How is XR and Metaverse shaping the future of immersive skill training
In 1895, a small audience in a café panicked and left the room as the projection of an arrival train was shown on one of the walls for the first time in human history. Although the term ‘Virtual Reality’ was coined in 1987, this was the first glimpse of the capabilities of virtual reality and how it can shape the lives of everyone and everything around us.
The world is one’s oyster when it comes to the Metaverse. It has many definitions, one by the author and investor Mathew Ball states that “Metaverse is an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3d worlds and simulations for multiple users with each having an individual sense of presence”. The user can connect, interact, and transfer themselves into various virtually created digital platforms using mixed reality headsets functioning with Metaverse technologies.
In layman’s terms, the Metaverse is much similar to the “Ready Player one” simulations where a user connects to an immersive world with all senses activated, analogous to the “Matrix”.
Primarily, the Metaverse is a sociological itinerary of the internet instead of a technological one. This means the metaverse technology is to enhance, and not to replace, the human experience.
Realism of the Metaverse
Before diving deep into the world of virtual reality or ‘Metaverse’, we first need to understand that reality is a human-centric term. It is how we perceive the physical world that defines our understanding of the reality around us. What appears to us as a reality could be different to a whale or to a microbiological organism. Ergo, Metaverse technologies create a virtual reality within our physical reality where users can learn, create, and communicate in an immersive fashion. The emotionality of this virtual world, the realism it provides to the human mind, and the simulations that the user experiences within the virtual reality, makes the immersive learning experience more engaging and impactful.
The Metaverse in Practice
Dr. Sandra Y. Okita, Assistant Professor at Columbia University, has recently published a paper stating that a mere interaction with an Avatar within a virtual reality helped students improve their learning experience.
Last year, the New Yorker published an article on the impact of immersive training for journalists working in hostile and dangerous territories. With mixed reality headsets on, the trainees entered a virtual landscape evincing the screams after a car bomb, the riots by violent mobs, plane crashes, dreadful sights, terrorist attacks, and much more were experienced by the trainees which eventually helped them prepare effectively for their future job as they were learning through experience for the future that is yet to come. Furthermore, some highly satisfied trainees even stated that the 3d world and simulations helped improve their decision-making skills in a way which seems impossible to be done at a journalism school or even at the field work.
Pharmaceutical giants including Novartis and Pfizer have developed virtual pharma labs to demonstrate and instruct the students on several minuscule and delegate medical processes to help them experience the environment of an actual life-saving medical operation without any risk to the patient in the real world.
Efficacy and Impact of Immersive Learning
VR, virtual reality, and AR, augmented reality, together creates XR, extended reality. The XR headsets equipped with immersive skill training programs post haste transforming the learning and working experience at every level. The realistic nature of the virtual environment helps corporations with faster and cost-effective career training and in-demand skill training programs at a wider range of occupations within the workforce. Technically for any job, the immersive skill learning provides trainees with real-time, true-to-life experience beyond the physical dimensions to bridge the elusive gap between training and workplace performance and learn complex skills in a high-risk environment with the safety and comfort of a light-weight mixed reality headset.
Continuing ahead, organisations are using immersive learning not just for in-demand skill training but for enhancing the communication, team cohesion, and work culture within their infrastructure. The companies are exploring new pathways to create more career options, reduce the time spent on training their employees, and improve their professional and educational landscape with the capabilities and quality of XR training platforms.