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Can the metaworld improve learning? New research finds some promise

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 Can the metaworld improve learning?  New research finds some promise

Metaworld is the latest technological frontier with Facebook (now called Meta) and other technology giants in a hurry to build a parallel social and professional universe in virtual and augmented reality. And many schools and colleges are wondering: Will this new field work for education?

A new study co-authored with one of the world’s most renowned edtech efficacy researchers, Richard Mayer, offers some answers to this question.

In the journal Contemporary Educational Psychology, Mayer is considered the most productive educational psychologist in the world. a highly cited theory of multimedia learning.

And his latest scientific paper, published just last week, describes an experiment designed to test the hypothesis that a VR lesson will be more effective than the same lesson conducted through standard video.

The study involved about 100 high school students who took a short “virtual trip” to learn about climate science. Some students experienced the tour by wearing a VR headset, while others watched the same material in standard video on a computer screen.

Researchers have suggested that students who watch VR will notice more fun and more interest, and that as a result they will be better able to test the material.

The results have been promising for those creating the metaverse. VR group students scored significantly better scores immediately after the test and the test that was set later. And the VR group reported “highest ratings of presence, interest and satisfaction,” the report said.

“The findings support a deeper understanding of how creating a unique educational experience that feels real (i.e., creating a high level of presence) through immersion technology can impact learning through a variety of affective and cognitive processes, including fun and interest.” , – write Mayer and his colleagues.

The VR experiment was short – only about nine minutes. “Virtual travel shows that even short virtual trips can affect long-term results due to increased interest in the subject,” the researchers said.

The document notes the obvious logistical benefits of virtual travel than getting on a bus for a personal walk. “Virtual travel allows you to experience things that are too expensive, dangerous or impossible in the real world,” it said. The experiment did not consider the difference in educational value between real and virtual travel.

Gregory A. Heiberger, deputy dean for teaching and student performance at the University of South Dakota, said the results are encouraging for those who want to teach VR if VR materials are well designed for use in the curriculum.

“Students need to be motivated. They need to be excited. They need to be focused. And it gives them a different experience, ”he says. “It’s a really well-thought-out experiment that says,‘ It changes the game. This is groundbreaking. It’s different. “

He stressed, however, that there are bigger questions about the wider effort to create a metaverse. “I don’t want to pretend I have pink glasses,” he says. “There is a great deal of concern about what the future of the metaworld looks like for communities [social] interaction, for data privacy ”and other issues.

But he says that for programs such as nursing, pharmacy and medicine, VR seems promising to teach some skills as part of a broader curriculum that also includes personal practical training.

“If we can do things in meta-faith [a university in the metaverse] or a VR experience that is more tactile or practical than 2D simulation, ”he adds,“ then it’s powerful.

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