What do terms such as doomscrolling, booster shots, and the Metaverse have in common? You guessed it right: Overnight, these terms were everywhere on social networks. Coined by an anonymous group (remember Satoshi Nakamoto?), the terms spread like wildfire over the internet — and nothing could stop them.
Booster shots and doomscrolling might be a sign of the times, but the Metaverse is here to stay. If tech giants’ predictions and investments prove correct, the Metaverse will slowly become a standard in our online lives.
The Metaverse? Really?
What’s the Metaverse, exactly? Tech enthusiasts suggest replacing the word with “cyberspace.” Imagine cyberspace as a cyberpunk virtual reality daydream. Big Tech companies are pitching it as a virtual space in which you can combine your daily experiences with the inherent virtues of the internet, such as sending an email.
And if you experience things in the Metaverse, it might be an excellent place to learn. (We’re sorry — If you wanted to learn Python or Kung Fu through a floppy disk, then you might stick to the Matrix instead). Fortnite has taken note of this possibility, and they have featured an interactive Martin Luther King, Kr. civil rights museum within the game (!). Players can approach the museum, listen to MLK’s most famous speeches, and complete challenges. And even though Epic Games’ intentions seem very good, maybe including a learning platform on a massively multiplayer third-person shooter isn’t the best content-context combination.
Which begs the question — if coding bootcamps were to thrive in the Metaverse, what would the context and content be like?
Learning in a Virtual Space
Microsoft’s take on the Metaverse has focused on learning. Their CEO hosted a video in which he pondered how new employees could onboard simultaneously, in a community, through the Metaverse. These employees would be exposed to company training in an office setting — although each employee would be physically present wherever they want. Picture this project as a company onboarding process done through Second Life, the popular video game developed by Linden Lab.
What’s the main difference with online learning? That, in this Metaverse vision, online learning can be coupled with the benefits of an “in-person” environment. Examples of perks of in-person working or learning are the possibility of networking with other learners and the focus and attention typical of students when we’re sharing the space with other learners.
Firms who’re trying to turn back from a remote working system to a hybrid system have spoken out about the importance of shared space: According to their claims, people are “social animals” who thrive among other people. The Metaverse version of e-learning, then, could help overcome one of the typical shortcomings of online learning: the fact that we’re doing it on our own, isolated, behind a shabby camera.
In-person Virtual Bootcamps
The Metaverse, then, could provide a reason to say something such as “in-person virtual courses” without being called out like a mad as a hatter, out of one’s mind cyberspace street preacher. Bootcamps in topics such as data science or full-stack web development could be studied in a virtual environment that mimics a typical in-person class — with professors, colleagues, projects, and loads of coding.
The Metaverse, though, could push development and coding a bit further. This month, a sloppy video ad from retail giant Walmart surfaced on Twitter. It showed a VR-like shopping experience, in which the cart and aisles from a supermarket deploy at our virtual homes — without the need to drive downtown. The clip is from 2017, and it hasn’t aged well. But, conceptually, it serves as a basis to expand what we’ve known as “What You See is What You Get,” or WYSIWYG.
There are even more cases to think of. What if the Metaverse could make our C++ code work simultaneously with a programmable logic controller (PLC) or with a great robot we’re trying to program? What if we could program and design the custom locks our house needs, force and test-try them in the Metaverse, and then order them in real life, with all the proper security checks done in cyberspace first? What if we could assemble the robot in the digital space and test the code live without uploading it each time we modify a line? That would be a fancy hands-on project for any bootcamp — and indeed a crash course on robotics, C++, and patience.
What will it be like, then?
Coding Bootcamp in the Metaverse could look a hell lot like Second Life, which has been around since 2003. For their part, the VR and cyberspace ideas trace back to the eighties. Coding bootcamps are ready to enlist students online — more so because of the pandemic. What might a bootcamp in the Metaverse be like? The truth is, we might already have the answer.
So, if all these concepts and tools have been around for so long, how is the Metaverse novel, or even beneficial? The answer seems to be in widespread adoption. Suppose enough students choose to do their coding bootcamps in the Metaverse. In that case, their Python learning curve could enjoy the advantages of both worlds: the flexibility and imagination of the virtual space and the socially rewarding aspects of the world we live in.