Barco, a global leader in networked visualization solutions, has launched the Virtual Classroom and its first install at the leading IESE Business School in Barcelona. The newest use case of the weConnect, cloud-based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution makes remote, higher education even more interactive and engaging than ever before.

The Virtual Classroom allows Business Schools, Universities and Corporate Learning centers to deliver a personalized learning experience not only to students within the walls of a classroom, but to students across the globe.

Since its initial release weConnect has a growing install base. Thanks to the feedback of customers like IESE Business School, weConnect is expanding its active learning possibilities with the launch of the Virtual Classroom, next to existing use cases like premium huddle spaces, lecture halls, connected classrooms and collaboration rooms.

Offered as a SaaS, the subscription-based business model offers customers the flexibility to expand easily and to control their expenses in balance with their actual needs. This enables new opportunities for weConnect customers to adapt and expand their learning offering but also to become more cost efficient in addressing the ever growing needs and the continuously changing requirements for lifelong learning.

The Virtual Classroom is a brand new learning and teaching environment, where participants interact, communicate, view and discuss presentations, and engage with learning resources while working in groups, all in an online setting.

This next generation classroom opens up the virtual distance-learning experience we have known up to now and facilitates live teaching to a remote group with maintained attention span and enhanced engagement.

In a Virtual Classroom teachers engage and interact as if in a traditional classroom setting, while students can be anywhere in the world. Teachers share video files, host live chats, share interactive learning activities, and incorporate instant feedback from the students. This recreates the face-to-face learning experience that students can have in on campus sessions, with integrated interactivity features like interactive polls and quizzes, silent questions and collaborative whiteboards delivered via a user friendly browser interface.

The Virtual Classrooms offers a highly intuitive and engaging learning experience. The added value of technology in the virtual environment is substantial and enables teachers to interact with remote students in a one of a kind and natural way.

At the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Barco installed the first next generation scalable and affordable virtual classroom enabling truly effective remote face to face learning. This Virtual Classroom is designed to host up to 80 people to connect in synchronous sessions from anywhere in the world, in high quality and with an audio-visual production similar to a broadcast production.

Giuseppe Auricchio, Director of the IESE Learning Innovation Unit confirmed, “The Virtual Classroom allows us to overcome some of the more common obstacles in executive learning: namely, the time and expense involved with travel, which limits the use of face-to-face learning. With the Virtual Classroom, we can now extend learning experiences over time, by blending face-to-face with online learning”.

IESE is planning to use the new technology in the majority of its programmes as a reinforcement of face-to-face teaching at its five campuses. Thousands of people will experience the new classroom in the coming year, benefiting from this innovation in executive education.