VR – the new playground for learning

Roger James Hamilton on why the metaverse has a role to play in education 

Engaging a child’s attention to learn something new can be a challenge and keeping their attention can be even harder. Young people today are typically very comfortable with the ever-changing fast-paced world of technology, and these days even children as young as five years old know how to use an iPhone or tablet. Most households in this modern age have at least two or three technological devices and young people are pioneering their use.

What isn’t evolving at this pace is the education system as it stands. Curriculums tend to be stagnant, and the teaching method of students listening to the teachers in class and reciting the information in tests and exams remain. What this model fails to consider is that young people are all different with a variety of strengths and weaknesses and that they consume information differently from previous generations. They are more likely to seek out information in an interactive way, often through video content. 

Some schools in the US and the UK have started using a popular online platform called Kahoot! – which is essentially a learning tool across various subjects including Science and Maths. The platform is fun, interactive and blurs the lines between gaming and learning, where children are encouraged to compete with classmates through a leader board. It aims to increase engagement, motivation, enjoyment, and concentration to improve learning performance and classroom dynamics. Through various studies and research, the overall conclusion is that this method of learning engages young people and most importantly is beneficial.

The truly exciting part of using the metaverse for learning is the endless possibilities the space presents that surpass traditional methods 

The metaverse is the latest digital innovation that has ruffled a few feathers but has also gained much interest and excitement from large companies that can see the value and potential it holds. A recent study carried out in the US by Tweens and Teens, The Common Sense Census showed how many hours a day young people between the ages of 8 and 18 years old spend on screen time, outside of any school work. The average amount of hours among teenagers is seven hours a day, demonstrating the opportunity to leverage these hours with educational content, presented in a fun and engaging way. Young children are at the forefront of bringing this technology to mass adoption as both consumers and creators. The metaverse started out as a niche computer gaming technology but has now developed into a potentially game-changing technology for both personal use and business.

Combining the technology of the metaverse with educational content will create a hybrid platform for learning which in turn can allow content creators and tech experts to collaborate within an engaging and exciting new space. Students will have the option of extra curriculum resources within the metaverse, designed to keep them engaged and complement existing day-to-day learning. I think, the truly exciting part of using the metaverse for learning is the endless possibilities the space presents that surpass traditional methods such as textbooks. As it is essentially a virtual world, it can ultimately deliver educational content in a much more imaginative and creative way. This will, in turn, encourage students to become life-long learners and of course, makes it much more widely accessible. As we know, it’s important to instil in children a love and passion for learning, from a young age.

Through the metaverse, educators can engage young minds with the type of educational content that will enable them to become leaders of the future which will be presented in a way that is tailored to each student. One of the biggest issues today is that some students graduate but are then unable to find a job. This may be because they are being taught a curriculum that suited a world before technology had advanced so exponentially. This shift towards a digitalised way of working and living requires a new skill set, which is not provided by western education systems. This outdated model needs to be replaced with an alternative curriculum, which will see young people graduating and creating jobs for themselves and others as opposed to relying on finding a job. Increasing the number of entrepreneurs worldwide has proven to benefit the economy.

The almost tangible, hands-on experience that virtual learning offers children can help them gain a better understanding of the world and how things operate. With the aid of such technology, teaching abstract concepts to students is made simpler and more engaging.

Within the virtual learning platform, young people can communicate with their teachers, peers and friends in a secure environment. It fosters innovation and expands academic interests.
There is no better time than now to introduce children to virtual learning as it provides an environment that values education and mindset. Through the metaverse, content creators can place emphasis on how to learn, not what to learn, as each course and programme can be designed to suit the learner. With decentralised and open-source learning platforms becoming increasingly available, opportunities will arise to educate the incoming generations in a more relevant and engaging way. This will ultimately inspire young people to develop a passion for lifelong learning, setting them up for success in their adult lives. 

Roger James Hamilton is a New York Times bestselling author and founder and CEO of Genius Group.

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