Technological advancements have led to the massive growth in the edtech sector. According to Valuates Reports, the edtech industry was valued at US$ 85 billion in 2021 and is expected to be valued at a whopping US$ 230 billion by 2028 thanks to a 15% CAGR (Valuates Reports, 2022).
The metaverse is heavily discussed as being a massive proponent to the growth of this sector. By adding a new dimension of interactivity through the combined use of AR, VR, and avatar creation, students around the world can expect a level of immersion in their lessons now more than ever before.
What does the data tell us?
According to a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum which considered the responses of more than 21,000 adults around the world, 66% of respondents expected the metaverse to change virtual learning within the next 10 years (Edmond, 2022).
Furthermore, data from Statista indicates that the education sector is the second largest business sector in terms of investment in the metaverse (12%) just behind the IT and computer sector (17%) (Statista, 2022).
It can be inferred from the above data that people are expecting the metaverse to play an active role in supporting education systems around the world while the education sector believes in its potential as indicated by the overall eagerness of the industry to invest into it.
Metaversity: A reality
Companies have already started creating unique experiences in the metaverse.
Roblox is one such example. Originally developed as a multiplayer game, it is now a massive platform with over 47 million active users. The company announced that it will invest US$ 10 million to enable users to create virtual learning spaces where students can learn, play, and socialize. It is mainly targeted at K12 students at present, but the company has expressed its interest in targeting university students as well (CoinYuppie, 2022).
Another example is Invact Metaversity. Heralded as the world’s first metaverse-based virtual learning platform, Invact aims to provide high-quality interactive university education using VR and interactive virtual spaces. Apart from this, the company will also allow students to convert their projects and assignments into NFTs which they can own and sell online (Agarwal, 2022).
Immerse aims to take language learning to the next level. It has raised US$ 11.5 million to become the world’s first metaverse-based VR education service company. It will use VR technology to teach world languages in an immersive manner. Students can interact and engage with their teachers and classmates in the language they have chosen to learn in real time from anywhere in the world. The company is planning to release several language courses in this manner over the course of this year.
What are the challenges?
Data security in the metaverse is critical – where is all this data being stored? Who has access to it?
Educational institutions will have to invest in hiring developers to build the virtual space or outsource it to other companies and even spend on VR headsets and augmented reality enabled devices. However, experts argue that the metaverse can be accessed using smartphones, tablets, and PCs. These devices are readily available, and most students and institutions already have access to them.
Many universities won’t buy into a virtual world when they can accomplish the same results through traditional classroom learning.
The future of the metaverse
According to research undertaken by Prophecy Market Insights, the global metaverse market is expected to reach a market value of a whopping US$ 947.12 billion (Prophecy Market Insights, 2022).
The possibilities of the metaverse are endless. The only limitation to the metaverse is your imagination. The technology, however, is still in its infancy. Many questions about it remain unanswered. One thing is for certain. The metaverse is not a replacement for the classroom. It is mainly a tool that enables interactive and hybrid learning. Keeping this in mind, institutions should familiarise themselves with the technology and keep exploring the possibilities which lie within the metaverse.
- Valuates Reports. (2022, March 31). EdTech Market Will Reach USD 230 Billion By 2028 Growing At A CAGR of 15%. Retrieved from PR Newswire: https://www.prnewswire.com/in/news-releases/edtech-market-will-reach-usd-230-billion-by-2028-growing-at-a-cagr-of-15-valuates-reports-874234620.html#:~:text=The%20global%20EdTech%20market%20size,15%25%20during%202022%2D2028.&text=Learners%20are%20increasi
- Edmond, C. (2022, May 25). How enthusiastic is your country about the rise of the metaverse? Retrieved from World Economic Forum: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/05/countries-attitudes-metaverse-augmented-virtual-reality-davos22/
- Statista. (2022, March). Leading business sectors worldwide that have already invested in the metaverse as of March 2022. Retrieved from Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1302091/global-business-sectors-investing-in-the-metaverse/
- CoinYuppie. (2022, May 5). A glimpse into the implementation of Metaverse + Education from four education technology companies. Retrieved from coinyuppie: https://coinyuppie.com/a-glimpse-into-the-implementation-of-metaverse-education-from-four-education-technology-companies/
- Agarwal, S. (2022, June 12). Schools, universities in the metaverse? Why virtual reality is catching edtech’s attention. Retrieved from ThePrint: https://theprint.in/tech/schools-universities-in-the-metaverse-why-virtual-reality-is-catching-edtechs-attention/988232/
Prophecy Market Insights. (2022, April 25). Metaverse Market is estimated to be US$ 947.118 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 38.8% during the forecast period. – By PMI. Retrieved from Yahoo! Finance: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/metaverse-market-estimated-us-947-135200316.html