The extent of my herding dog training is summarized in this short clip. (we won a free herding lesson at an agility trial, imagine the instructor's surprise when I showed up with a Lab). I was equipped with a plastic rake to keep her from over running the sheep - it was tons of fun (for me and the dog, sheep not so much):
Never went back for more lessons, but this dog's grand daughter did seem to have some natural sheep herding ability as I had a small herd for a while that were hard to keep fenced in. She would round them up and bring them in to me. Or maybe it was that anytime she tried to chase them, they ran to me for safety (either way it worked and was helpful).
Back on topic: the herding friends I know are anti-ecollar (and anti pinch collar/choke collar/etc). But their dogs pretty much melt if they so much as raise their voice...
The very first dog I trained, of any kind for any reason, was a Border Collie. I was 16 and my Dad had bought a pup from very strong lines to work our small herd of 20 or so sheep. As with most things, my Dad didn't follow through on this "hobby" and the pup wasn't getting trained. It was the beginning of summer break so armed with the knowledge from reading 2 or 3 books my Dad had bought on the subject, I set out to train our pup on the sheep.
Meg was her name and to this day she was the smartest, easiest to train dog I've ever been around. Her natural instincts for herding were so incredible that all she needed was some direction and control from me. It rarely took more than one time of showing her what I wanted for her to "get it", whether it was hand/voice commands for going left or right, the down command, here or anything else. It was all taught with a rope and attrition. It never took more than a stern "No!" to get her to stop whatever she was doing wrong and she rarely repeated mistakes. A year after starting her training I went to work on a ranch though my High Schools ROP program that had 300 head of sheep and 1200 of cattle. The guy from the ranch I was working for/with was amazed by her and often left his dog in the kennel and let Meg do the work except when we were working very large herds in very large fields.
Maybe she was an exception but with her combination of intelligence, natural instinct and desire to please I can't imagine she would have been any better, or the training any easier, with an e-collar.