Why No One Used Your Previous Software Systems

May 14, 2015 at 9:00 am | Posted in Integrating Tools into Online Courses | Leave a comment
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In a recent Harvard Business Review article with an eye-catching title of Why No One Uses the Corporate Social Network”, Charlene Li says corporations must wake up to “a landscape littered with failed technology deployments.” She explains:

“Altimeter’s research shows that less than half of the enterprise collaboration tools installed have many employees using them regularly (see figure below). I recently spoke with the leadership team of a top Silicon Valley technology firm that had installed an internal enterprise collaboration platform for its employee engagement and collaboration efforts. After an initial spike in adoption, usage slowly dwindled. It was a disappointing outcome and they wanted to know how to fix it, or if they should maybe just toss it out and invest in a new platform.

“As I stood in front of the executive team I posed an opening question: ‘How many of you have been on the platform in the past week?’”

“Only a single hand went up – the administrator of the platform.”

“The problem was simple and obvious – because the top executives didn’t see collaboration and engagement as a good use of their time, employees quickly learned that they shouldn’t either.”

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In my own experience, both before I came to Edvance360 and while training numerous corporations and organizations on Edvance360’s learning management system and secure social network (LMS-SN) or Networked Learning Environment, I have found the same to be true in many cases. Leadership know there’s a challenge to strengthen the corporate culture, train employees, coach and develop behaviors, build collaboration, streamline processes, remove silos, decrease “brain drain”, enhance communication, and generate team spirit. So, they purchase a silver-bullet-software system (or several) to solve the problem. But time and time again the employees see that their leaders don’t buy in, so they do not. The software fails to solve the problem and a new software is purchased.

At Edvance360, our trainers and support staff (and even the sales people) are trained to sniff out the real issues of a corporation, hearing both the stated mission and the ethos (hidden mission).

Often, at the very onset, we discover the leadership has simply handed down a decision on the software without getting the rest of the teams on board. This creates tension between those who have to “implement” the “strategy” and gain the actual buy-in. These team members look to our team members to help them 1) get to know their processes, 2) develop workflows in Edvance360 LMS-SN to enhance or manage those processes, and 3) to train people to use the software all while convincing them that they ought to use the tools to make their lives easier.

While it is very much true that the tools, if used correctly, will indeed make employee’s lives easier, eliminate redundant silos, and create a more efficient layer of communication, it can’t reach down to the leadership problem.

To better embed it within the culture of the corporation, we recommend making the corporate social network (and it’s little-used cousin the intranet) a part of the learning management eco-system. Using a social-LMS or LMS-SN (such as Edvance360 LMS-SN) can create value by combining social networking, intranet functionality, SSO, collaborative tools, file sharing, wikis, CRM integration, HRIS integration, video-conferencing, etc. Making it the all-around-go-to-place for anything the employees need raises it’s value immediately. Adding gamification functionality such as badges for completion of learning or tasks accomplished raises it even further. This is why Edvance360 is actually a further evolution of a learning management system – it’s a Networked Learning Environment.

Additionally, in the words of Peter Boag of Boagworld.com, we recommend:

“The [software] will only be adopted if it makes the lives of individual employees easier. The best way to discover how to do that is to spend time looking at how people organize themselves and look for improvements. Look for the paths they create rather than imposing your own pathways upon them.”1

We track the usage rate and after an initial burst of usage, it can start to dwindle – if we let it (but that’s for another day). The implementing employee “turns over” and a new administrator comes in, doesn’t know what the system is capable of, convinces the leadership to purchase another silver-bullet and the ride begins again. Only to be repeated. Each time the employees buy in less and less. So what is the real problem?

Charlene Li has more to say on this:

“Our research shows that leadership participation is crucial for collaboration. Leaders know they should engage with employees, especially via digital and social channels. But they don’t, and they offer a string of common excuses such as “I don’t have enough time” or “Nobody cares what I had for lunch.” More than anything else, they fear that engaging will close the power distance between them and their employees, thereby lessening their ability to command and control.”

She has three suggestions for becoming an “engaged leader – a person who is confident extending their leadership through and deeply into digital channels”:

  1. Listen at scale. The simple act of listening—and letting colleagues know that they are being heard—is the first crucial step to meaningful collaboration. Determine who you want to listen to based on where collaboration would be most useful to your organization: who are they, what are their biggest pain points, what information do you need to make key decisions? In this case, the collaboration tool could be any sort of feedback mechanism—a bulletin board or even an email inbox is better than no feedback loop. The key is that you, as a leader, need to be on the other end, eager and open to learn and listen.
  2. Share to shape.  To get started with sharing, identify the platform your employees are already using. Then think of a story you can tell there that will inspire someone to take action toward achieving a key objective. You could share the highlights of a customer conversation or a news article that reinforces a strategic decision. As a leader, the key is to start collecting and sharing in order to shape specific outcomes. While it’s true that no one really cares what you had for lunch, they are keenly interested in what you discussed over lunch. Rather than expecting employees to guess what’s important to you, now you can tell them, easily, with stories and pictures on the digital channels they already use.
  3. Engage to transform.  Employees are smart—they won’t waste their time on stunts that are purely for show. Think about the types of engagements you want to have in digital channels—with whom, about what, and when. Engaging to transform is the capstone step in the journey to becoming an engaged leader. It involves listening and sharing (both are integral parts of engagement) and interacting with followers in a thoughtful way, either at scale or one-to-one. This is part of what makes engagement precious—it has tremendous meaning for the people with whom a leader chooses to engage. It is a tool, therefore, that should be used wisely and intentionally. If it becomes commonplace, it may lose its value.

To summarize, Charlene Li says “Collaboration depends on trust, and it’s crucial for leaders to learn how to do this in the digital era. The tools themselves matter less than the ability of leaders to describe the intent and purpose of the tools. Simply putting a technology platform in place won’t suffice—you must think through how the organization will change and how you will lead it into and through that change. Unless you have a magic wand, the fairy tale world of collaboration won’t happen simply because you plug in a technology. But you have something better—a leadership vision, strategic objectives, and the passion to guide your organization through the changes ahead. Rely on these foundational leadership skills and learn to extend them into the digital world. If you can do that, then collaboration will find its place in your organization.”

 

 

 

Edvance360 LMS-SN is Proud to be a CODiE 2015 SIIA Winner

May 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Posted in E360 News & Events | Leave a comment
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“The honor of being a CODiE Award finalist each of the seven years we have participated is a validation of the work we, and our network of clients, have invested into Edvance360.Glen Moriarty, President & CEO, E360

 Participating in the prestigious 2015 SIIA CODiE award event was a true privilege and momentum builder for Edvance360. Being a seven-year veteran to the CODiE’s “Top Finalists” charts, we were honored to take home our second win as the “Best Postsecondary Learning Management Solution” again this year.

Our Learning Management System and Secure Social Network continues to evolve the world of eLearning with award-winning social learning tools, rave-winning commitment to support, flexible interface and integrations, SCORM, Common Cartridge, and LTI compliance, integrated video-conferencing features, and many more cutting edge features.

We are proud to be chosen as a consistent winner for this category by leading software industry peers who dedicate themselves to searching out the “best of the best” in educational technology. Because of their notable excellence as professionals, as well as their commitment to the process of comparing the tools of hundreds of software companies, the CODiE’s themselves have proven to be one of the most respected awards of the software industry.

CODiEFinalist“Edvance360 keeps evolving education and we are proud this legacy continues.”

– Cathy Garland, VP of Sales & Marketing, Edvance360

 

Acknowledgements

We would like to take a moment to acknowledge all of those who have helped propel and secure Edvance360 in the winner’s circle this year. First, a special thank you to our loyal staff who sacrifice their time and effort to successfully maintain the highest quality of software and customer support. Second, to our faithful customers and their millions of users who utilize our cutting edge tools on a daily basis: we truly value your opinions and your continued support.

We would also like to thank the other companies that were considered as a part of the finalist list alongside Edvance360. We consider it an honor to be evaluated among such respected competitors. Lastly, we thank the SIIA, for recognizing the efforts of our team and selecting our software solution as one of the finest.

For more information about this year’s CODiE accomplishments for Edvance360, feel free to visit http://www.edvance360.com/codie-award-winner-2015/.

To learn more about Edvance360, a networked learning environment for every type of learner, sign up for a live demonstration of our product here http://www.edvance360.com.

StayTuned

 

Edvance360 Wins 2015 CODiE Award for Best LMS, Winning Twice and Maintaining Finalist Status for Seven Years Running

May 6, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Posted in E360 News & Events | Leave a comment
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Edvance360 LMS-SN, a leader in eLearning solutions and services, today announced it won the Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) 30th annual CODiE Award in the “Best Postsecondary Learning Management Solution” category. Edvance360 LMS-SN won the same award in 2011 and has been finalists for this award seven years running, continued proof that Edvance360 reflects excellence and innovation that stands out in the industry.

“The honor of being a CODiE Award finalist each of the years we have participated is a validation of the work we and our network of clients have invested into Edvance360,” says Glen Moriarty, President and CEO of Edvance360. “Winning the award yet again confirms that our industry peers agree with us: collaborative, learner-focused, and cost-effective solutions like Edvance360 provide exactly what educational institutions need.”

“Receiving the prestigious 2015 CODiE award recognizing Edvance360 as a world-class Learning Management System is an honor,” said Cathy Garland, Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Edvance360. “Receiving it twice makes us ecstatic. For seven years now, we’ve been one of the top three to five LMS vendors, as evidenced by our continued finalist status. Edvance360 keeps evolving education and we are proud this legacy continues. Version 8 comes out in just days – we cannot wait!”

For more information on why Edvance360 was chosen, click here.

Established in 1986, the CODiE Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and vision in the software, digital information and education technology industries. CODiE Finalists were chosen from judges encompassing technology trade journalists, consultants, educators, IT and product specialists, and other knowledgeable, yet neutral, experts. Winners were announced May 5th at an awards celebration and can be accessed at http://www.siia.net/codies/2015/winners.asp. The CODiE Awards is a peer recognition program, which makes qualification as a finalist more valuable than public or customer recognition programs.

“SIIA’s 2015 Education CODiE Award winners are some of the most innovative, high-impact education products out there,” said SIIA Karen Billings, Vice President and Managing Director of the ETIN-SIIA. “We congratulate all of this year’s CODiE Award winners, and thank them for the contributions they have made to the education industry.”

We invite you to consider joining Edvance360. We offer:

  • Badges & Certificates– Edvance360 now offers a new and excited way to reward learners: badges.  Badges, in addition to certificates, can build motivation and team morale as learners collect and display the badges they’ve earned in their learning path.
  •  Unparalleled Personal Support – Edvance360 is a demonstrated leader in its commitment to personalized support for its clients and we commit to a 95% or higher faculty usage rate at all of our client institutions.
  • Affordable Pricing– Edvance360’s pricing is significantly lower than any of the other commercial vendors. Pricing is regularly 30%-50% below competitor prices.
  • Forward-Thinking Commitment – Edvance360 was the first LMS to combine social networking and other Web 2.0 tools (Wikis, Blogs, RSS feeds, etc.) with the features of a Course Management System.

About Edvance360

Edvance360 is an Internet-based Learning Management System (LMS) and secure social network that enables institutions to implement a successful online learning program.  Edvance360 equips schools, corporations, and organizations to host online courses, implement modular courses, and revitalize residential courses.  Edvance360 was designed by educators for educators, with insight provided by many of the leading educational design experts.

Our clients enjoy a high return on their investment, personalized support, and customizable solutions.  We do not believe a one-size-fits-all approach is beneficial to our clients, so we are committed to adapting Edvance360 to fit the needs of the rapidly changing world of education.

Edvance360 is headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with operations in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. For more information, please visit http://www.Edvance360.com or call 866-458-0360.

Edvance360 and the Edvance360 logo are trademarks of Edvance360 Corporation. All other company and product names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Press Contact:
Cathy Garland, VP of Marketing & Sales
Edvance360
866-458-0360

2015 CODiE Award Winners

May 6, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Posted in E360 News & Events | Leave a comment
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Best Postsecondary Learning Management SolutionCongratulations to all of the 2015 CODiE award winners.  Edvance360 LMS-SN won the award for Best Postsecondary Learning Management Solution.  Thank you to all of our employees and users!

 

Edvance360 Tips & Tricks: Alerts & Announcements

April 21, 2015 at 10:00 am | Posted in Weekly Tips | Leave a comment
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Communicating with users on your Edvance360 site can be as simple and effective as using ALERTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS. 

For a global announcement the Admin may select the ALERTS tool in the Admin panel, create an announcement and save it be launched immediately or at a specific date. This alert/announcement will show up “front and center” of each users’ Home Dashboard right above the Personal Alerts. 

For a course or community announcement, the instructors/facilitators of the particular course or community may select the Announcement tool on the left-hand panel, create an announcement and save it to be launched immediately or at a specific date. This alert/announcement will show up “front and center” of the particular course or community. 

Note: When users remove the alert/announcement from either the Home Dashboard or the Home page of their course or community, it is not deleted forever. Each one is preserved and viewable at any time by the user through their “ALERTS HISTORY” tool on the left-hand panel of their Home Dashboard.

Create a Global Alert explaining how the new users may navigate Edvance360 efficiently. You may chose to link a customized video to the announcement for the new users reviewing their tools

Edvance360 Tips & Tricks: Communities 

April 16, 2015 at 10:00 am | Posted in Weekly Tips | Leave a comment
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Communities in Edvance360 are designed for groups of people collaborating on various projects and topics. Some may want to change the word “Communities” to “Groups” by using your Custom Language Pack Editor in your Admin Panel. If you do not have the Custom Language Pack Editor turned on for your site, please submit an Edvance360 Help Ticket to get it active.) 

Our clients utilize communities in unique ways to keep their users connected: 

  • Some use it for their employees to have access to company resources, or create Dropboxes for them to submit quarterly outcomes or reviews. 
  • The discussion tool is a great tool to have open discussions about projects, team scenarios, how to upgrade work areas, improve student results, etc. 
  • Create surveys to gain feedback. 
  • Use wikis to work on a project together like a handbook or other shared document. 
  • Post links to other software or website inside the Settings link.

Have you ever considered having communities designed for students: Student Government, Financial Aid, Foreign Language Groups, Work Spaces, etc. Or, have you considered communities designed for staff: Strategic Planning, Training, Brainstorming, Human Resources, etc.

Keeping users connected and collaborating is vital within online learning. We encourage you to actively use Communities on your site!

Edvance360 Tips & Tricks: Blogging

April 14, 2015 at 10:00 am | Posted in Weekly Tips | Leave a comment
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Each user on Edvance360 has a Blog, unless the school/business has turned this feature off. Blog stands for web-log. It is the client’s personal journal or where they may share opportunities or thoughts, articles they are writing, get immediate feedback from peers or students, and more. Blogs may be accessed by clicking “Blog” at the top of the page. 

How to Create a New Post 

 From the Blog page, users may start a new post. To create a new post, click on the New Post link at the top of the page. Users may enter in a title, enter information, pictures, hyperlinks, etc. into the body, and add tags or keywords for their blog. When the user is finished, they may click “Submit.”

Immediately beneath their post (the start of the conversation or blog), users may see the most recent posts or comments. On the right-hand side of the page, the user may access a list of most recent posts on that blog. 

 Accessing the Blog Directory 

The user may also access the Blog Directory from the left-hand navigation panel. The Blog Directory has two sides to it. On the right side there is a list of all the Bloggers in the user’s network. Users may choose from a list of bloggers, by clicking on their hyperlink. By clicking on the blogger you will be taken to their profile page. Each user’s Home page displays their name, picture, biography, and a link to their personal blog. The left side of the Blog Directory consists of all of the Latest Blog Posts. The user may choose to select from the list of Latest Blog Posts by clicking on the blog post. 

 The Blog Directory may also be accessed from the main Contacts tab, on the left-hand navigation panel. Users may choose from a list of bloggers in their network by clicking on the hyperlinks. The user may also choose to select from a list of Latest Blog Posts to access specific posts from each blogger.

Using Edvance360 to Facilitate Brainstorming

April 13, 2015 at 11:20 am | Posted in Weekly Tips | Leave a comment
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Looking to use collaborative tools and leverage technology in a way that boosts team performance? Consider using Edvance360’s tools to make team-brainstorming sessions more creative and therefore more effective.

 

Live, in-meeting brainstorming is widely used in organizations, despite the lack of evidence that it works and in the face of pretty compelling evident that it actually leads to a productivity loss.  However, using technology to make brainstorming more effective by replacing physical and oral sessions with virtual ones (sometimes called “brainwriting,” “braindrawing” or electronic brainstorming) can make it more effective…by as much as 50-70%, according to the meta-analyses.

 

According to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, in “Why Brainstorming Works Better Online”, the advantages to virtual brainstorming are three-fold.

 

First, it tamps down on the dominant personalities, eliminating what Chamorro-Premuzic calls “production blocking”:

…the process where dominant participants talk too much, taking over the session and eclipsing their colleagues. This leads to cognitive overload and hinders creative idea generation in more introverted participants. In virtual brainstorming there is a clear positive relationship between group size and performance, whereas in traditional, in-person brainstorming sessions, things tend to get messy with more than six participants. Online, there are no real limits to group size: the cost of having 5 or 50 participants is nearly the same, and you actually save costs by allowing to people to work remotely and in dispersed locations.”


So, virtual brainstorming lets everyone have equal opportunity to be creative and to express their creativity, it’s scalable, the more you have, the more creative you can get, and it saves costs. With E360 Live!™, Edvance360 users can host large virtual meetings, share a whiteboard, poll attendees, and generate discussion that won’t end with the live meeting but rather continues into actionable items via Edvance360’s Wiki tool. Additionally, debate can continue via Edvance360’s Discussions and Group tools. Even Edvance360’s Agents can play a role of notifying group members when items have been completed.


Second, he says:

virtual brainstorming enables feelings of anonymity since ideas cannot be attributed to a specific person. This reduces evaluation apprehension, particularly in less confident individuals who would underperform in traditional brainstorming sessions. Anonymity also means that ideas are judged more objectively. In traditional sessions, the process is as biased and political as in any other physical group interaction – the powerful people take over, and though democratic in theory, in fact decisions are driven by one or two powerful individuals. Conversely, when team members rate ideas anonymously and without knowledge of the author, politics are out of the way.”


He uses a fun, quicky example:

An example of this is textsfromlastnight, a site that allows users to anonymously submit quirky text messages, which are then rated – good or bad – by other anonymous users. Organizations would do well to copy this process: have a live, real-time, virtual depository of ideas for new products, services, or processes, which can then be rated or evaluated by other employees, and perhaps even clients.


So, have a live, real-time, virtual depository of ideas for new products, services, or processes, which can then be rated or evaluated by other employees, and perhaps even clients. Sounds like Edvance360 tools would come in handy here:

• Secure social network to keep all these creative members active
• Community for all these creative members to belong
• Discussion forum (which is live, real-time, and virtual) as a depository of ideas

As ideas gain traction through votes/replies, the idea becomes the apparent leader of the pack. Additionally, concerns and challenges could be addressed in real-time rather than once the creative idea has been implemented.


Third, he says that if virtual sessions are designed intelligently, they can increase the diversity of ideas:

In traditional brainstorming, being exposed to others’ ideas causes uniformity and regression to the mean: the most creative people will descend to the level of the group average. But by preventing participants from being exposed to each other’s ideas during the idea-generation phase, virtual brainstorming encourages participants to offer a wider variety of ideas. In line with this, studies have shown that individual brainstorming, where people write down a number of ideas on a piece of paper, often produces more and better ideas than group brainstorming. Virtual brainstorming preserves this mechanism while providing a searchable archive of ideas for the team to weigh in on later.


So, virtual brainstorming comes after the idea-generation phase (or before, if you are going to lay out the challenge via a brainstorming session), which can then be used to “hash out” issues and challenges but only after a searchable archive of ideas are gathered, a clear leading idea is apparent, and many challenges/issues are already addressed. This leads to creative people becoming more creative, producing more and better ideas.


Finally, in summary, he says:

Thus virtual brainstorming retains the original postulate of traditional brainstorming – that teams can crowdsource creativity by curating the ideas they collectively produce in an informal, free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness, session – but overcoming the main, originally unforeseen, barriers.

Edvance360 Counts Down to CODiE Awards Announcement

April 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Posted in E360 News & Events | Leave a comment
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CODiE2015Edvance360 LMS-SN™ eagerly awaits the announcement of CODiE Awards to all the finalists, including those in the categories of Best Corporate Learning/Workforce Development Solution and Best Postsecondary Learning Management Solution, the latter of which Edvance360 has been finalists for seven years running (and took the award in 2011). Live interview included in press release, click here to view the full story.

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Social Learning & Collaborative Tools Still Push the Learning Envelope

April 8, 2015 at 9:58 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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In an interview with Harvard Business Review (see article here). Peter Hirst, director of the executive education program at the MIT Sloan School of Management, highlighted the importance of face-to-face and collaborative interaction even in online learning. His role is to help lead MIT into a new era of online learning.

 

Basically, old is new again. Only different.

 

When asked if the goal of virtual collaboration is to mimic real-life interaction, or if they are fundamentally different, his answer was perfect:

I think they clearly are different. What we’ve been doing is two-fold. On the one hand, we’ve been trying to say, ‘Are there ways we can use technology that don’t cause us to have to completely re-think and re-write how learning happens, how our faculty teach, how program participants interact collaboratively?’ So in that sense it is trying to mimic the in-person experience.

And then there’s the very different approach. There’s a lot of activity around this now, through things like edX, which MIT is one of the founding partners of. [This approach] is really not trying to mimic what we would do in the physical world, but starting from an entirely digital form, and really being very thoughtful about what the learning outcomes are that we’re trying to achieve, and how can the technology enable us to achieve those outcomes. There are many things that are very different about how you would design learning and work, if you really are doing it from a digital-first standpoint.

So, it’s different and the same.

He also said:

We very much have the MIT philosophy of ‘mind and hand.’ The actual application of the knowledge and frameworks [we teach],is vital. And I think we’re all getting better at getting people engaged, creating compelling video content and graphics and animations, which are necessary to bring alive the content in digital programs. But really, we have to match that up with effective activities — whether those are digital or real-world activities that people do [when] they walk away from their computer screen – to actually apply the learning and the ideas.

Did you catch that? Adding a compelling video to a course or animation to a PowerPoint isn’t going to cut it. The learning activities need to be effective. They need to be able to apply the idea by doing the action required. So a paper isn’t going to cut it either.

If you look at a lot of the MOOC-style programs that proliferated in the last couple of years, I think their starting point was to try to capture a professor teaching a class that they’re already teaching. Just put that out in a very long-form video for people to watch.And that’s evolved into trying to break those up into something more like a collection of TED talks. [But even that is] still linear — you progress through the class through a sort of a syllabus.

What we’re seeing most recently, and what I’m very excited about, is going from that linear model to a much more non-linear idea. The digital learning experience is becoming really a collection of inter-related learning nuggets, that you might take very different paths through, depending who you are and what your needs are, and how you learn most effectively. So that’s where I’m seeing some interesting changes happening.

Adaptive learning is a paradigm shift. And not one that is just asynchronous vs. synchronous.It’s also webinars, video conferencing, 3D virtual worlds, social networking, collaborative communities, wikis, etc.

It’s nice to know that networked learning environments like Edvance360 – complete with synchronous tools, video conferencing, and social learning tools are still pushing the proverbial envelope.

 

 

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