By Ali Nhari – Head of EMEA at Agora.
The last two years have accelerated the evolution of our digital lives – to the point that life in the digital world and life in the physical world are one in the same. Educators and students meet for virtual lessons. Professionals in most industries have learned to collaborate and succeed virtually. From social interactions to mental and physical healthcare, to entertainment and gaming, we’ve grown comfortable with the current reality that if you have an internet connection, you can move through daily life and accomplish your goals seamlessly switching from virtual to in-person settings.
What is the metaverse?
For anyone who is curious about the metaverse, we’ve been promised: The way we’re living virtually right now is helping us create the metaverse. Today, we mainly have these virtual experiences one at a time. The virtual classroom is a different setting than a virtual game. The metaverse differs from the virtual tools we’ve adapted quickly over the last few years in that it is a fully immersive experience that mimics the physical world itself – and then adds the kind of interactive features only the digital world can provide.
In other words, the metaverse will eliminate the friction that comes from continually switching between the physical world and virtual worlds. For educators and students, eliminating that friction and those inefficiencies will be a game-changer. It will allow more time for educating and learning. And it will foster a more creative, hands-on, and engaging way for students to learn.
We’re still near the beginning of the development of a unified metaverse. Businesses and organizations are still learning how to create virtual versions of physical-world experiences. But we’re learning and creating rapidly. By 2026, 25 percent of all people will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse – for any reason at all, including school. And educators have a lot of reasons to embrace and look forward to the further evolution of the metaverse.
What benefits could the metaverse bring to the education industry?
Real-time connectivity and collaboration across borders
In the metaverse, educational curriculum can be internationally executed. Students across the world can enroll themselves in classes and schools they wish to attend, as long as they have the necessary software to facilitate their participation.
As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, real-time engagement platforms will be front-and-center to driving seamless connectivity and collaboration, imitating a physical setting as closely as possible while allowing for experiential learning.
Students from around the world can exist in the same ‘classroom’ and participate in the same dialogue. Language barriers may also be removed with the use of live-AI translators, seamlessly ensuring that conversations are effortless and inclusive.
At the same time, students will no longer be required to be graded based on formal testing criteria. The metaverse opens a whole world of opportunities for aptitude grading mechanisms to understand how well a student is performing, beyond pen and paper examinations.
Increased student engagement
Immersive virtual experiences will make concepts and theories more tangible and memorable. In a history class, a teacher can transport students from one century to another in a virtual environment, allowing them to experience what life was like in the past and even witness life-changing moments such as presidential debates and historic milestones such as the fall of the Berlin Wall for example.
To drive geographic concepts, teachers could bring students to ‘visit’ tectonic plates and reinforce how tiny movements can result in natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes.
Within the metaverse, there are also no distractions. Smartphones and tablets will be tucked away as students wear their VR headsets and fully engross themselves within the lesson. Experiential learning is a proven way to drive excitement and better understanding of different concepts to subsequently boost test scores.
The future of the metaverse
Metaverse experiences are no longer unattainable. Slowly but surely, educational organizations will implement elements of virtual learning within their curriculum to drive better student engagement, regardless of where they are located.
At Agora, we are committed to working with educational partners to build a virtual classroom at any scale. To facilitate this, we will use a diverse set of engagement and collaboration tools that work reliably across the globe.
I’m personally excited for the future of education that spans beyond a classroom’s four-walls and allows for a multitude of ‘lived’ experiences, creating a generation of students who are curious, engaged, and brave.
About the expert
Based in the UK, Ali Nhari is Agora’s Head of EMEA. He brings in 20 years of experience in global B2B/B2C business development in the cloud communications industry. His expertise spans across HealTech, E-commerce, IT Security solution, and E-privacy. In his role at Agora, he continues to generate hyper-growth YTY in sales across EMEA and help expand Agora’s customer portfolio to many countries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in E-business from The University of Glamorgan and has a passion for Innovation.