out. You travel to the concert venue and – depending on where you are – probably book a hotel to stay in. You get to the venue and stand in line, find your seat, and take in the artist right in front of you.
A concert in the metaverse, however, has no physical limitation on how many tickets can be sold. It is all virtual, but much more immersive than what you are picturing in the context of a live virtual concert. Instead of watching a live stream video, you would use a VR headset to enter a world where your avatar is in the crowd of the concert. You can also talk to the people around you attending the concert, and essentially view the concert the same way you would in person.
This has many pros and cons to it. Pros would be you save the travel, you don’t have to be stressed about tickets selling out, and you get to experience your favorite artist in an elevated way compared to a traditional live concert on a video screen because you get to feel like you’re in the atmosphere and have to ability to engage with other concert-goers. Cons would be that you aren’t truly seeing your favorite artist in person, you may still miss out on the atmosphere and experience of a real-life concert, and you may not get the same excitement that comes with the process of truly experiencing a concert from start to finish. A Metaverse concert may be nice, but I don’t think we can deny it’s not the same thing.
The metaverse in the entertainment industry, while definitely a very big concept to grasp, feels generally harmless. Entertainment presents itself in a lot of different ways, and perhaps this is just society evolving with the times.
But when we start to think about ways the metaverse could impact our everyday lives, such as how we work or how we do business, we can really see how this is projected to be a major change in our society.
Zuckerberg has discussed the various benefits of working in the metaverse. These include:
- No commute (simply put on your VR goggles)
- Interact with colleagues as avatars
- Attend meetings, give presentations, do all work in a VR world
- Have your ideal workstation
This refers to how work is getting done, but it also impacts how people will do business. The metaverse serves the potential for any industry to do things differently, from fashion to real estate to the training industry. It also has a major impact on marketing and advertising in a virtual economy that is in the metaverse. We can’t predict consumer behavior in the metaverse the same way we can in the real world.
When we look at the metaverse in the context of the training industry, I’d predict that many of the same rules regarding working in it would apply. In terms of experience, it’s comparable to the metaverse concert I just discussed.
If training in the metaverse took place, people would sign up online and would use VR headsets to enter an immersive classroom. The trainer’s avatar would stand at the front of the room, and the trainee’s avatars would be seated throughout. The trainer could deliver their material in the closest thing to a classroom without being in a real one. Trainees could break out and converse with each other, making for a more engaging experience.
While the LMS will always be the most convenient way to train, as it is instructorless and self-paced, the metaverse could be the next level of live virtual instructor-led training. It could very easily replace what we are currently doing for this style of training. When I refer to virtual instructor-led training (or VILT), I’m talking about training that takes place on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It will be very interesting to see how huge companies such as these ones react once the metaverse is more mainstream.
There is definitely potential there. You could have an unlimited number of learners and train people all over the world without some of the hang-ups that come with online learning. There’s also potential for augmented reality to be used to highly enhance in-person training sessions. It isn’t hard to see the good that the metaverse could bring for engaging training and transforming the way we work.
I think the consensus on this is going to be quite similar to anything regarding the metaverse. There are definitely clear benefits and potential for success, but also concern.
But we can’t ignore the skepticism that many of us also feel about the metaverse.
Many people have questions regarding how healthy it is to spend extended periods of time in a virtual space or with AI all around us. However, others believe that the metaverse won’t be as all-consuming as it is coming off as in the promotional content surrounding it.
The reality is that the concept of the metaverse is so vast, and its complexity at this time in the world can feel unsettling. We can’t see it as black and white because there is no denying that the metaverse can and will be good and bad.
We can’t fully predict what will come out of it and how much we will come to rely on it because it is so new to us. It’s hard to fathom all the different ways it will impact socializing, economics, working, and every other part of our society. The best thing we can do is all make an effort to understand the ethics of it and work to use the metaverse for good. Not to mention being highly prepared for how it will impact the ways you advertise, market, provides services, do business, and train your employees.
We are entering a new era of technology many people found unfathomable. This comes with new challenges and opportunities, and we must remain adaptable to thrive in it.