Document Type : Review Article
Pediatric Neurologist, Department of Pediatric, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Professor of Health Education and Promotion, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
MS of Software Engineering, Information and Communication Technology Unit, Mashhad Municipality Fire and Safety Services Organization, Mashhad, Iran.
MSc of Medical Education, Department of Medical Education, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Paris Nanterre University, Paris, France.
Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Background: The experience of virtual education during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in educational institutions accepting new educational environments. The present study aims to review the existing research on the use of metaverse in education and its pros and cons.
Materials and Methods: Online databases PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, PyscINFO, ERIC, CIVILICA, and Google Scholar search engine were searched for related systematic reviews up to February 2023. Two reviewers evaluated the quality of eligible studies and carried out the selection procedure.
Results: Eight systematic reviews (involving 317 studies published from 2022 to 2023) were selected. Learning with the metaverse has many advantages. It helps visualize materials and makes learning more interactive, easier, and interesting for students, and aids educators in the learning process. Also, the metaverse assists competency-based and inclusive education and blended learning and facilitates the use of synchronous and asynchronous learning and methods such as flipped classrooms and cooperative learning. However, it is associated with several limitations, such as the high cost of XR equipment, lack of familiarity with XR and VR environments, inadequacy of the underlying infrastructure for the educational metaverse, and low accessibility. Metaverse also entails risks, including issues with privacy and data security, ethics, and morality, as well as the possibility of addiction and mental health complications. The metaverse is a pathway and not a goal, and physical schools and their activities cannot be completely replaced with the metaverse.
Conclusion: The metaverse is simply a tool to improve services without completely replacing the real world. Future development is needed to maximize the advantages of the metaverse as a learning platform and counter its limitations.