In the ever-evolving landscape of education, innovative technologies continue to shape the way we learn and acquire new skills. One such frontier that is gaining momentum is the realm of multimodal and immersive learning systems. Recently, a special section in a prestigious British Journal of Education Technology delved into this fascinating intersection, shedding light on the potentialities and challenges of these cutting-edge technologies.

Di Mitri, D., Limbu, B., Schneider, J., Iren, D., Giannakos, M. and Klemke, R. (2024), Multimodal and immersive systems for skills development and education. Br J Educ Technol.

Multimodal learning, as defined in the special section, engages learners through multiple sensory and action systems, offering a more holistic and immersive educational experience. This approach is supported by the theory of multimodality in communication, which emphasizes the emergence of additional modalities through multimedia technology. By leveraging sensors, artificial intelligence, and feedback mechanisms, Multimodal Learning Experiences (MLX) are designed to enhance deliberate practice across various domains, from public speaking to cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and even dance.

The special section featured diverse research papers showcasing the applications of multimodal and immersive systems in different learning scenarios. From face-to-face collaboration to mathematics, reading comprehension, and art appreciation, these studies highlighted how sensor technologies can analyze and assess learners’ performance, providing valuable insights for skills development. For instance, researchers explored the use of verbal and non-verbal cues, such as pitch, word count, and head movements, to evaluate collaboration and communication dynamics.

One notable study introduced an innovative approach to analyzing embodied team learning using Natural Language Processing and sensor data. By creating multimodal teamwork signatures that capture both content and spatial dynamics, researchers were able to gain a deeper understanding of team behaviours in educational settings. This study exemplifies the potential of using advanced technologies to support the development of essential teamwork skills.

In conclusion, the special section on multimodal and immersive learning technologies offers a glimpse into the future of education. By providing a comprehensive overview of the current state-of-the-art technologies and highlighting the diversity of applications in skill development and education, these findings pave the way for enhanced authentic learning experiences and personalized learning journeys. While the research showcased exciting possibilities, it also underscored the importance of addressing challenges such as learner-centred design, ethical considerations, and technical limitations in future work.