The “metaverse” has existed for a while. Ever since Facebook rebranded itself to Meta, however, it seems that “metaverse” has become the latest mainstream buzzword. Before eLearning professionals try to integrate this emerging technology into their online courses, it is helpful to understand what the metaverse is.

Let’s start with a brief history of the various iterations of the World Wide Web:

Web 1.0 (the 90s through the early 2000s) was the “static” web. Most sites were not interactive or dynamic, and people mostly used the internet to consume content.

Web 2.0 (the early 2000s to current) saw the rise of Big Tech (and Big Data), social media, blogging, vlogging, wikis, etc. The general public started using the internet to create and share content, not just passively consume it. 

Web 3.0—typically shortened to “Web3“—is the latest, emerging iteration of the internet. Web3 brings immersive experiences to the World Wide Web. Think metaverse, blockchain, cryptocurrency, decentralization, and extended reality (XR)—including AR, VR, and MR. For example, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla have teamed up to create “WebXR” to let people access virtual or augmented reality environments directly through their web browser without needing to purchase an expensive headset or other devices. Very exciting!

If we look at the iterations of the internet from an instructional design standpoint, we see that they follow this general pattern:

Consuming> Sharing> Experiencing

I’d advocate taking this a step further as an ID and using it as a template for designing online courses. First, the learners “consume” the content. Then, you could incorporate group activities and peer interaction, where the learners “share” their knowledge with each other. Finally, you could incorporate active learning to let the learners “experience” concepts firsthand for themselves.


Learners “consume” content, usually individually and at their own pace. This may be asynchronous content in the format of required readings, watching videos or lectures, listening to podcasts, etc.

This interactive image of Floor 1 of the Asbury Miller Media Communications Center allows learners to explore the space and learn about the different spaces that are available for student use.
This VR image of the Sangenjaya neighborhood in Tokyo is a way for learners to explore the neighborhood and learn more about what can be found there.


After consuming content, learners may actively “share” their knowledge with others via group activities, team games, discussions, and peer interaction. These types of evidence-based learning experiences boost knowledge by incorporating what is known about how people learn (in the form of learning sciences, cognitive sciences, and adult learning theories). For instance, such collaborative learning experiences where peers share knowledge with each other can help to build Zones of Proximal Development as theorized by Vygotsky.

In this e-Learning game learners can play together or in competition to solve cyber security scenarios.
In this WhoDunnit in Spatial Chat, learners can work together or compete to solve the mystery.


Experiential learning is a powerful way for learners to “learn by doing.” Studies have shown the benefits of learning by doing. (For more information, I highly recommend this article by learning engineer and research scientist, Dr. Rachel Van Campenhout.)

Using the Metaverse you can create immersive, personalized experiences for learners to be able to learn and practice skills in a safe environment.
By giving learners options they can explore areas of the Metaverse that are of interest to them or that they do not know about or have experience with.