About VirBELA

Overview and Mission

VirBELA is an educational design organization that provides innovative learning technologies to enhance global educational experiences that empower individuals, teams, and organizations. Our model allows for a level of engagement and participation that can typically only be achieved with face-to-face instruction. Our proprietary immersive 3D campus, which supports blended learning and big data assessment, is highly customizable to meet the branding and educational needs of our clients. Our mission is to transform learning for everyone, everywhere.


Our Start

VirBELA was founded by Dr. Alex Howland and Dr. Ron Rembisz, who submitted their idea for VirBELA to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Ideas to Innovation Challenge, in 2010. The challenge sought the most innovative ideas to improve management education. Alex and Ron were winners in the competition and went on to secure a large grant from GMAC to implement their idea in collaboration with the Rady School of Management and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD. Since then, VirBELA has built a world class multi-disciplinary team, and has joined forces with strategic partners and clients.

Team and Leadership

Our Multidisciplinary Team

The VirBELA team consists of multidisciplinary professionals with expertise in education, organizational psychology, software engineering, 3D art, and serious game development.

Team & Leadership

  • Alex Howland, Ph.D. - CEO
  • Ron Rembisz, Ph.D. - Head of Business Development
  • Sheldon Brown - Head of Technology & Innovation
  • Erik Hill - Lead Software Engineer
  • Wes Hawkins - Software Engineer, Game Designer & 3D Environment Artist
  • Eric Raio - Software Engineer - Web Technologies
  • Nicole Galinato - 3D Artist
  • Stephanie Angel - 3D Character Artist
  • Keeya Wang-Jones - Experience Design Engineer
  • Cindy Chen - 3D Artist
  • Kristen Clemens - 3D Artist
  • Tiffani Wang-Jones - Assessment Scientist
  • Sherilin Heise - Research Scientist & Education Designer
  • Alastair Macfarlane, Ph.D. - UK Representative
  • Nick Allen - UK Representative

The Technology

More than a decade after Second Life's release and Avaya Live Engage shutting down, our vision required a fresh, modern approach. We built Virbela on top of the powerful Unity Game Engine which allows us to take advantage of their on-going development. We build activities into our virtual world platform to support learning objectives and then utilize data driven techniques to assess participants. See below for a list of some of the collaboration features our software offers.

  • Communication
  • Voice Over IP
  • Text Chat
  • Private Text Chat
  • Private Voice Over IP
  • Avatar Gestures
  • Basic Collaboration
  • Collaborative Web Browsing
  • Google Slides Presentations
  • Google Docs
  • Whiteboards
  • Virtual Laser Pointer
  • Advanced Collaboration
  • Team Building Activities
  • Business Simulations
  • Record/Replay System
  • Participant Data Visualizations

The design of the environment is essential to fostering the kind of community and engagement you desire. We design spaces to meet your unique needs or you can utilize our off-the-shelf rooms. Check out some of our offerings in the Room Gallery.

System Requirements

Operating Systems Supported:

Windows 7+, Mac OS X 10.6+

Hardware Requirements & Recommendations:

  • Graphics Card: DX9 with shader model 2.0 capabilities; Intel HD3000 or better (Dedicated video card highly recommended)
  • CPU: 2.0Ghz Dual Core CPU or higher; Intel Core 2 or AMD Phenom recommended
  • 500MB Available Storage
  • 2GB RAM (4GB recommended)

Technical Support

Please visit our technical support page for troubleshooting help.

Your VirBELA world begins here. Let's Chat!