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VR Immersive Learning Initiative

Q&A - VR Immersive Learning Initiative


What added values can immersive cases bring to my teaching?

Teaching with immersive cases allows you to place students face to face with real life situations. It gives them the opportunity to practice difficult decision making, to analyze their behavior and learn from it and to make mistakes in a safe and controllable learning environment.
Instead of talking about a case they had to read for hours, they can experience it first hand. Studies about VR and learning show that experiential learning is more memorable and promotes higher levels of empathy. These advantages are key to effective learning, promoting personal development.

In what way do I have to change my current methods to adapt to immersive teaching?

Your methods don’t have to change. VR is an enabler, allowing you to teach theory through practice. Each VR experience produced by INSEAD Immersive Learning is equipped with full teaching notes and information you can use to embed the cases within your classes, and the INSEAD VR team is at your disposal in order to advise on amphi setup and provide support before, during and after the class. 

Why would I want to change the way that I teach?

Immersive learning opens new opportunities for effective learning and teaching, increasing engagement, retention of knowledge gained, and the ability to implement are key issues in impactful learning. Besides, reality has changed, your learners require change, and it is the obligation of teachers to evolve and learn together with your students.

Is teaching cases with VR more complicated than teaching “classical” pencil and paper cases?

There will probably be a slight learning curve since it is a new and different method but the application is very easy to use and you will have plenty of support to ensure a successful experience for you and your students. INSEAD-VR has developed an easy to use web based dashboard, where facilitators can seamlessly control full cohorts of devices, play VR segments, and receive real time data from the class.

How can I learn to teach an immersive case?

Each VR experience is equipped with full teaching notes and information you can use to embed the cases within your classes and the INSEAD VR team is available to help and customize the experience to your pedagogical needs.

What kind of support can I expect if I decide to use an immersive case in my classes?

The INSEAD VR team is available for holistic support starting with assistance to choose and incorporate the case into your teaching curriculum, providing the ability to collect data to assist the learning experience. The INSEAD-VR team works closely with IT and campus services to ensure smooth delivery of content and required services.

What are the technical requirements to teach with VR?

  • VR headsets - each participant will need a VR headset (at the moment only Pico headsets are supported - see technology page). Each INSEAD site has a fleet of headsets you can use on site or we can support in getting headsets to off-campus locations.
  • Wifi connection - The VR experience will be installed in all devices enrolled to the session, enabling a smooth virtual experience. Playing of each segment is controlled either by the learner (self-paced) or by a facilitator who would choose which segment to show, when to pause, and when to hold a discussion. The facilitator controls the segments through a web-based dashboard that controls and synchronizes all devices registered for the session. 

Can I use Immersive cases when teaching on-line sessions? What about hybrid sessions?

VR enables immersive teaching in any format - on campus session, remote sessions where everyone is online, and any mix between these. The only requirement is that the learner has a device and a basic wifi connection. The devices are controlled via a web based dashboard, which provides real-time control over the contents displayed.

Isn’t this sort of a hassle? Is it really worth it?

VR opens a whole new way of teaching and delivering engaging and effective content in class. However, there are certain aspects where VR really shines, while in other instances it might not be the optimal medium. If you would like to take your learners to a specific place, show them a unique process, or embed them in a complex social interaction - VR is the ultimate learning platform. Not only is it effective, but it is also cost effective. If your teaching focuses on financial models and all you care about is numbers and spreadsheets, VR might not be the right medium for your needs.

I have an idea for a great Immersive case! How can I produce it?

That’s what we are here for! The INSEAD-VR initiative has set out to create a comprehensive library of immersive cases that would be used by faculty and professionals everywhere. When developing a new case, we usually start at the end - defining the takeaways and learning objectives, according to these we design and produce an engaging experience. 
Our immersive experiences are either documentary based or full scripted narratives, while using live-action 360 productions, or computer generated environments as well as virtual humans.

Will Immersive cases replace me one day?

No! Immersive cases are there to augment and leverage your teaching, making you a much better teacher, and your learners better equipped to deal with the challenges reality will force them to confront. 

What other uses are there for VR technologies except for teaching?

VR is in many other ways in the industry, for example, in sales processes VR can substitute the need to physically be in a location, you can experience the product, move it around and train to use it, just like in real life. VR is also used for social conferencing, the sense of presence allows people to feel as if they are actually standing next to each other. VR is also used for therapeutic purposes, applied to help those suffering from trauma, anxieties, and depression.

Can I use the data generated from teaching session for my research? Are there any privacy issues?

Yes! VR is the ultimate behavioural lab. Not only do you get reliable and real time data, but you can also collect implicit measures and record the actual behaviour of the participants within the experience. VR can track head orientation, search tactics, decision making approaches, and other measures that can be aggregated and used for research.

What about using other XR technologies in teaching?

At the moment, VR is the only mature technology in the XR space, and is robust and reliable for teaching. In the future we plan to add AR (augmented reality) capabilities and intertwine these with other modalities (Mixed Reality). In the INSEAD-VR Hub at INSEAD’s middle east campus we are planning a room-scale VR experience, where teams can interact with the physical space, and learn like nowhere else.

How can I experience Immersive cases before I decide to use this in my class?

It’s easy - contact us and we’ll arrange for a headset to reach you at your preferred location.


There is so little content out there, isn’t this a massive effort to start building things from the ground up?

True, currently there is not an abundance of premium quality immersive cases. INSEAD VR is pioneering this initiative and has already created a first set of contents. We envision that the INSEAD VR Immersive Learning library will become the gold standard and the global distributer of immersive learning premium content. For this to be possible, we would need to initially double down on our investment and drive to promote this initiative. Second, INSEAD encourages partner schools to contribute to content creation and building internal VR capabilities, thus fueling a complete eco-system for immersive learning in business and management education. 

It’s really fun to use VR for the first time, but after the novelty fades, you’re left with regular content

Premium content is the name of the game. The combination of INSEAD faculty as subject matter experts and the INSEAD VR team of professionals, holds the potential to create impactful, interdisciplinary, and enjoyable content. 

It’s more expensive to create content with VR, why not create much more content in 2D, won’t that make more sense economically?

Immersive content and regular 2D media serve very different purposes and are not mutually exclusive. VR is very powerful in inducing a sense of presence in social interactions, in site visits in which the richness of the surroundings is crucial, and for situations in which you would like to create ambiguity (as everyone sees something different in VR, depending on where they’re looking). However, VR has disadvantages for which it makes more sense to produce a 2D video. The INSEAD VR team would use diverse forms of media to design premium experiences, and not rely solely on VR technology. Moreover, in the near future, Augmented Reality technology would also mature and provide solutions for education and learning. AR is on our technological growth path!  

I can see the same scene in 2D why bother using VR?

Because it has different qualities and brings value 2D video cannot provide. Thanks to sensorimotor contingency (sensorimotor theory of perceptual consciousness), our brains interpret the situation in VR as much more real, personal, and therefore engaging. VR participants tend to retain information much longer than subjects who viewed the 2D video, also levels of engagement and empathy were much higher for VR users. There are additional values VR provides in the classroom and in learning processes.

Language barriers – would we have to prepare versions in multiple languages and adapt them for cultural nuances?

Adding subtitles or dubbing experiences is possible and easy to do. We have already produced experiences in English, French, Japanese, and even Swahili – these could be used for all audiences. As for cultural nuances – these adaptations are more complex, and should be done on the facilitation or debrief level, rather than the experience itself. Essentially, the experience would remain the same, but the interpretation would change to fit culture or other requirements. Adaptation could be done by facilitator for class studies, or by producing a dedicated, pre-recorded adaptable debrief module for standalone training solutions (see operations section for more information about this)


VR has been a commercial disappointment over the past few years, isn’t it simply a gadget that will fade-away?

In 2016 the first version of a VR consumer headset was released, but with very little consumer adoption. One of the main reasons for this is that VR has inherent challenges in delivering linear storytelling. Drawing viewers' attention is very difficult.

However, VR has been used in academic labs for over 20 years, reshaping how social sciences conduct empirical studies. Simulating complex social interactions provides ecological validity in controlled and repeatable environments. Moreover, in recent years VR has been used in training and education with supporting research proving its significant value it brings to these domains. INSEAD VR is pioneering VR in business and management education, creating a new standard for immersive learning of soft skills, operational processes, and granting access to complex market and organizational case studies.

How could VR create more value in an economy that is getting more digital, remote, and in a chronic attention deficit?

VR is one solution in the potential arsenal of applications that can and have to be used when shifting to digital arenas in learning and development. VR grants learners the possibility to be anywhere they need to be, despite them being confined to a given physical space. The accessibility of the hardware, its robust capabilities have made this technology both cost effective and easy to use. Using VR in remote and/or class studies ensures that participants’ attention is completely focused on the presented content, as they are completely immersed in the scene within the headset.

Does VR depend on high bandwidth? Even Zoom sessions are challenging sometimes?

INSEAD VR uses a multiple device management (MDM) cloud-based software which pushes the content to the device itself. Once an immersive session is scheduled, the appropriate media files will be downloaded onto the devices in the background, minimising dependency on bandwidth. Content can be remotely controlled by facilitator, an operation that does require an internet connection, however, it only requires minimal bandwidth.  

The hardware is so expensive, is this at all sustainable?

Hardware is no longer expensive. All INSEAD campuses are already fully VR capable, and the operational costs are minimal.

The quality of the video in VR is lower than my mobile’s screen, isn’t this an inferior product in that sense?

It is true that the display resolution still isn’t as sharp as we would want it to be. In live 360 videos it might not be as sharp as your 4K TV. However, the immersive quality and the human brain’s ability to ignore such distortions when feeling immersed, makes up for this disadvantage. Regardless, quality is improving with each generation of headsets developed, and we expect that in future generations of the technology, these differences would become negligible.  


Why would this be attractive for corporate decision makers?

For different corporate stakeholders immersive learning provides added value. For the participant it provides an engaging, experiential, and fun way to learn. There’s always something exciting every time you put on the VR set, waiting to be teleported to somewhere else.

For HR and learning professionals – this provides an innovative and different solution than traditional learning. Today, immersive learning is a unique INSEAD offering. To sustain our value proposition, the ability to tailor experiences to organizational or market specific aspects is a unique offering and value generator for tailored learning.

Live VR streaming is a technological solution already available. This would enable remote participants to join through VR and feel as if they are in the same room as their colleagues. This enables organizations to broaden the number and levels of participants in corporate programmes, cutting down on travel costs, time spent, not to mention issues related to travel in times of COVID.

For senior management this is a great offering, allowing them to leave critical staff on site, but enabling them to participate in a manner that is closest to physical reality as possible.

The VR classroom really confines you to a certain space, would this create bottlenecks and limited capabilities to execute learning with VR?

As our proprietary software system is cloud based, and the headsets are portable, there is no reason to have a dedicated VR class, any class, amphi or breakout room can become a VR class, just by having the headsets in them. Moreover, VR can and should also be used also in remote learning sessions, thus any on-campus bottlenecks become irrelevant.

Now that many modules are moving online, how can VR help there?

VR capabilities are agnostic to location; all you need to do is get a headset to the learner. This could be accomplished in several ways – send out campus sets / lease a headset for a limited period of time from a third-party vendor / purchase a headset for each participant. That headset will be used by participants in future INSEAD modules or programmes.

In COVID and generally when it comes to personal hygiene, wouldn’t people be reluctant to put on a shared headset?

The safety and health of INSEAD participants and staff is of utmost importance. Each campus is equipped with a “cleanbox” – UVC based disinfecting device, which can treat a number of headsets each time, and with a cycle time of a few minutes to disinfect each batch.

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