The term “metaverse” has become a term in the global technological ecosystem, with even Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg investing big on it. A virtual realm within a digital environment, such as online gaming, social networking, or virtual reality, is referred to as the metaverse. Create avatars, create a second life, and communicate with strangers and friends in the same way that you would in real life.
While some are attempting to build virtual restaurants and dating experiences, Manish Maheshwari, the former CEO of Twitter India, and Tanay Pratap, a former executive of Microsoft, are attempting to construct virtual classrooms with their latest business Invact Metaversity.
Over 70 prominent worldwide leaders and entrepreneurs, including Future Group’s Kishore Biyani and former Infosys CEO TV Mohandas Pai, agreed to value Invact Metaversity at $33 million, despite the fact that it had only been in operation for three months.
With a customized four-month business foundation MBA course for 60 students, the firm is preparing to offer its first metaverse education experience. Students will be able to attend lectures using their PCs and mobile devices, or they may have a hands-on experience using virtual reality (VR) headsets.
Here’s how it will go: The easiest and most straightforward approach is for students to simply attend these metaverse classes using their computers or mobile phones. It’d be similar to playing Second Life or the Sims simulation game.
The second involves wearing a virtual reality headset and sitting in a classroom, having social dialogues, engaging with avatars, and having a teacher educate in front of them. Before investing, the company’s investors got a taste of the VR portion of this online learning system.
The only difference between the two settings is the manner of use, but access to canteens, libraries, and other amenities will remain the same, according to Tanay Pratap, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “In the world we are building, you can have the fully immersive experience with the VR device, and it will work on laptop and desktop as well with the clicking and cursor movement,” he continued.
“Today, on a Zoom call you are in a box. You look left, you look right, you feel alone. Contrast this with a class in metaversity, teacher is front, you have peers around you. We will bring back the light jokes and humour of the class through spatial audio… When students would study together in the virtual world, there would be better exchange of ideas.”Tanay Pratap, Invact Metaversity’s co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO).
Though the company has no plans to provide VR headsets to students in the long run, they may do so for the first batch to test the experience. In the future years, the business predicts that VR headsets will become as widespread and inexpensive as smartphones.
In terms of business, Invast Metaversity intends to introduce more courses and increase its commercial offerings in the next months. Even artists, educational institutions, and businesses would be required to produce their courses on the platform, which would be built in-house by team members.
‘Coursera and SkillShare are dinosaurs, will go extinct’
The firm is attempting to resolve two issues. To begin, make online education or distance learning a far more appealing proposition for students. Second, make sure that the online course completion rate is increasing.
“I think those [Coursera, SkillShare, edX and Udemy and others] are like dinosaurs right now. And in ten years [of launch], the outcome in course completion is less than 10%. It just shows that even though the business model [of these companies] is working somehow, the end user’s product is not working. If you sign up for a course, you need to complete it. Why would one out of ten people complete it,” Pratap added.
“These [Coursera, SkillShare and others] are just competitions [sic] that will go extinct in some time when this new way of learning and the whole college experience emerges in the metaversity.”Tanay Pratap, CTO of Invact Metaversity
He believes that the strategy they are using will allow students to have peers and a sense of community, which will promote accountability and encourage others to finish the project. “The community-based course and the whole cohort experience would drive accountability and course experience,” he emphasised.
‘We want to prevent students from over spending on sub-par education’
“In the education piece [sic] we have not seen a disruption. Education is still the same. It’s still exams, it’s still rot learning, it’s still very dry. If it’s [education] is good, it’s good only for the top 1% of the world,” He went on to say that they aim to democratize education so that students may have greater learning chances without sacrificing real-world experience.
He gave the example of an MBA degree, noting that the course on their platform costs $2,500, compared to the $50,000-80,000 tuition rate paid by colleges abroad. He claims that the goal isn’t to replace all education with digital learning, but rather to replace subpar education with a better hands-on digital learning experience.
Pratap said, “In the 1980s or 1990s, if somebody asked what the internet was, nobody would have predicted that the internet would be this thing wherein we’ll do voice, video or all our work would be online. Somebody would have predicted, people would have thought that they might be joking. That’s how will it [metaverse] evolve.”