Walking the Metaverse Talk

It is critical for everyone on the Learning team to strive to become technology explorers.

Metaverse technologies have been dominating headlines for the last year—in fact, “metaverse” almost made it to word of the year in dictionaries in 2022.

These technologies represent the next evolution of the Internet, encompassing a broad range of technologies, including 3D and gaming worlds, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), as well as blockchain-based digital assets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

At this point, most Learning leaders we speak with are generally familiar with metaverse technologies and how they might apply to their work. Some have even started to run pilots to test new learning experiences and ways of working.

What we often observe, however, is that while many Learning professionals talk about and use these technologies with their customers, only a few experiment with them personally and within their teams. Those who do are often avid gamers or natural technology enthusiasts.

Yet, to truly walk the metaverse talk, it is critical for everyone on the team to strive to become technology explorers, trying out new headset experiences, immersive gaming platforms, and even digital communities and tokens.

Hands-on Exploration

Most Learning professionals conceptually know the benefits of VR training, including:

  • Global accessibility: Instead of requiring people to travel to a specific location, VR allows them to participate from any location with an Internet connection.
  • Social learning: Immersive settings allow learners to work together and share knowledge in real time, as well as recreate real-world interactions via sidebar conversations and spatial breakout rooms.
  • Sustainability and safety: Materials and resources are not wasted, and learners are not put at risk (with safety training being a great example).
  • Learning retention: The immersive nature of the metaverse also can make training more engaging—increasing retention by 33 percent.

But if your team is not actively using immersive, gamified experiences for personal learning and collaboration, there is an opportunity to walk the talk even more. Whenever I engage with clients, I always take them through hands-on tours and demos of a variety of platforms to give them a personal taste of these technologies in action.

Here’s how to get started with similar hands-on exploration with your team:

1. Get a personal VR headset (if you already have one, encourage your team to get ones, too). Don’t let it gather dust on your desk. Regularly research and try new immersive, engaging experiences to see where the technology is strong and still emerging. Horizon Worlds from Meta, for instance, has many events and learning experiences that can provide these insights. They also can be used with teams for collaboration and learning together.

2. Explore gaming platforms such as Roblox, Fortnite, and/or Decentraland to experience gamification, engagement, and digital assets, which increasingly are making their way into the learning world. Put yourself in the user’s shoes, and get help from avid gamers if possible. I regularly ask my kids, for instance, to try out Roblox worlds with me to get their feedback on the experience. You also can join a variety of Discord servers to stay on the pulse of a project’s community and the user experience.

3. Explore the decentralized world by buying digital collectibles or finding token-gated experiences. While training-related use cases of blockchain, such as digital credentials, are still in their early stages, it’s important for Learning professionals to get familiar with digital wallets and tokens, which will form their foundation. The MetaMask digital wallet, for instance, is a free, easy way to start—and provides the gateway to many decentralized experiences.

LEAN in to Technology

Metaverse technologies are transforming the training and collaboration space, so Learning leaders must actively lean into and try the technologies to keep up with the rapid pace of change.

Yulia Barnakova
Yulia Barnakova is passionate about helping people develop the skills and learning mindset to thrive in the digital age. She is always experimenting with emerging technologies and has been recognized by Microsoft as a “Most Valuable Professional” for her creative presentation technology tutorials, which have more than 8 million views on YouTube. Her recent TEDx Talk, Think You’re Not Tech Savvy? Here’s Why You Are, shows how everyone can (and must) develop the mindset and skill set embrace technology. Barnakova is an emerging tech strategist for Accenture, a global technology consulting firm. In her role, she works with Fortune 500 leaders to envision how emerging technologies will transform their business and how to stay ahead.