A Great e-Learning Platform IS More Than Just "Educational Software" - Echo360

Teaching online offers several advantages over in-person seminars. eLearning software solutions are more efficient than travel, textbooks, and paper tests. Online training promotes better learner engagement since it provides more flexibility to choose what to study and when. Many students learn more effectively through eLearning, and it’s easier to keep track of their performance when technology is involved. 


Online learning provides benefits for organizations as well. eLearning is typically more affordable than in-person training since you don’t need as much physical maintenance, upkeep, and labor time. Most learning platforms will generally include some kind of administrative portal that makes it easy to view how learners are faring in their courses. It’s easier to create content on an online learning platform and recycle courses that your organization frequently needs, from compliance training to ninth-grade biology. Most importantly, learners are less likely to get lost in the shuffle with eLearning. 


Of course, you’ll need a fantastic eLearning platform to realize any of these benefits. Luckily, the educational experts at Echo360 have teamed up to develop learning engagement platforms built for everyone, everywhere. The Echosystem is a suite of products that offers all of the functionality you and your instructors need to help learners unleash their true potential. It’s predicated on our e³ philosophy of equity, evidence, and engagement to bring online and hybrid learning to the next level! Please read further to discover more about our eLearning platforms and how they could help your organization reach its online learning goals. 



What is a learning platform?

While most people associate the learning platform with any computer tool that facilitates eLearning, a formal definition can be difficult to come by. One good example would be to think of a learning platform as a framework of tools working seamlessly together to deliver a learner-centric experience by unifying theory and practice with technology and content. 


There are multiple types of learning platforms, many of which are more well-known than the learning platform itself. The most well-known is the learning management system or LMS. An LMS is software designed to facilitate the delivery, automation, tracking, documentation, and administration of courses, professional training, and learning or development programs. The first LMS software solutions emerged during the 1990s, and many eLearning vendors are now moving away from the term as outdated (even as remote learning becomes more popular). 


Unfortunately, LMS vendors cannot agree on what they want to call themselves, meaning that one company’s learning management system could have a drastically different name from another’s. Some of the most common names out there include the Learning Experience Platforms (LXP), Talent Development Platforms (TDP), Talent Experience Platforms (TXP), and Digital Learning Platforms (DLP). The Content Management System (CMS) also deserves mention as software to create and deliver digital courses, though its role is more administrative than the typical learning management system. 


Most eLearning experts agree that the alphabet soup above serves no purpose other than confusing consumers, making LMS the industry standard even if software vendors don’t want it to be. It’s safe to focus on what platforms do rather than what they call themselves when exploring eLearning options.


Is your platform a learning management system?

Echo360 does not call the Echosystem or its products an LMS, even though they collectively offer most of the functionality provided by a learning management system. The software suite allows for the creation of courses and lessons within courses with features such as live streaming, chat, virtual whiteboard, in-line quizzes, live results by a student, and on-demand playback. Echo360 also offers a robust set of video management tools to turn passive video into active learning, helping students get more out of it.  


If your organization already uses an LMS, Echo360 solutions can integrate with it to create more powerful eLearning solutions. If you don’t have an LMS, the Echosystem could provide you with the tools you need to effectively deliver training and courses to your people. 

The Echosystem’s components work great as a standalone products but foster even greater learning when combined with our other offerings. For example, EchoExam is a test builder and student evaluation tool that makes it easy to create assignments, launch classroom assessment questions, and evaluate student performance in real time. EchoEngage is designed to maximize student engagement through simple yet compelling multi-mode presentation while tracking attendance, awarding credit for participation, providing assessments, and comparing data to monitor student progress. It can also help teachers visualize student performance and engagement to make it easier to spot trends. EchoVideo is our lecture capture tool with simple editing, automatic speech recognition (ASR), closed captioning compatibility, streaming, and more. And EchoAuthor helps turn lectures and courses into multi-modal, hybrid learning experiences that engage and drive better comprehension.

8 top benefits of online education

Learning online was tough for many during the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of students fell behind in their academic development. However, this shouldn’t be seen as an indictment of online learning platforms. Students and teachers (as well as the administrators and school districts that support them) were thrust into eLearning unexpectedly and with inadequate software for the task at hand. Studies have consistently shown that eLearning offers numerous advantages over in-person lessons when done correctly, eight of which are illustrated below:

1. Blended learning


Blended learning happens whenever a single learner receives both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, with multiple methodologies based on the balance between them. One of the most common forms of blended learning is the flipped classroom, where students are exposed to information through self-paced assignments instead of direct instruction. Then, classroom time can focus on practical applications or exploring content in greater depth as opposed to the traditional lecture. Blended learning strategies such as the flipped classroom are 40 to 60% less time-consuming for students and employees than old-fashioned learning, saving organizations money as well as time. 


The Echosystem allows teachers to create self-paced assignments and give them to students on an individualized basis, so everyone can watch the video on World War II or safety regulations while laggards receive additional content to help them catch up to their peers. It also supports live courses to help students explore the implications of the material presented in the self-paced assignments with their instructors.


2. Online formats encourage participation

Some students (especially younger ones) may be shy about raising their hands for help in front of their friends. They may worry about looking “dumb” for not understanding a concept or fear the social repercussions of showing too much interest in school. Unfortunately, this prevents many students from getting the support they need to understand the content and prepare for more advanced courses down the line. A similar issue arises when employees are studying potentially sensitive topics such as racism and sexual harassment where workers might feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions. 


Polling features in EchoEngage solve this issue by allowing students to participate anonymously. The instructor can conduct live polls and use screen sharing to share the results with the group without revealing any individual’s response. Furthermore, the instructor can hide any sensitive content on their screen from the group. A learner can also send their instructor a confusion alert to ask for support without anybody else knowing they did so. If a learner needs support, EchoEngage helps ensure they get it promptly. 


3. Enhanced retention rates

The traditional classroom revolves around lecture-based presentations, but many students and employees don’t learn best that way. Often, a classroom setting doesn’t lend itself to hands-on learning due to time constraints or kinesthetic learning due to space limitations. Teachers may try to incorporate visual aids into their presentations but often struggle to find enough of them to help visual students learn. eLearning gives students more control over how they learn, leading to a 25 to 60% boost in retention rates compared to 8% with one-on-one tutoring. eLearning also improves employee engagement during training by up to 18% according to the same source. 


The Echosystem allows organizations to create multiple types of training to accommodate as many different learning styles as possible. For example, a visual learner might use plot diagrams to illustrate the action in a Shakespearean play while an aural learner listens to a discussion of the action instead. There is no correct way to learn, and our tools allow students to study content however makes them feel most comfortable. 


4. Easy online review

One of the most important advantages of eLearning is also the most obvious. Students can take notes during classroom lectures but struggle to review any material they missed. They cannot rewind real life and their instructor is a busy individual who cannot repeat everything outside of meetings. Likewise, live courses are typically scheduled for set durations that mentors cannot exceed even if they wanted to. If a learner needs extra support, they might just be stuck. 


eLearning means that most training materials are placed online, allowing students to go back for a refresher whenever they like. EchoVideo has outstanding search capabilities to help students quickly find whatever content they’d like to revisit. Using a learning platform like EchoEngage means instructors can create courses that prevent students from moving to advanced material before mastering the basics. The result is a smooth learning experience for everyone involved. 


5. Standardization

As organizations get bigger and have employees throughout the globe, they may find that workers near headquarters receive better training than remote team members due to proximity. Similarly, organizations might offer more learning opportunities to local employees because there isn’t a language barrier during training. While understandable, these issues can hurt company morale and foster an “us vs. them” mentality between groups of workers. 


eLearning ensures that all workers enjoy equity in training access no matter their geographic location. The organization benefits from all employees having the same training and the most up-to-date data, while workers benefit from access to reskilling and upskilling opportunities. We take this idea one step further than most platforms by offering a UI (or user interface) that supports multiple languages including American English, UK English, Australian English, French, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Finnish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Norwegian, and Thai. 


6. Better Affordability

In-person training requires employers to pay their employees not to work, cover travel expenses, and hire an instructor to teach all of the courses. Many organizations suffer lost productivity during training periods, and they also need to shell out for any physical tools needed for training such as workbooks and reference materials. In-person learning isn’t scalable at all, with courses having to start all over again even if little has changed since the previous training. You could ask your workers to attend training on their own time, but that would reduce attendance and send the message that your company doesn’t care that much about providing training to employees. 


In the Echosystem, eLearning addresses nearly all of these problems. Virtual courses can be used over and over again so you don’t have to pay an instructor for each separate training. They’re easy to update when courses need a refresh. All study materials are available digitally, so you aren’t paying to print workbooks or transport employees from the office to a classroom for training. Your workers can choose the courses that most interest them, while course management is handled through accessible admin dashboards. Once you see how easy training becomes with learning software from the Echosystem, you’ll never want to go back to old-fashioned training. 


7. Easy to update

Courses have to evolve constantly to keep up with districts changing the curricula or the latest rules and regulations in industry, meaning that organizations can seldom create courses and consider them finished. News items can also add context to training materials. If you’re relying on in-person training, you’ll need to make sure admins know the new material so they can help students learn it. Any physical media will have to be redesigned from scratch, and you’ll need to manually track who has completed the updated training. 


eLearning allows existing courses to be updated with just a few clicks, ensuring that everyone gets the training they need. EchoEngage will help you track who has completed the updated courses and act as proof of training for certification or recertification purposes. You can even save older versions of courses if there’s any chance they might prove useful later. 


8. Lower carbon footprint

eLearning isn’t completely carbon-neutral since students need electricity to access online courses and may print some of their materials, but it’s much better for the environment than in-person learning. There’s no travel involving fossil fuels, no printing of huge textbooks that many students will never even open, and no need for paper for routine note-taking. According to the UK’s Open University, distance learning requires 87% less energy and produces 85 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions per student


If more organizations choose online learning platforms for their learning, training, and development needs, it’ll be that much easier for future generations to keep enjoying our planet.  


What are the most important features to look for in an eLearning platform?

We know that there are a ton of eLearning solutions on the market, and researching them all at once can feel overwhelming. The right fit for any organization depends on who will be using it for training (students and admins), what types of training are needed, the total number of users, and which features are most important (among many other factors). 


The last point is a common sticking point since many eLearning novices don’t yet know which features they should be looking for. Therefore, we are proud to provide several features that every great learning platform should have: 

Accessibility for all learners

Your learners may have different needs, but everybody deserves equity in their access to educational opportunities. The Echosystem supports single-source hybrid learning, meaning that you can use its eLearning authoring software to design both synchronous and asynchronous training. Live classes are recorded automatically, ensuring that remote learners can play them back and receive the same information as attendees did. Attendees can also go back for an online refresher at any time. Several components of the Echosystem also meet or exceed all Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), the industry standard in making online content more accessible for individuals with disabilities. 


EchoVideo uses ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) technology to transcribe and index all video content to make it more accessible. These transcripts facilitate easy editing or captioning and activate multimodal learning by allowing students to follow along with video content. Captioning also ensures that learners with hearing impairments can use the same content as their peers and colleagues.   


Real-time reporting capabilities

Organizations sometimes struggle to monitor learner progress, but that’s not a problem in the Echosystem. Your admins will be able to add in-line quizzes to break up large blocks of information, ensuring that learners have grasped one concept before moving to the next. Our learning platforms also facilitate two-way feedback, allowing teachers to ask learners how they could improve a class just as easily as they grade student work.


If you want to ensure that no biases affect the evidence you’re using to make decisions, try EchoExam. This test generator allows instructors to design fair tests with multiple question types to stimulate learners while providing all students with an equitable challenge. Admins can generate up to 26 different tests instantaneously to reduce sharing of information, and bimodal functionality changes the difficulty of test content to better meet the needs of learners. 


Personalization helps students and employees learn

One of the best ways to engage online learners is to treat them as individuals, and the Echosystem supports personalized learning paths to help each learner take the courses that most benefit them. You can automate enrollment in your onboarding program for fresh hires or copy and paste email addresses to ensure that students who didn’t do well on the last English test get the extra support they need. EchoEngage tools offer a great admin dashboard as well, so you’ll easily be able to keep track of all of the different courses your organization offers.


Students enjoy agency with online learning. For example, show learners recommended courses based on the training they’ve completed before. Likewise, employees can look up which courses could help them pursue a particular career move, letting them dictate what upskilling or reskilling looks like. When employees exercise control over their training, they’ll get more out of it while driving growth for your company. 


Engaging learning interfaces

Your learners won’t get anything out of their coursework if their minds start wandering, so the Echosystem includes a variety of engagement tools to maintain their attention. For instance, gamification elements such as badges and social learning foster friendly competition between students, encouraging everybody to do their best. 


If you want to take engagement one step further, EchoEngage allows students to use their cell phones to respond in real time. If any students don’t own a phone, they can still participate online through a browser. There is no better way to collect real-time evidence on student engagement, especially when EchoEngage provides engagement scores to give teachers the evidence they need to adjust courses based on student performance.


EchoAuthor drives the ability to create stunning and engaging courses. Adding multimedia elements helps training stand out and provides multi-modal opportunities to better understand concepts. Marry video, PowerPoint, and more into one cohesive course. Plus, you can share your courses with other instructors and collaborate to create something great. Speaking of collaboration… 


Powerful collaboration tools

EchoAuthor isn’t the only branch of the Echosystem to facilitate collaboration. One of the biggest weaknesses of eLearning is that remote students can feel disconnected from their teachers, peers, and colleagues. We solve this issue by encouraging interactions during synchronous and asynchronous courses. For example, students in a live class can raise their virtual hands just as easily as they could in person if they need extra support. Students can also see and hear each other during live courses and participate in live chats, enabling the same type of discussion you would expect in a typical classroom. Best of all, courses can include virtual breakout rooms allowing groups of students to learn and collaborate without disrupting other groups. Teachers can pop in and out of these breakout rooms to keep students on task without compromising their independence. 


Asynchronous students aren’t attending live courses and therefore cannot interact with peers the same way, but EchoEngage gives them a leg up. Threaded message boards are a great way for asynchronous students to communicate, and admins can post important information on the community bulletin board to keep them in the loop. Private messaging can also help learners get one-on-one support from their instructor.


Take training on the go

Echosystem elements run well on mobile devices without dedicated apps so that learners and administrators can choose how they’d like to engage with it. If a fifth-grader studies best in the serene atmosphere of the school library, they can review online content whenever they get to go there. If a high school student finds they study best in their bedroom, accessing educational content there is as easy as pulling out their phone. 


While children certainly benefit from eLearning, working adults get a lot from it as well. For example, just-in-time learning helps employees bridge the disconnect between eLearning and its practical applications by giving them access to information at the job site. Busy adults may also lack the free time to sit through an in-person seminar, so watching content on their phones is a better fit for their schedules. If you show workers how much you value their time, you might be surprised by the increased effort they put forth for you. 


Administer fair assessments

The question bank built into EchoExam includes over 15,600 questions aligned with federal Common Core standards. Additionally, there are thousands of textbooks with test banks that are compatible with EchoExam. Teachers will never run out of items, allowing courses to include interactive questions to hold learner attention while study guides and exams still have enough questions to monitor learner progress. Content partners, including textbook publishers, also provide material for professionals covering compliance training, advice on customer support, and more. EchoExam isn’t just for a school environment.

If you want to write your own items, EchoExam supports numerous question formats including true/false, numeric response, multiple-choice, multiple-response, matching, short answers, sentence completions, and essays. EchoExam also includes a question randomizer to ensure equity for all test-takers. You can even use tracking tools to identify which content areas are solid and any topics students might need to review again.


Outstanding e-Learning authoring software

While many online learning platforms either don’t offer authoring tools or expect users to have expansive coding knowledge to use them, the Echosystem keeps things simple. EchoAuthor’s Knowbly is an awesome standalone option to create courses for any LMS, while EchoEngage allows you to deliver and assess directly. You can create courses using a library of graphical assets and images to create presentations that pop with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Adding a video from platforms such as YouTube is also as easy as bringing it into the Echosystem by typing the URL into a field. Alternatively, Echo360’s Universal Capture capabilities make it easy to create video content by recording yourself. 


Echo360 even has special nomenclature to help novices create courses and share content with peers. Whether live or self-paced, all courses are called decks. Each course is comprised of one or more slides, defined as a single screen in a deck. You can pull any slide out of a deck and add it to another deck or turn it into an individual assignment, making it easy to share content between courses. 


Compatibility with learning management systems like Moodle

If your organization already has online educational materials that you trust, Echo360 lets you keep using them. Our online learning platform integrates with popular learning management systems such as Moodle, Canvas, and Blackboard so you can easily use and edit the existing course content. Furthermore, you can export Microsoft Powerpoint presentations directly into the Echosystem to expand their functionality, adding them to courses or as standalone content. 


Echo360 makes it easy to share data to the LMS of your choice to make evidence easier to view, ensuring that you can take action whenever a learner needs extra support. If you like, course development can also take place on an LMS. We have built-in integration with solutions such as Zoom, Salesforce, and other tools that organizations depend on. Echo360 gives you all of the information and resources you need to help your people learn. 


Tap into the full potential of video

Video is a common educational tool, but many students put their heads down as soon as the television comes into sight. Echo360 transforms video into a truly interactive tool capable of enhancing all courses. Students can take notes that are automatically time-synced to events in the video, allowing for review in proper context later on. Echo360 also has a search bar reminiscent of a modern search engine, allowing students and admins to type in specific words and immediately find related content. If you’ve ever spent hours trying to find a specific video clip, you know how much of a game-changer this is relative to other online learning platforms. 


Echo360 even has a dedicated player for students who want to view video content on smaller screens. Other online learning platforms might claim to support video content, but none do so to the extent of Echo360. 


What else should I be looking for in a remote learning system?

Any learning platform is prone to technological hiccups, human error, and situations where you know what you want the software to do but can’t seem to get anything to happen. Echo360 provides outstanding customer support 24/7, ensuring that you can get the support you need whenever something goes awry. Sadly, customer support is frequently lacking in the eLearning industry, with many LMS vendors referring their customers to an online database of FAQs or user-generated reference pages and calling it support. 


Most organizations also want a SaaS solution, which stands for Software as a Service. If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, it just means that you access everything online instead of installing costly hardware and trying to maintain it against the ongoing threat of cyber attacks. In the Echosystem, all of your courses will live on the cloud where you can edit and manage them with ease.  


Pricing is an important consideration when researching online learning platforms as well. Open-source LMS software such as Moodle claims to be free, but you’ll quickly find that it’s anything but when you consider server costs, hiring programmers to customize, and trying to turn an unintuitive interface into something your organization can use effectively. In general, paid services provide better value and cost certainty to help you plan your budget. 


Finally, many organizations want a learning platform that supports vILT (or Virtual Instructor-Led Training) because it largely mirrors the traditional classroom in a remote environment. We offer an ideal solution for vILT because teachers can schedule courses and invite students to log in at the prescribed time. You can also schedule events like pep rallies and important company updates to build a community around your organization while ensuring everyone can access the latest news.  

How can I learn more about learning platforms?

There are tons of educational software options on the market, and figuring out what helps students learn can prove tricky. You could read online reviews of several different platforms, but most reviews involve complicated jargon that can prove difficult to decipher. Some LMS vendors also pay for favorable reviews, meaning that Google isn’t always a reliable source of information. 


Word of mouth is another way to compare learning platforms, but every organization has unique needs. Just because an online learning platform offers great tools for K-12 students doesn’t automatically mean that it also offers an intuitive interface for remote employees or a content library covering common professional topics such as sales and safety training. Beware of platforms emphasizing pricing as well. Cost is just one of many reasons to choose a particular learning platform over other software and ineffective platforms are often the root cause of poor eLearning results. 

At Echo360, we don’t want to tell you how great our online learning platform is or what its pros and cons are. We believe the best way to discover what our eLearning software solutions could do for your organization is to see them in action for yourself. Book a free demo today to learn more about the capabilities of the Echosystem! You will be glad you did. 

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Best-In-Class Learning Management Solution

Question Types

With over 14 different question types, you can match the assessment to the material at hand. Use traditional test question types such as true/false, multiple-choice, multiple response, numeric response, matching, completion, short answer and essay to review, re-teach and reinforce learning.

Reporting & Analytics

Ensuring that learners understand the information presented and how it can impact their success is key. Assess, track and analyze learner performance. Get results immediately and view valuable reports at the individual level, or for the class or group as a whole. Provide results in real-time, or at a later time as preferred.

Dynamic Bimodal Versioning

With dynamic content, generate multiple iterations of exam questions to test the same concept. Use bimodal to toggle between multiple-choice and short answer question types, immediately changing the item difficulty level.

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I Want More Engaging Interactive Lectures in My Classroom

To learn more about how Echo360’s Echosystem can help you conduct more interactive lectures that truly engage each student’s attention, contact us today. We’re excited to share all the features of the Echosystem that can help.


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