Today, Virbela was awarded the “Remote Learning Innovation Award” in the 2021 EdTech Breakthrough Awards. The EdTech Breakthrough awards recognize the creativity, hard work, and success of companies, technologies and products in the field of educational technology around the world.
Winners were evaluated by an independent panel of experts within the EdTech industry, with the winning products and companies selected based on their level of innovation, product design, and user-experience, as well as overall technological advancement for their respective categories.
“Education has always been core to what we do at Virbela. The shift to distance learning in the last year brought new challenges for students, who may be missing in-person connections and struggling to stay engaged,” said Alex Howland, President and Co-Founder of Virbela. “In an effort to create a more engaging online-learning experience, many educators began using Virbela to host classes and recreate social experiences with their students. We are thrilled to be recognized by the EdTech Breakthrough Awards for our innovation in remote learning.”
Virbela’s immersive virtual world technology enables schools and universities to design their own virtual campus in and accommodate thousands of students simultaneously. The customizable campus offers classrooms and auditoriums for lectures, team suites for team collaboration and professor 1:1s, as well as a variety of spaces, like the EXPO hall or The Virbela Speakeasy, to host community-building activities, campus events, orientation, and more.
Intentionally designed features such as personalized avatars, spatialized voice, familiar presentation tools, and 3D environments lead to a sense of realism and connectivity that address many challenges of remote education today. Students can explore the campus, attend various events, play games with classmates, dance with one another, high five and wave to each other, or designate a meeting spot on campus to study together. All that’s needed is a computer and internet access.
Educational institutions including Arizona State University, Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford LEAD), University of California, San Diego, and many others, have turned to Virbela to create immersive learning environments. Within their virtual campuses, student engagement, retention, and course participation has increased. For example, after a semester using Virbela at Cal Poly Pomona, 60% of survey respondents reported feeling more engaged with their professor than when using Zoom.
Earlier this year, Virbela partnered with The Douglas Stewart Company, a leading distributor for academic products and services, to bring Virbela's virtual campus and immersive learning environments to a network of resellers that reach nearly 5,000 colleges and universities and 132,000 K-12 schools nationwide. The Douglas Stewart Software and Services group implemented its own virtual campus powered by Virbela, named DStewart Edu, to showcase how immersive learning environments can empower students and support educators everywhere.
The Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN), a community dedicated to researching immersive learning environments, uses a private campus powered by Virbela to organize events for scientists, practitioners, organizations, and innovators to explore how immersive worlds and environments can be used for educational purposes.