Engaging the Metaverse - Innovation and Changing Paradigms in E-learning design—Part I

KEN TURNER | February 8, 2022 | 13 views

Silo Learning vs. Cross-Disciplinary Learning:
As our businesses become more and more globally connected, we need to make sure that when we train and onboard new employees. The fact is that most of the new employees that you will receive in the 21st century have been through education systems based upon the silo framework of learning, which means that subjects or bodies of knowledge have been presented as separate and largely unconnected. For businesses in the globally connected economy, this presents problems.


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Let’s delve into some of the most common problems associated with this:
• Problem solving becomes a chore for employees since they have learned only to relate to ideas solely within their narrow areas of expertise.
• Collaboration becomes a problem because of the group dynamics students have been exposed to in their education derived from group work where not everyone was able to contribute, and for the sake of providing a non-judgmental atmosphere, they were allowed to be consumers instead of generators of solutions.
• Innovative thinking is a problem because it means that they would have to consider drawing in ideas from many disciplines, which the silo approach to knowledge did not encourage.

The very skillsets that are needed in future training and upskilling cannot be addressed when new employees, and even employees who have been with the business for many years, are so set in their ways.

How do we address this problem? It starts by asking some very important questions:
• Is our mission statement in line with the changed paradigm that has been dictated by the rapid advancement of technology and the exponential growth of information? If not, why not?
• What is the level of expertise in the use and application of technology of employees in the work that they are directed to accomplish and perform? Is their performance over time demonstrating employees who are adapting, learning, and improving in their work? Is there a minimal change?
• Is innovative mindset systemically encouraged from top to bottom, directed by a future-focused vision by the leaders of the organization? Is there a concerted effort to nurture this type of mindset by providing opportunities for employees to promote new and improved ways of doing things in their area of expertise?

Consider the impact of a learning experience that was designed using advancing augmented and mixed reality technology found in this Canadian university example:

Also, consider this vivid YouTube example produced in 2020:

Well, citing the above, are these considered to be just gimmicks, or do they have promise for training employees at their point of work?

The answer to this question leads us to the dire need to create a learning culture where innovative thinking is not just a frill and is encouraged in an inconsistent fashion. Maintaining the "one and done" training experience discourages the development of the innovative thinking mindset because its focus is only on meeting the needs of the business organization alone, ignoring the real potential of the great intellectual and creative assets rooted in the employees who bring such talents to the organization.

Experiential Learning in Training and New Technologies
If we sample examples of experiential learning in progress, we have to come to grips with the use of real-world simulations. In some of the more "glamourous" professions, we see the effect of experiential learning using simulations in the NASA space program, where space shuttle pilots were placed in a simulated real-world shuttle simulator with very authentic control panels that responded to every move made by the prospective pilot.

The very authentic responses were controlled by a computer. From a cost-benefit perspective, such a program is much more defensible than using real-world illustrations. It is also very expensive to consider space shuttles in training.

Rise of the Metaverse
One of the problems with the introduction of new technology and environments is that too often they become
“industry buzzwords” result in their losing any practical meaning before some cohesive principles have been established.

The metaverse was predicted by technology experts and has now appeared on our doorsteps

But they didn't realize that the timing of this event would be accelerated into our online cultures as soon as now. In essence, technology is now creating or opening the door to interacting in immersive 3D spaces. The examples above demonstrate the potential of this new environment. There had been hints of the potential of this new immersive environment when the immersive social environment of "Second Life" came onto the scene in 2003 by Linden Labs in San Francisco, California.

Some have suggested that “Second Life” was actually a “Proto Metaverse”.


Although the example above was run with adolescents, many of the same experiential training principles are used in the training of prospective astronauts in NASA simulators. The training benefits are:

• Non-threatening environment where mistakes can be made but where feedback helps learners re-think their responses and come up with better solutions
• Unplanned events introduced during the event allow learners to collaborate to solve a common problem while under time limits
• Innovative thinking is encouraged to arrive at new solutions

However, is your training regimen offering the same conditions for learning? If it isn’t, then why not?
Designing Learning Experiences: VR, AR, or MR?

When it comes to designing efficient, effective and engaging learning experiences, which of these metaverse technologies holds the greatest promise as far as on-boarding and training of new employees and the need for upskilling of established employees is concerned?

"Why AR, not VR, Will be the Heart of the Metaverse," a recent article in Venture Beat (Dec. 28, 2021), makes some compelling arguments for AR being the driving force.
Given the technology advancements to support the metaverse experience, what does this mean for instructional designers, trainers, and the corporate learning officer in a business organization?

• For one thing, the actual planning of learning experiences for staff and trainees is no longer just the role of the instructional designer in conversation with the subject matter expert. To move forward, new specialists need to be at the instructional design table. Why do online video game designers need to be at the table as well as learning theory specialists? The skill-sets possessed by these specialists fit very well with the need to design a metaverse learning experience. Anyone who has sampled an online video game has noticed several qualities that we would want crafted into the metaverse learning experience which are similar to those noted above:
1. Social Collaboration of the Participants: When a group is tasked with solving a problem or creating a product prototype, the participants interact with each other in a way that allows each participant to see and comment on what the other is doing. This is the quality that appeals to people who use the Google Docs application to work on a daily basis.
2. Decisions have Consequences: One of the greatest qualities of collaborative video games is that immediate feedback can be seen from the decisions that are made during the work, which then results in participants re-thinking the choices or decisions that were made.
3. Learning in a Non-Threatening Environment: Unlike in the actual work environment, mistakes do not lead to consequences that may affect the actual final product or the employment of the participants. The greatest benefit of this is that the spirit of innovation will be fostered.

• The entrenched training concept involving the “sage on the stage” giving a “one and done” training event to register a checkmark on the organizational yearly to-do list needs to change to reflect the current learning theory research available to business organizations. Will Thalheimer, a well-known learning expert and researcher, produced a revealing YouTube video on September 18, 2013, entitled “Five Failures of Workplace Learning” which explains the continuing problem in the learning culture of 21st century business organizations. It is time that business organizations move towards employee learning for a collaborative model where the leader is not the “sage on the stage” but is instead the “mentor on the side” who also collaborates with the other participants.

• The rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) into the technology spotlight will be a key component in learning in the metaverse. Artificial Intelligent Assistants have already been introduced in the 21st century with the rise of applications such as “Google Assistant,” “Amazon Alexa,” and “Siri Apple.” Amnah Fawad, from TechEngage, presented an evaluation of the wonders of these types of assistants on December 18, 2020. Given how quickly technology is advancing, even these assistants will undergo a revolution, and we are seeing that happen with the development of things such as “Smart Homes” and “Smart Transportation Vehicles.”

With all this being said, businesses are faced with some real questions, such as:

• If I harness this new technology to my training, what will it look like?

• Will it be accessible by my employees from a remote site given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing my workforce to work on a hybrid schedule with a certain percentage of time working from home and a percentage on the business site?

• How will it affect my ROI? Will it be cost-effective?

• What type of upgrade is needed by my IT department in order to bring this online? Will there be an effective mentoring program available to employees in the early stages?

• What kinds of changes will be needed in the instructional design department in order to create effective, efficient, and engaging learning experiences for our employees, both in a group and at the individual’s “point of work”?

Many of these questions will be touched on in Part II of Engaging the Metaverse: Innovation and Changing Paradigms in e-LearningDesign.

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Augmented Reality: A Dynamic Change to Enhance Your Business

Article | December 17, 2021

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It offers the option to add dimension, sound and other experiences to any two-dimensional picture or video. Even when this might seem like something complex to be implemented in business, it isn't as challenging as it looks. With each passing year, AR has effectively been penetrating deeper into businesses, making a drastic impact on various functioning. Marketers have effectively been integrating the use of AR into their marketing strategies, and it has grown overall in the mainstream business functioning by being readily available for users to leverage. Industries That Should Leverage Augmented Reality Technology Uses of Augmented Reality is a prospect that business owners across multiple industries leverage to their advantage. 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In addition, numerous organizations from different industries and of various sizes in the B2C and B2B space are now using augmented reality technology to differentiate their product and services by effectively implementing AR strategies in their marketing mix. With a game-changing armor in their arsenal in the form of augmented reality, marketing executives trying to promote and sell more successfully can hence perform better, with purchasing experience becoming the new focal point. Conclusion Augmented reality in business is a prospect that offers a massive opportunity to engage with millions of users effectively. AR offers executives to ideally establish an immediate and sensory-driven connection of the brand with consumers by forging an emotional interaction. Repetitive engagement is a successful advertising approach for companies since it only requires AR app development expenditures, and additional benefits may be gained via repeated exposure. 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Augmented reality is constantly evolving to become an emerging marketing and sales strategy trend. AR technologies allow organizations to provide their customers a unique experience with convenience by tapping into their smartphone devices.

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Article | June 14, 2022

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Article | April 21, 2022

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SysAid launches AI Service Desk, a chatbot on Microsoft Teams

SysAid | June 30, 2022

A conversational chatbot within Microsoft Teams that is powered by SysAid's IT automation capabilities has just been launched, according to the leading provider of IT service automation SysAid. The AI-powered service desk improves the employee experience while reducing the amount of time that employees and IT specialists spend on ticket resolution. It also enhances productivity and frees them up to concentrate on creating new business value. Due to changing workplaces, organizations are dealing with two problems. Following the Great Resignation, organizations have made empowering people a top priority. As a result, employees have higher expectations and want to get the help they need whenever and wherever they need it, including IT service. However, the shift to remote and hybrid work provided a significant problem for IT teams due to the proliferation of cloud-native environments, multiple devices connected to business systems, and numerous app integrations. The reality of hybrid work is continuously changing, which has raised the workload for IT departments, overwhelmed personnel, prolonged resolution times, and heightened employee resentment. Both issues are addressed by the new AI Service Desk, ensuring that employees have the experience they want and removing the obstacles IT teams face in trying to keep up with employee demands. With Microsoft Teams, a platform that has experienced remarkable growth and has over 270 million users worldwide, employees are given the ability to design and manage their IT service demands. Employees can easily and quickly resolve IT issues thanks to the employee-centric service desk, which autonomously calculates the necessary steps, routes and escalates tickets, automates activities, and activates workflows to answer requests. In addition, the Microsoft Teams bot will soon get NLP (Natural Language Processing) driven features that will allow it to respond to staff inquiries based on knowledge base articles. "We have been working hand in hand with IT professionals from every industry for many years, and are acutely aware of the shifting challenges facing our customers, with high-volume low-value tasks bogging IT teams down. Automation and self-service capabilities are not only the key to letting IT teams get back to creating new value, they are the only feasible method of adapting to whatever changes the future of work may hold. We are proud to bring this critical tool to our customers, enabling them to scale in any work environment." Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid In order to focus on their own responsibilities and speed up the successful settlement of IT issues, employees may now open, manage, update, monitor, and close tickets without ever leaving their work surroundings. Additionally, the AI Service Desk gives IT departments the ability to inspect, safeguard, and manage their assets directly from SysAid's service desk, increasing organizational visibility and improving the administrative experience.

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AI TECH

CallMiner Named Best Overall AI-based Analytics Company in 2022 AI Breakthrough Awards

CallMiner | June 28, 2022

CallMiner, the leading provider of conversation intelligence to drive business improvement, announced today that it has been named the Best Overall AI-based Analytics Company in the 5th annual AI Breakthrough Awards. CallMiner was recognized for its ability to help organizations analyze customer interactions as scale, such as the voice or text-based conversations that happen in an organization’s customer service center, to uncover insights and take action. These insights help companies improve customer experience, strengthen brand loyalty, increase operational efficiency, influence sales outcomes and more, ultimately driving business transformation and growth. Powered by machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), the CallMiner platform can organize and bring value out of structured and unstructured data, including contact center conversations, chats, emails, social media, surveys and other customer interactions. Because understanding emotion within these conversations is increasingly important, CallMiner’s AI technology takes sentiment analysis one step further than the competition, identifying emotions within a conversation, such as surfacing moments when customers are stressed, angry or elated by marrying words and acoustic measures to form a complete picture of customer emotions in an interaction. “Organizations hold a massive amount of untapped data, particularly within their customer service and contact centers, which leaves meaningful insights on the table. “Yet, it’s impossible to uncover these insights with human power alone. Technology, like CallMiner’s AI-powered conversation intelligence platform, can deliver the right insights at the right time to both customers and internal stakeholders, enabling organizations to truly be customer-centric. Being recognized as the Best Overall AI-based Analytics Company by the AI Breakthrough Awards is further proof of CallMiner’s industry-leading AI capabilities and our ability to drive value for our customers.” Rick Britt, VP of AI at CallMiner The AI Breakthrough Awards recognize innovation across a range of AI and machine learning-related categories, including AI platforms, deep learning, business intelligence, natural language processing and industry-specific AI applications. Market intelligence analysts from AI Breakthrough evaluated nearly 3,000 nominations from around the world, reviewing, scoring and analyzing each entry to name the top performers. About CallMiner CallMiner is the global leader in conversation intelligence to drive business performance improvement. Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, CallMiner delivers the industry’s most comprehensive platform to analyze omnichannel customer interactions at scale, allowing organizations to interpret sentiment and identify patterns to reveal deep understanding from every conversation. By connecting the dots between insights and action, CallMiner enables companies to identify areas of opportunity to drive business improvement, growth and transformational change more effectively than ever before.

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AI TECH

Dataiku 11 Unveils Enhanced AI Scaling Toolset

Dataiku | June 21, 2022

Dataiku has released Dataiku 11, a significant update to its data science and AI platform that enables businesses to realize the promise of Everyday AI. This feature-rich release adds new capabilities for expert teams to deliver more value at scale, allows tech-savvy workers to take on more intensive challenges, makes AI more accessible to non-technical workers, and strengthens AI Governance to ensure projects are robust, transparent and ready for scale. Dataiku 11 builds on the company's recent market momentum, which saw it surpass $150 million in annual recurring revenue and recruit Adam Towns, a tech finance veteran, as CFO. The company now serves to more than 500 businesses worldwide, assisting companies like Boeing and Unilever in streamlining workflows, reducing customer churn, and improving financial performance. With new capabilities to assist enterprises in managing trust and risk, Dataiku 11 continues the quest for Responsible AI practices and AI Governance. A central registry enabling visibility into all forms of data and analytics projects, as well as final sign-off prior to production, is at the heart of this extended offering. Automatic flow documentation and proactive model stress testing strengthen AI models even more, boosting executive confidence in projects and increasing trust among data consumers and stakeholders. "Dataiku 11 takes a valuable step forward to help our organization thrive with AI and self-service analytics. They'reThey're making AI easier to use for technical and non-technical staff alike while delivering powerful results that have a substantive effect on our bottom line. Best of all, we don't need to hire an army of technical experts to reap the benefits of AI; instead, we're empowering the skilled workforce we already have," stated Ignacio Toledo, Data Science Initiative Lead at ALMA Observatory, Dataiku Neuron and Frontrunner Award Winner. Dataiku 11 was revealed today at Dataiku'sDataiku's premier data and AI conference in London, which was attended by over 700 global data professionals and practitioners and held in Tobacco Dock. In July, the product will be available for purchase.

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