Virtual reality can be a powerful teaching tool, but it's only as good as the content available for the medium. Facebook is looking to grow the availability of content for VR learning as part of its efforts to shift its focus on the metaverse, and it has created a US$150 million fund to achieve that goal. The social network has announced that it's spending that much to reach its VR learning goals over the next three years at its Connect 2021 event.
Since Facebook is hoping to build a robust ecosystem for learning in the metaverse, it plans to do more than just create immersive educational experiences. Part of the money will go towards training augmented reality and virtual reality creators, so they can make their own experiences. Facebook is working with Unity to teach people the skills necessary to create educational VR content — mainly, it's using Unity's "Create with VR for Educators" tool with Quest 2 devices to teach nonprofits and educational institutions. In addition, it's working with several educational institutions, including historically Black colleges and universities, as well as non-profits to create immersive experiences for them.
Finally, Facebook says it's taking steps towards increasing people's access to educational VR materials. After all, all that work will go to waste if nobody ends up using them to learn new things.
Mark Rabkin, VP of Oculus, said in a statement:
"VR isn’t all fun and games. If you’ve ever traveled the world with Wander, explored Japan with Tokyo Origami, or admired the heavens in Titans of Space PLUS, then you know that VR can be a powerful tool for education as well...A lot of work exists between where we’re at now and where we see the metaverse in the future. We’re excited, and we hope you’ll come with us on the journey."