Exploring the Metaverse and Education
We are beginning to see articles and initial research covering what education and learning might look like in the metaverse (which in one definition means a virtual reality or VR space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users). Here are some readings we encourage you to explore:
The EdSurge article Can the Metaverse Improve Learning? New Research Finds Some Promise discusses a research study co-authored by Richard Mayer, one of the world’s leading researchers on the effectiveness of educational technology. The study, Benefits of Taking a Virtual Field Trip in Immersive Virtual Reality: Evidence for the Immersion Principle in Multimedia Learning, describes an experiment with just over 100 middle school students taking a brief “virtual field trip” to learn about climate science that tests the hypothesis that a VR lesson would be more effective than the same lesson delivered via standard video. Some students experienced the field trip while wearing a VR headset, while others watched the same material in standard video on a computer screen. The students in the VR group scored significantly better on an immediate post-test and on a test given later in the term. And the VR group reported “higher ratings of presence, interest, and enjoyment,” according to the report.
The Brookings Institution recently issued a policy brief titled A whole new world: Education meets the metaverse which offers a path for bringing best educational practices into the metaverse. The policy brief suggests a series of well-worn principles derived from the science of learning to guide the design of new educational technology, as well as ways in which design in this new space can go wrong. There is also discussion about those creating educational products for the metaverse partnering with educators and scientists.