The last couple of years saw an inherent slowdown in the development or adoption of any new cutting-edge innovations in eLearning. The impact of the Coronavirus brought eLearning into focus as schools, colleges, and corporate organizations all made extensive use of eLearning to train students and employees, respectively. The new year brings to us several possibilities and opportunities to try out and explore new facets of eLearning technologies. This blog will showcase some thoughts and ideas on what could be some of the key eLearning trends for 2023.
The Metaverse as a Platform for Learning
The term “Metaverse” has been around for a while now. Interest picked up when Mark Zuckerberg decided to make “Meta” the parent company and present Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other services under the “Meta” brand name. To be clear here we are not just referring to the Metaverse that Mark and his team have reimagined to bring back memories of “Second Life” from another age. We are looking at the Metaverse in general as a platform for learning and how it can motivate learners to access eLearning in a better way.
How to Understand the Metaverse?
The metaverse can be defined as one central platform or place where all collective AR and VR experiences meet together. This will be facilitated by different social media networks, AI, machine learning, the IoT, and the most important factor – high-speed Internet connectivity. The Metaverse will serve as the path or the gateway where the real world and the virtual world would meet each other.
The Metaverse and Learning
Think of learning powered by role play and avatars. Each learner will have a unique digital identity or avatar in the Metaverse. Instructors would also have their own avatars. The level of interaction and the quality of immersive learning would be at a higher level. It is very important for companies to think through the implementation of such AR and VR-powered learning solutions that would be deployed via the Metaverse.
With a greater focus on mimicking real-life learning experiences and creating simulated learning environments, the dependency on technology and additional tools like VR headsets could play an important role in the adoption of the metaverse as a suitable platform for learning. Foton VR is an interesting ed-tech company focused on building VR-based learning solutions for school students. They have an interesting article on the Metaverse in education that offers a detailed analysis of how school education will be transformed by the Metaverse.
ChatGPT – Pandora’s Box or a Fascinating Solution?
Sometime in early December of 2022, social media was full of people putting up screenshots of conversations that they were having with ChatGPT from the OpenAI Project. People were posting random questions and ChatGPT was providing fairly good and reasonable answers for most questions. One of my personal favorite conversations was that of a Twitter engineer who had asked ChatGPT to advise him on how he could look busy in front of Elon Musk and save his job.
The description from the ChatGPT page summarizes what exactly the tool does:
“The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”
ChatGPT makes conversational AI much more interesting and effective and with ample fine-tuning expected over the next few months, we are likely to see a highly powerful chat-based search engine that makes searching for information easier. Google is already on a state of high alert and looking to see how it can make amends to prevent a complete onslaught by the new chat-based tool.
At this juncture, it is very difficult to predict how quickly organizations will tend to adopt ChatGPT for learning solutions. On the surface, it seems to be a highly powerful tool that seems to have answers for virtually all questions. It will be interesting to see how this is utilized by eLearning vendors and integrated within their courses or by learning tech firms within their LMS or LXP. Let’s wait and watch to see how things evolve.
TikTok for Learning
TikTok started as a simple social media and entertainment solution for users with camera phones. People would take brief videos, set them to music, and upload them. TikTok created a huge revolution in India wherein suddenly there was an audience for simple and engaging videos in both rural areas and cities.
The creator economy boomed and suddenly everyone seemed to have a Tik Tok account, people were posting videos, garnering an insane number of views and comments, and monetization also followed. Citing security concerns Tik Tok was banned. People moved to Instagram but the joy and ease of using TikTok was missing.
TikTok is the perfect platform for microlearning videos. It also gives an opportunity for learners to generate their own content – “user-generated content”, which we will cover in the next section. TikTok caters to the attention deficit syndrome-based younger audience and L&D practitioners complaining of diminishing attention spans will be happy to know that simple TikTok videos will not see attention drops.
There is a huge opportunity here for eLearning vendors to motivate learners to share their testimonials or upload their own learning content in the form of TikTok videos that can be added to the LMS or LXP. The creators of the most popular and useful videos can be suitably rewarded and this will motivate learners to interact with each other and come up with collaborative user-generated learning content. Read this interesting article published on the Fast Company website that explores how TikTok is a thriving learning community.
User-Generated Learning Content
To be honest, this is not something new. As a medium of learning, this has been around for a long time. It is similar to students taking lessons in class and the teacher assessing how well the students understood the concepts. In the world of corporate learning and training, giving learners/employees an opportunity to suggest improvements to the existing course curriculum or designing their own learning content and sharing it in the form of a video or presentation can really help motivate them and also give the management an understanding of what needs to be improved. This course from Coursera offers insights into user-generated content and an introduction to how it is created.
“Web 3.0 (also known as read-write-own web) is an era dominated by blockchain-like technology, Metaverse, NFTs, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).”
The definition given above is excerpted from the blog written by Creative Tim.
Web 3.0 focuses on open-source tech, transparency, and high security, limits government-based censorship, uses AI and Machine Learning to help computers understand human inputs and language through Natural Language Processing, and features decentralization as a key characteristic of how it functions.
Web 3.0 and Learning – Nascent Stages of Development
Even as we try to understand the implications of Web 2.0 fully and figure out ways to understand how algorithms, AI, and big-tech firms are using our data, and how governments are using surveillance tools on their citizens, Web 3.0 is here. As far as learning solutions are concerned, the integration of Web 3.0 tech is going to provide a better learning experience in the way the learning platforms are designed.
Decentralization and better security will ensure that there are minimal lags and no theft of user identity or personal data. It will definitely take a couple of years for us to understand the full impact of Web 3.0 on eLearning. In 2023, we are most excited about ChatGPT and the use of Metaverse in corporate learning solutions.
At S4C, we pride ourselves on creating cutting-edge learning solutions that offer an immersive learning experience to your learners. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help you design and deploy result-driven and engaging learning solutions for your organization.