A manifesto for the metaverse: opportunities and challenges for learning development
Keywords:learning development, metaverse, inclusion, virtual reality, augmented reality, reimagining education
Drawing upon a section of the co-created Learning Development (LD) Manifesto (ALDinHE, 2018), in this workshop we invite participants to come and be creative – and imagine beyond what Learning Developers do now into what they may do in the future, inspired by the metaverse. The metaverse is a science fiction hypothetical iteration from the book ‘Snow Crash’ (Stephenson, 1992) set in a near future where the global political structure has collapsed (!), a tiny number of super-corporations control most aspects of life, and the rich spend their time in the metaverse (Ball, 2022).
Today the metaverse is the Facebook-owned platform Meta, which Mark Zuckerberg (2021) explains as “an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it”. Rather than our current 2D, screen-based internet, the metaverse will be a 3D virtual space, accessed by either a VR headset or AR (augmented reality) glasses, which superimpose a layer of digital information on top of the visible world. What impact might this have on LD practices, knowledge and beliefs? The metaverse is highly contentious, and we invite Learning Developers to take the challenge and look to possible futures and their potential value to the sector. The educational possibilities of the metaverse will build from the UNESCO (2022) ‘Reimagining education’ discussion paper.
There is also a need to focus the conversation on the ethics of the metaverse (Fielding, 2021), to consider how we can embed safety, privacy and inclusion at the core. It is fair to argue that these values closely align with LD, yet in the metaverse there is the potential for violence, harassment, isolation and bullying. How can we promote and enhance equality, diversity and inclusion in this space?
We will invite participants (who will work in teams) to co-create a #Take5 blogpost with us from our mapping and debates.
No technology is needed for the session, and no previous knowledge of the metaverse
What does Learning Development do?
- It contextualises, embeds and maps knowledge, and contributes to learning gain
- It teaches how to learn and scaffolds learning
- It widens opportunity, not participation; it can trouble what we mean by participation
- It infiltrates throughout the university and operates in a 3rd space, connecting and
- collaborating with the wider community
- It works with the hidden curriculum
- It legitimises the different forms of knowledge our students have
- It levels the playing field and widens the academy
ALDinHE (2018) Manifesto for Learning Development. Education, Association for Learning Development in Higher Education. Available online: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KJnC7e2l5xnA44FWsOxaKkKNx4SQKlX2/view [Accessed
Ball, M. (2022) The metaverse: and how it will revolutionize everything. Liveright Publishing.
Fielding, M. (2021) The Ethics of the Metaverse [Medium]. Available online:
Holley, D (August 2023) Exploring the Metaverse through Metaphor ALDinHE #Take 5 #92
Stephenson, N. (2003) Snow crash: A novel. Spectra.
Techtarget (8.05.2023) The metaverse explained
UNESCO MGIEP (2022) Reimaging education: The International Science and Evidence based Educational Assessment. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP). Available online: https://mgiep.unesco.org/iseeareport [Accessed 02/03/2023].
Zuckerberg, M. (2021) Founder’s Letter, 2021. Available online: https://about.fb.com/news/2021/10/founders-letter/ [Accessed 02/03/2023].
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