How do you bring teachers and students together in one digital environment?

Acco knew perfectly well what it wanted. Or rather: what teachers and students wanted. First, an online learning platform focused on interaction and knowledge sharing. Second, a solution to link that learning platform to the learning environments of higher-educational institutions. Third, the help of iO to help create all this.
meeting at work




Improve the interaction and knowledge sharing between teachers and students


A digital learning platform and an LTI for higher-educational institutions

About Acco

Acco is one of the biggest developers and distributors of teaching materials, professional literature and scientific publications in Belgium and the Netherlands. The organisation also often organises study days and symposia for students and professionals to deepen their knowledge and upskill themselves.

Call for better knowledge sharing and interaction

Every year, Acco conducts a teacher and student survey to find out what both groups think and expect of its services.

The survey showed that the majority of students had difficulties studying online due to the multitude of platforms they have to use. On top of that, students also wanted more interaction with each other and their teachers.

On the other hand, teachers also indicated that they struggled with the multitude of platforms. They particularly had difficulties with sharing and updating study materials across all platforms. One central environment or solution and a seamless link between Acco and the higher-educational institutions would be welcomed with open arms.

Acco mockup

Learning platform & link for learning environments

iO and Acco joined forces to develop such an environment and link. The result? The digital learning platform Sofia and a custom LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability).

One digital environment for teachers and students

Thanks to Sofia, teachers can easily create and share interactive study materials with their students. The platform thus steps away from the classic one-way communication and teaching model where teachers stand in front of the auditorium and interaction opportunities are limited.

Students can use Sofia to discover the study materials of their teachers and learn at their own pace. Teachers can individually support students and monitor their progress via an extensive analytics module. Using this module, teachers can analyse automatically generated reports on student engagement and scores.

User-friendliness as a key factor
Sofia’s interface is flexible and intuitive, making it less intimidating for users. It is structured to always put the focus on the available learning content, which is divided into logical, bite-sized blocks within each lesson section.

From a technical point of view, Sofia is a single-page app that combines multiple back-end technologies with a front-end based on JavaScript. The most important technologies used for Sofia are Symfony, Vue.js and Node.js

Seamless integration between Sofia and other learning environments

Using an LTI, we help Acco support higher-educational institutions that want to integrate Acco publications into their own learning environments.

Thanks to the LTI, Sofia can be fully and seamlessly integrated with the LMS systems (Learning Management Systems) of the institutions.

When teachers create new content in Sofia, they can choose which parts of the content become available in the learning environment of their institution. When teachers modify their content in Sofia, it will be automatically updated in the learning environment as well.

Students can keep using the learning environment of their institution the same way they always have. The content from Sofia automatically adopts the look and feel of the learning environment and other study materials. This way, students never have to switch platforms and always get the idea that they’re working in a single environment.



active users


organisations using Sofia




completed exercises

Happy target groups & new projects

Acco’s new learning platform and LTI are praised by both teachers and students. Both target groups now have one central environment to share and access course materials, respectively. Furthermore, online teacher-student and student-student interaction is better than ever before. At the time of writing, Sofia is linked to the learning environments of over 30 educational institutions and partners.

Also, the success of Sofia and the LTI has led to a renewed partnership and more projects with Acco, including:

  • A new website and webshop that Acco can use to set up ‘mini-shops’ for the institutions they work with.

  • A course booking tool that teachers can use to digitally reserve their study materials (books, courses, etc. ) each semester.

  • A Select & Learn tool that teachers can use to easily combine other study and course materials with their own.

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