Education is a continuously evolving process that must keep up with the times to provide the best and most relevant results. The world had improved immensely since the pre-literate societies when people taught others using storytelling and imitation.

Teaching methods, class design, and classrooms have dramatically transformed over the past 100 years. Knowledge became more accessible and not only limited to wealthy individuals or specific groups of people, leading to free public education.

Programs also became more diverse, and children and adults could enjoy more relatable and practical content and syllabuses. Priorities also changed over time, encouraging schools and other educational facilities to offer more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses.

Yet, the past two years have been unprecedented regarding rapid changes due to the pandemic. Remote learning became necessary, and educators had to rely on technology to combat that disruption and ensure their students adopt knowledge uninterruptedly.

But we aren’t returning to the pre-COVID approach and using tech in education is here to stay. Here’s why.

How is Technology Revolutionizing Education?

According to the Education Technology Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report, the global education technology market size reached the value of USD 106.46 billion in 2021. Moreover, it will likely expand at a CAGR of 16.5 percent from 2022 to 2030.

Educational technology (Ed/Tech) will keep pace with the latest innovative tech, including AR/VR, Metaverse, and AI, allowing people to learn in collaborative and accessible spaces. The Middle East will not stay behind these trends, as the Ed/Tech market will increase at a CAGR of 9.8 percent from 2020 to 2027.

This widespread transformation will revolutionize education by making it more efficient and engaging and ensuring it addresses the needs of the younger generations. However, it will also make it easier for every adult to access the classes and workshops, regardless of location.

Some technologies will have a more significant role than others due to their relevancy and ability to accommodate the needs and goals of educators and students. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Metaverse are among the pillars of Ed/Tech, as they allow people to immerse themselves in classes without being physically present.

No wonder many believe these technologies are the future of education. Hence, not understanding them or considering their use could make the learning content and techniques less efficient and relevant.

What is Virtual Reality (VR)?

Virtual reality is a simulation of a 3D environment, allowing users to explore and engage with a digital surrounding using the headset that stimulates their senses. As a result, people feel no difference between the natural world and the artificial realm.

Developers use computer software and hardware to create this setting, but the users must wear adequate devices to block out the external noise and interact with the 3D world. Although it sounds like a modern, sci-fi concept, virtual reality has been with us for a long time.

American cinematographer Morton Heilig developed VR tech in 1957, but his device was called Sensorama. But how does VR work in education?

Virtual reality classes and workshops can unfold in digital classrooms or any environment that offers a comfortable atmosphere and accommodates everyone’s needs. However, the participants must use a headset or other device that enables interaction with the virtual world.

Moreover, VR allows people to explore every topic and understand the interconnectedness between things instead of relying on definitions and illustrations. Since this is an immersive environment and it is often hard to tell apart from the physical world, students’ minds can be more engaged than traditional learning methods.

What is Metaverse?

The metaverse represents a network of 3D virtual worlds that the users can access and navigate using the VR headset or a two-way hologram communications device. Even though it is still more of an abstract concept than tangible technology, the metaverse will likely be the ultimate simulation, providing people with the physical sensation of genuinely being there.

Since this tech enables the users to have authentic experiences and humanize digital interactions, this is a stellar way to connect learners from all walks of life. That’s essential for adult learning, balancing job-related activities and classes easier.

Education in the metaverse encourages meaningful engagement and can make educational content more accessible, varied, and immersive. As a result, the learners can safely practice the lessons, collaborate with others, and experiment with their ideas while physically being in a different place.

What’s the Difference Between the Metaverse and VR?

The metaverse stands for a shared digital space accessible via the internet and will likely become the most significant virtual world everyone can access. On the other hand, the VR environment’s size is more limited and requires the users to have the headset to enter and interact.

However, these two technologies might intertwine, as people can use augmented reality (AR) and VR devices to explore the metaverse. The metaverse-VR combination would also allow more well-rounded learning experiences and lessons in the digital world.

Merging the Metaverse and VR Technologies with Education in the Middle East

 All students – children and adults in the Middle East- were already disadvantaged before COVID regarding education and learning. Even though the pandemic exacerbated this issue, it forced educational organizations and institutions to introduce online classes efficiently.

Ed/Tech allows complete access and helps involve more people in the learning process. According to Arabian Business, Ed/Tech is the silver bullet to the Middle East’s education sector post-pandemic, including adult learning, because it can drive resilient future and economic growth.

Some countries, such as the UAE, already plan to increase their investments in e-learning initiatives by 60 percent by 2023. Moreover, a recent UAE survey found that 69 percent of people believe artificial intelligence and virtual reality will significantly impact education in the future.

Hence, learning and teaching methods will undoubtedly undergo innovation in the Middle East in the years ahead, making remote and adult learning more sophisticated, advanced, accessible, and efficient. The metaverse and VR will likely play the central role in this process, providing engaging literacy tools and making knowledge adoption more enjoyable and immersive.

According to recent research, VR learners are four times faster to train in virtual reality than in the classroom and 275 percent more confident to apply their new skills afterward. That is stellar news for adult learning and businesses because it accelerates the process and decreases the costs due to not requiring in-person training.

Thus, approximately 75 percent of 36 million adults needing literacy support have access to smartphones they could use to access VR learning. But the value of using the metaverse and VR in education and adult learning isn’t merely technical.

It also allows learning and connection in an engaging digital setting, intentional practice, exploring different methods, and safe practicing in challenging situations.

Written by: Hanan Nagi – CEO

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