Facilitating Professional Development Through Inspired Learning

Professional development is frequently cited as one of the most important things employees look for from a prospective employer. Even the most experienced workers are looking to learn new skills to drive them toward further success, and companies, non-profits, and other organizations should be investing in professional development training to facilitate growth within their employees. 


Of course, the desire for professional development and launching a successful program are two very different things. One of the biggest hurdles to clear is that you need your team to buy into the idea of training. If an employee has been on the job for 30 years and you suddenly throw them into training on how to do something basic, you’re wasting their time — and it’s more likely to insult them than contribute to their professional development.  



Instead, professional development courses need to inspire employees through clear, practical applications and opportunities for career advancement. Echo360 has created a suite of educational software products called the Echosystem to do just that. Within the Echosystem, there are a number of different tools that facilitate professional development. 


Knowbly gives course creators all of the resources they need to create content that pops. PointSolutions facilitates real-time polling and collaboration. EchoEngage helps learners, instructors, and admins take part in and track the success of a professional development campaign. EchoExam guarantees fair assessments while reducing the instructor’s workload. EchoVideo turns training videos into dynamic educational tools. Keep reading to learn more about professional development and how the Echosystem empowers inspired learning! 


Professional Development

What is professional development and what benefits can it provide?

You’ll need a solid understanding of what professional development is before you can lead your staff to professional growth. Professional development includes any training intended to help workers develop the skills needed to perform their current job functions or pursue their career ambitions. 


Professional development training may take many forms, like continuing education courses, professional workshops, pursuing industry credentials or certifications, research, and participation in professional organizations. Ultimately, the format of the training isn’t as important as giving your team the resources it needs to grow. 


Professional development provides numerous benefits for businesses and workers. Research indicates that 86 percent of workers would be willing to switch jobs if it meant more training opportunities, so a robust professional development campaign can help companies retain their existing workforce while attracting fresh talent. That means spending fewer financial resources on hiring and onboarding. 


Additionally, in-house training often gives organizations access to skills they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. For example, hiring someone who can code in Python is considerably more expensive than training an existing employee in Python. 


At the same time, professional development allows employees to develop new skills such as how to compose an effective memo, work as a team, and manage their time. Leadership training could also prove valuable for anybody interested in pursuing career advancement. Professional conferences and classes can help workers network with like-minded individuals as well, gaining new mentors while teaching what they’ve learned to others. 


Most importantly, professional development fosters a culture of learning and growth that will help your entire organization boost productivity and become more rewarding for everyone involved.  


Education software designed for professional development programs

At first glance, you might not think that an educational software suite like the Echosystem would be an appropriate tool for professional development. However, a remote classroom setting can be a great way to inspire learning for busy people. Here are some development ideas tied to a sample of our tools: 



Knowbly is a course creation tool that makes it easy to engage learners with effective education materials. Content created on Knowbly is responsive on all devices, showing learners how much you value their time by facilitating learning on their terms. On-demand resources can also be accessed at the point of need, bridging the gap between training and its practical applications. Learning is most effective when trainees have an active interest in the material, and Knowbly uses an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to help course creators add multimedia elements to liven up classes. You can even edit professional development content with a single click, ensuring that the material always remains up-to-date.  



EchoVideo is a video platform that transforms passive video into active learning. ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) technology creates transcriptions of video content that can be made available to students. These transcripts also make content searchable, allowing learners and instructors alike to search for specific terms at any time. If a learner wants to review federal safety regulations, they can skip to that section of a video instead of fumbling around blindly trying to find it. With EchoVideo, admins can keep track of their video library and view analytics such as which video sections are most popular as well. 



PointSolutions is a real-time polling tool providing instructors with all kinds of data to support professional development. Attendees can respond through their choice of smart device, web browser, or dedicated clickers to ensure that every voice is heard. Likewise, screen sharing allows instructors to stimulate group discussions and the exchange of ideas by showing class-wide responses to the entire group. Individual responses are anonymous, but the instructor can see who said what to ensure that extra support is available to anyone who might need it. Instructors can even get live engagement scores to help them decide when it’s time to move on to a fresh professional development topic. 



EchoExam is a test generation tool that can measure the efficacy of any professional development campaign. Features such as a question randomizer and bimodal capabilities ensure that every learner receives a test of equal difficulty without giving the same assessment to every test-taker. EchoExam also includes an extensive question bank with content from dozens of publishers in fields such as K-12 education, healthcare services, hospitality, higher education, and more. Admins can review test scores directly within EchoExam or in their learning management system (LMS) of choice for maximal flexibility as well.  


Three attributes all development programs should emphasize

The Echosystem provides all of the tools and resources required for professional development, but knowing how to deploy them is key to providing great training. Here are three attributes that help learners get the most out of the training opportunities available to them: 


Assessment Examview


Professional development is a term that can be interpreted in many ways, and learners need to understand what success looks like to pursue it. EchoEngage includes communication features such as threaded message boards and pinned content to easily share expectations across an entire organization. If you’re measuring performance through assessments, quizzes can be embedded into video content on EchoVideo or added to self-paced assignments in Knowbly to identify at-risk learners before it’s too late to intervene. The EchoExam question bank ensures that you won’t ever run out of items for exams, quizzes, study guides, and assignments.  



Professional development isn’t about what educators already know, but the new skills they can develop, meaning that learners need to be forced outside of their comfort zones to get the most out of it. EchoEngage gives each learner a personal dashboard with content customized toward their goals, helping learners find the opportunities they need to pursue career advancement and become more effective employees. Social learning and gamification elements are also available as positive reinforcement to encourage learners to try something new. If a learner feels overwhelmed by all of the new content they’re exploring, PointSolutions makes it easy to send a discreet confusion alert for extra help.  



Support for professional development is generally measured in financial resources, but while funding is important, it isn’t the only thing that determines the success or failure of these programs. Businesses also need to encourage learners to take chances and make mistakes as they work toward mastering new skills. Failure can be a great teacher, but it can also act as an obstacle to development if learners are punished for trying new things. EchoEngage facilitates two-way communication between learners and instructors to ensure everyone remains on the same page. Similarly, EchoExam can reveal a test-taker’s score immediately or at a later time depending on the context of the situation. If your staff feels that your professional development program provides genuine support, they’ll often be inspired to push themselves.  


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Transform employee education into inspired learning with Echo360

Between developing content, finding qualified instructors, and devoting time to training, professional development is a considerable investment. That said, professional development is essential for all organizations. If your state has continuing development policies to maintain licensure or a state board requiring a certain number of credits for recertification purposes, professional development is mandated by law. Development opportunities can also be a great way to attract talented people and retain your best team members. 


The Echosystem is built on our e3 philosophy of equity, evidence, and engagement to provide outstanding career development opportunities to everyone who works for your organization. All of our tools were developed by instructors for instructors, so you can be sure they’ll exceed your expectations. 


If you would like to learn more about the components of the Echosystem or how your organization could use it to facilitate professional development, contact us for further information today! You won’t want to go back once you experience what the Echosystem can do for continuing education.  


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