INSEAD and Israeli start-up to launch world's first VR classroom

Promising immersive learning and real-time analytics in the classroom, the VR facility will be developed at INSEAD's Fontainebleau campus, south of Paris.

A pilot VR classroom at INSEAD's Fontainebleau campus (photo credit: INSEADׁ)
A pilot VR classroom at INSEAD's Fontainebleau campus
(photo credit: INSEADׁ)
INSEAD, a leading Paris-based graduate business, unveiled a partnership with Israeli virtual reality (VR) start-up ActiView on Tuesday to establish the world’s first VR classroom for higher education.
Promising immersive learning and real-time analytics in the classroom, the VR facility will be developed at INSEAD’s Fontainebleau campus, south of the French capital, and is expected to commence operations early next year.
INSEAD, which also boasts campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, has repeatedly been ranked in the top three graduate business schools worldwide by The Financial Times.
The use of VR glasses and carefully chosen case studies in the classroom, the project partners say, will enable students to experience real-world business dilemmas and scenarios. Each VR kit is connected to a tablet enabling student-lecturer interaction and real-time analysis of student behavior.
“There are many technologies out there that you can bring into the classroom, but my experience is that 90% of the time, they don’t really create value and are more of a distraction,” said INSEAD dean Ilian Mihov, demonstrating the capabilities of the VR system in Tel Aviv.

“This is really one of the 10% of value-creating technologies that can help us improve the teaching of cases and create a very different learning experience. From a research point of view, the technology will help us understand how people react in a way that we could not have done before.”
Equipped with 40 seats, the VR classroom will offer INSEAD lecturers greater insight into how different groups of students react to similar scenarios, and transfer information to students in a more engaging and efficient manner than repetitive text-based learning.
The unique venture is the result of a collaboration between INSEAD associate professor of Strategy Ithai Stern, ActiView CCO R&D Daniel Landau, and IDC Herzliya associate professor Niron Hashai.
ActiView COO Tal Koelewyn announces the partnership with INSEAD in Tel Aviv, December 3, 2019 (Photo Credit: Eran Kahan)ActiView COO Tal Koelewyn announces the partnership with INSEAD in Tel Aviv, December 3, 2019 (Photo Credit: Eran Kahan)
INSEAD also plans to construct additional VR classrooms at its Singapore and Abu Dhabi campuses, and at its new San Francisco facility, scheduled to open in February.
“This is really pioneering work, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot about this going forward,” said Mihov. “I am sure that other schools will be copying us.”
Founded by four graduates of the IDF’s elite intelligence units, ActiView currently employs more than 50 scientists and experts at its offices in Lod and London.
Prior to its application in academia, the start-up harnessed VR technology to assist companies and organizations in their evaluation of potential candidates, and to deliver corporate training programs by providing employees with a range of work-related scenarios.
“This is one of the most promising ways to harness and use VR,” said ActiView chief operating officer Tal Koelewyn. “When you think about behavior, you can use VR in all types of scenarios – whether in human resources, diagnostics or healthcare. Learning is one of the best ways to use that type of mechanism, to understand what a person really wants to do, what his motivations are, and how he can interact with the world and better understand himself and others.”