Recently, there has been ongoing coverage and numerous discussions about the Metaverse leaving many wondering, “What exactly is the Metaverse?” Much like “the cloud” or “cloud computing,” the capabilities of the Metaverse have been around for quite some time, though the term wasn’t coined until later, at which time it was added to the mass lexicon.
What is the Metaverse?
Depending on whom you ask or where you search, you’ll find various definitions, all related, but it’s unlikely you will find a single, agreed-upon definition. Let’s break it down. Meta, a Greek prefix, means “beyond,” though you’ll find that when it is added to English words, it becomes “change.” The etymology of verse is simply a shortened version of “universe.
Now, combined, the word Metaverse offers up several definitions:
- The 3D virtual spaces are linked together in a perceived virtual universe.
- The enhanced next step to the current worldwide web, which is based on text, videos, and images.
- A reference to digital spaces which are made more lifelike by use of VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (augmented reality).
Book and movie fans might immediately think of Neuromancer by William Gibson or The Matrix film series. Of course, you can’t miss Facebook’s pivot into the Metaverse, changing its name to “Meta” to signify what the leadership sees as the importance and wide range adoption of Metaverse experiences.
Fierce on the Metaverse – Making Life Better
Here at Fierce, we couldn’t agree more! The impact of the Metaverse will be phenomenal, particularly in the areas of training, learning, and development. Prior to the Pandemic, we learned a great deal from our clients through our various voices of the customer listening posts, including our robust Net Promoter Score system and analytics. We were getting 70 out of 100 NPS (Net Promotor Score) from our end learners – exceptional scores for our industry.
However, once we started to truly dissect the data, the shortcomings in our model became apparent. The question regarding our facilitators, “How would you rate the facilitator’s skills?” consistently scored in the 90s, indicating the learner loved the overall experience. Two questions scored significantly lower – “How likely are you to use the concepts and models?” and “How ready are you to apply what you’ve learned?” Our scores, along with customer verbatims, illuminated to us that our learning efficacy was low.
To overcome these challenges, we created the Fierce Strategic Pillars:
- Application – How do we get closer to using conversation techniques in the environment and situations so that our learners will utilize it easily? Some learners grasp more readily onto tangible relatable examples versus theory. They want the punchline versus frameworks.
- Sustainability – How do we make it easier for learners to sustain learning post facilitation or after a formal learning event? In the real world, people want to recall easily and put into practice what they learned, and apply it in the moments they need it most.
- Scale – How can we offer palatable solutions for various audiences within an organization? Instead of just providing critical skillsets around engaging in your daily environment to mid-managers and above, our customers want to be able to deploy learning and sustainability to audiences, including front-line workers who can’t be taken offline for days or even hours at a reasonable cost for the organization.
Fierce 3D/VR offerings – Synonymous with Metaverse
Once we defined the challenges we wanted to solve, we took a step back to look at solutions. In early 2020, one of our key solutions and crucial strategies was to use 3D/VR simulations. The simulations put the user in a gaming-like environment in which they control the direction of the conversation, learning along the way as well as from the outcome. Accenture (Accenture Extended Reality – Immersive Learning for the future workforce) has found mixed-reality learning modalities to increase learning retention by 75 percent over passive modalities. The 3D/VR environments can be very elaborate. Still, the point is to immerse the learner in the scenario and allow the learner to participate in a safe environment where they can learn or hit re-do to try again. How many chances do we get to hit re-do in real life?
The BETA tests provided great learning to iterate and prove our hypotheses and aligned with our strategic pillars. A great example, from early in the pandemic, one of our long-term telecommunication customers with retail locations throughout the U.S. and well-known globally was having difficulty quickly deploying the needed training to their front-line sales staff. They faced numerous issues from customers coming in with COVID concerns on both sides of the spectrum, who fumbled with moving toward a consultative sale. On one side, a jittery customer might not want the salesperson to shake hands, give them a pen, or otherwise be in their personal space. On the other side, an agitated customer was upset about having to wear a mask or asking why the salesperson was wearing a mask—every customer presented with strong beliefs around what was happening with the pandemic responses. In talking with the VP of Sales, we developed simulations to capture their “secret sauce” to handle these situations, which could be deployed quickly, accessible on any device and absorbed in 15 minutes or less.
We had another successful BETA with a large hospital chain that needed front-line nurses to be versed in providing feedback, confronting, and delegating to physicians. They had similar constraints – not being able to take them off-line for hours or days of learning and needing to get impactful microlearning at scale in a familiar environment.
Rich Human Connection – Surviving and Thriving
Creating the modality in these situations was not enough. Fierce Conversations have always been about developing the techniques needed to engage your environment in any situation – be it the need to ask for feedback, provide feedback, confront a persistent problem, run better team meetings with clear accountability, get curious about a situation, etc. These are foundational to everything and anything an organization hopes to accomplish.
For example, we are not a competitive alternative offering to change management. Change management frameworks and methodologies are essential, and at the intersection of change management are the people. The conversation techniques are what support the successful execution of change management plans.
With the renewed focus on racial tensions and diversity, we quickly realized that we wanted to support these efforts towards positive change. We acknowledged we weren’t experts in DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), but we knew many very passionate and accomplished thought leaders on the topic. From there, we created the “Powered by Fierce” model to leverage our platforms, investments in 3D/VR, and, most importantly, conversation techniques critical to the success of others’ philosophies and instruction.
We partnered with Dr. Yasmin Davids, founder of the Dr. Yasmin Davids’ Leadership Institute, a multi-ethnic, anti-racist organization partnered with USC and UCSD. Dr. Davids teaches techniques on how to be “Graciously Assertive,” whereby women can be assertive and effective in the workplace just like their male counterparts while avoiding negative connotations such as “bossy” or “angry.” We captured these techniques along with our conversation models in 3D/VR simulations, including an example of a male employee challenging a female boss on a given performance review. Within the microaggression space, we do role reversals to illustrate the importance of engaging in these critical conversations to evoke learning and enrich relationships while avoiding anger, defensiveness, and toxic environments.
According to TraingIndustry.com, 2021 State of Leadership Training Market, less than one percent of revenue is generated from immersive modalities of this type. Why? It has more to do with adoption. Frankly, it lies in the hands of decision-makers who need to realize the familiarity of those environments with younger generations, to see past “graphics” and the lack of human connection, and see immersive modalities as augmentation for the learner journey.
At Fierce, we firmly believe this learning modality will continue to increase in adoption with use cases and capabilities continuing to be enhanced. Fierce is passionate about empowering the world with conversation techniques and is partnering with leaders in their fields to bring immersive Metaverse Training to their learners along with embedded conversation techniques. Our mission is to better the world, one conversation at a time, and to continue as The Metaverse Training Company.