How the metaverse will take today's EAD 1.0 to version 4.0

For Gustavo Caetano, CEO of Sambatech, the metaverse has the potential to revolutionize distance education. In this article, he explains why.

By Gustavo Caetano, founder and CEO of Sambatech*

The Covid-19 pandemic brought distance learning (EAD) into the reality of many people. Here at Sambatech alone, we have 20 million people using our technology to learn online, taking everything from a university course to personal finance classes. But I usually say that this is just the beginning. Today, we are living EAD 1.0. The true digital education revolution is yet to come.

In 2020, everyone went digital however they could. In many cases, the solution was to take the 50-minute class and put the teachers there in front of the camera to speak. What is the problem? Does not engage. The content prepared by them can be everything good: relevant, quality, exclusive. But, if students don't participate, don't connect, the format has to change. The future of EAD is to be a mix of knowledge and experimentation. Otherwise, evasion will be huge.

The big question, in this case, is how to get students to actually join the class. Like allowing them to test things, solve problems, and talk to peers to exchange ideas as if they were in the classroom. In education, it is essential to create mechanisms for participants to feel part of that moment.

That's where the metaverse comes in, which reproduces reality on a virtual plane using digital devices. We put on glasses and suddenly we are next to each other, talking, in an inclusive environment, with much more engagement, as if that were reality. A medical student can perform a virtual dissection. You can strike up a chat with the colleague next door. The metaverse will be the big turning point in moving from EAD 1.0 to 4.0, its most advanced version.

Going back a little, since Sambatech started working with videos in 2008, I've heard that the big thing in video will be virtual reality, augmented reality. But until now this trend had not caught on. Today is different. With the evolution of technology, glasses are smaller, with more advanced lenses, and all of this allows for realistic immersion and a much more inclusive experience.

The metaverse will bring the classroom atmosphere closer to people. Distance learning is very lonely these days. This environment of immersion in knowledge is what will bring value to EAD. I say this because I often say that digital is a destroyer of value. In a good way, of course.

Everything that goes digital loses value because it gains in scale. With EAD, university tuition fees, for example, became much cheaper. With the metaverse, students will have the real feeling of participating, engagement will be much higher. This will be the turning point of a model commoditized, which today fights for price, for a valued model.

Now imagine all this plus the combination of 5G with Artificial intelligence and quantum computing. A very high-speed connection, with Artificial Intelligence to interact with students and the processing power of quantum computing. The machines will teach, and the teachers will be the tutors of these machines.

Teaching will gain even more scale, and at the same time each student will have a teacher for themselves, teaching classes at their own time, increasing the degree of difficulty at their own pace. If it doesn't understand, the robot speaks differently, tries a new approach (instead of repeating the same thing or rewinding the video).

I believe that in 5 or 10 years, when we talk about distance learning, we will talk about this topic. But it will be another world. The big challenge, right now, is not to put barriers in our heads. Everyone is old enough to learn and able to use technology. It is only by opening our minds that we will prepare ourselves for the education of the future, one that connects people, values exchange and takes advantage of the best of technology in favor of human development.

*Sambatech is a edtech of solutions for educational institutions, open and preparatory courses and companies. Founded in 2004, it was elected one of the most innovative companies in Latin America by FastCompany magazine, in the United States.

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