Image of AI Prof Ed McFly
Annual NTF Symposia

“The future is human, and the future of learning is immersive”: discuss

Prof Debbie Holley, Bournemouth University 

I recently attended the Association of National Teaching Fellows annual symposium, and very much enjoyed co-presenting with Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot Prof Ed McFly. My abstract set out how we would explore an aspect of innovation and consider how this would change the ways in which we may work in future, with the title “The future is human, and the future of learning is immersive”. This quote comes from an international Delphi Study I was involved in, and one of the key findings was: 

The future is human, and the future of learning is immersive. In the future, learning will take the shape of a story, a play, a game; involving multiple platforms and players; driven by dialogue and augmented with technology, an interplay of immersive experiences, data, and highly social virtual worlds.” State of XR and Immersive Learning Outlook Report (2021)  

What promises can technology offer us and those we educate? The session focused on the ‘metaverse’ a science fiction hypothetical iteration from the book ‘Snow Crash’ (Stephenson 1992) set in a near future where the global political structure has collapsed(!), a tiny number of super-corporations control most aspects of life, and the rich spend their time in the metaverse.  

Working with AI bot Professor Ed McFly (link to YouTube link here) as my co-facilitator, this interactive workshop explored aspects of the metaverse, followed by a brainstorm of all the different types of teaching we undertake. Groups then mapped the potential changes new technologies make to our Beliefs, Knowledge and Practice, and the final conclusions were that pedagogy has to take the lead, no matter what innovative tool is on offer; to start with the student learning needs; personalise as much as possible and adapt to the context where the students are learning. 

Image of AI Prof Ed McFly
AI Prof Ed McFly

The background briefing:  

Today the metaverse is the Facebook owned platform Meta, which Mark Zuckerberg explains as “an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it”. Rather than our current 2D, screen-based internet, the metaverse will be a 3D virtual space, accessed by either a VR headset or AR (augmented reality) glasses, which superimpose a layer of digital information on top of the visible world. What impact might this have on our teaching practices, knowledge and beliefs?  


Lee, M.J., Georgieva, M., Alexander, B., Craig, E. and Richter, J., 2021. State of XR & immersive learning outlook report 2021. Walnut, CA: Immersive Learning Research Network.  

Metaverse: [accessed 16.03.2023]  

Stephenson, N., 2003. Snow crash: A novel. Spectra.  

Link to SlideShare: “The future is human, and the future of learning is immersive”: discuss   

Thanks to:  

Louise Livesey (MMU) for her contribution to the 3D pyramid design, and Dr Holly Henderson (BU) for the AI bot design. 

Twitter: Follow @debbieholley1 for more information about Debbie and her tech projects