It may sound a bit "wacky," Josh Bersin acknowledged to HR Tech Virtual conference attendees Tuesday, but the metaverse may be gaining traction in the HR learning tech space.
Bersin, global industry analyst and dean at The Josh Bersin Academy seems to think so: "This is going to be very big and it's really picking up speed," he said.
What exactly is the metaverse? A New York Times technology reporter recently described it as the convergence of virtual reality and a digital second life.
"We didn't really know much about it a few months ago," Bersin said, "but this is real life technology — VR, AR, avatars, virtual spaces. They have hit the market now in learning."
These technologies, which have for years been deployed to help workers learn hard skills, are finding their way into soft skills training "faster than ever," he said. Employers are using such solutions for onboarding, career development, DEI coaching, leadership development, compliance training and more, Bersin continued.
"Now that we can go out and buy a headset for $200 and most of our computers are more than fast enough to run this kind of stuff, we also will have virtual environments," he predicted.
Plenty of household names — Honeywell, for example — have adopted some type of these solutions. But will employees bite? A 2019 survey revealed that while drivers and human resource employees were the most interested in putting these technologies into action, more than half of employees in other job categories indicated interest as well.
Still, implementation can be a different story. Asking employees to learn a new technology and a new skill at the same time can be a tall order, sources previously told HR Dive.
L&D pros can certainly capitalize on the novelty of new tech, but they also may be well-served to keep traditional best practices in mind, regardless of learning medium. These include a focus on personalization, experts say, and training that occurs in the flow of work — themes Bersin noted in his presentation as well. "Most employees don't want to spend two hours on an online course; they don't even want to spend one hour," he said. "They really want to spend 10 minutes or maybe five minutes and they want the content to be relevant."