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How EdTech Firms Are Bringing Higher Education To The Metaverse

31 Jul 2022

The costs of higher education have been growing, racking up more debt for students, and the post-college economic returns have been flattening. But learning has never been more important, especially in an era of rapid technological and growing automation.

Unfortunately, traditional higher educational institutions are not equipped to handle the scale of the challenge. “The class of institutions we need going forward isn’t fully fleshed out yet,” said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University. “Redesigning research universities will require innovative institutional models that creatively use learning technologies to cooperate rather than compete with other universities, and forming strategic partnerships that include business and industry and government agencies,” Crow said.

But in the interim, new educational technology companies are rising to the challenge. Following a $700 million valuation with over four million people accessing its content, Scaler just announced that it is launching programs in the United States to build learning communities designed for the future of work. “Higher education’s learning environment with physical buildings is not designed to scale,” said Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder of Scaler.

But designing content that can scale is only one piece of the puzzle. “It is a necessary part, but it is rarely the full picture,” said Saxenda. Researchers have long recognized that a large portion of the economic returns to a college education come from the social and network effects of peers, and these effects can be persistent over time. Scaler uses interactive learning with live lectures to incentivize engagement among their students, coupled with community hubs where students can work and live together for the duration of the roughly one-year program. Students are also matched with mentors who share similar backgrounds but are slightly more advanced in their fields.

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