Open education platform

Open edX: What Is It And Why 19 Million People Use It?

Blended learning, corporate training, customer onboarding, MOOCs create significant demand in learning management systems or LMS. Nowadays, there are many options among LMSs: proprietary and open-source, on-premises, and SaaS LMS. When it comes to open-source LMS, Open edX is one of the most incredible options in the market. So, what makes Open edX the top choice by world-leading educational institutions and corporations along with governmental organizations and eLearning startups? In this article, we will outline the answers to this question.

Open edX: What Is It And Why 19 Million People Use It?

There is no one-size-fits-all product in the world except (maybe) water, and Open edX is no exception. So, before dive in, we suggest you use this quiz to help you understand whether open-source LMS like Open Edx is a good choice for you:

Open edX: What Is It And Why 19 Million People Use It?

Open edX is an open-source learning platform created by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) for the most prominent online learning portal in the world –

It was created to fulfill the instructional design needs of various organizations to create engaging experiences that cover different topics, pursue other goals and use different learning scenarios. That’s why Open edX became so flexible and diverse.

Open Edx helps teach learners physics, maths, and even acoustics using engaging and interactive LMS features that are available straight out of the box. It also offers the ability to integrate multiple third-party systems like SCORM, LTI, iFrame. But before we dive into the features of Open edX, we’ll briefly describe its history and how it compares with other learning management systems.

Brief Open edX History
EdX was founded in May 2012 by scientists from Harvard and MIT. 155,000 students from 162 countries enrolled in the first edX course, and in 2013 the number of students reached 1 million students. It was the start of a successful open-source release and the creation of Open edX.

Open edX VS Other Popular Platforms
It’s essential to understand how Open edX stands between other LMS, so you might want to know which LMS suits your needs best by comparing LMSs.

Who Currently Uses Open edX?
As we said, Open edX is adopted by a wide range of organizations:

Large Organizations

The world’s most prominent organizations, including Google, Microsoft LaaS, McKinsey, Johnson & Johnson, use Open edX for employees education, customer onboarding, etc.

Educational organizations

Harvard, MIT, Arizona State University, and others use Open edX to engage many students and provide them with interactive content, the ability to track educational progress, etc.

Small Organizations

Open edX gives the ability to small organizations to create high-quality and customized content that increases organizations’ profit and learner engagement.

Why is Open edX used by 19 million people today?
As has been mentioned, demand for LMS is colossal today, and it keeps gaining momentum.

So how does Open edX stand out in comparison to other LMSs? The logic is simple: it provides better readiness for the online learning future, thus explaining its increase in popularity.

We’ll uncover the list of features here based on the current global online learning challenges and needs.

Challenges With Online Teaching Tools
According to Brandon Hall Group, there are a lot of organizations that are looking to replace LMS. The main reason is that current systems do not help resolve all the challenges they face.

We bet that Open edX is one of the systems that these organizations are switching to.

Let’s take a look at these challenges:

Advanced features such as content creation, course organization, and administration

Practical web and mobile learner interface

Variety of eLearning content types and delivery features

Integration with internal systems and corporate databases

Reporting and analytics features

Modern learner engagement features such as gamification, adaptive learning, etc.

Customization and alignment with a brand

Easy to use user interface design is an essential part of the learning experience. It can influence a user’s perception of the entire learning process.

Having diverse purposes and community influence, Open edX has a clear and simple yet effective interface with everything that learners need, leaving out all the bells and whistles that distract users from the learning process.

Course Navigation
A structured course navigation panel helps to switch between modules and lessons quickly. Navigation between tasks during the learning process is intuitive, and the learner can always see where they are and how many lessons are left for the current module/subsection. And, it is easy to understand whether there are any assessments to complete.

Progress Dashboard
Progress monitoring is an integral part of the educational process for both teachers and students. Open edX enables learners to monitor their progress with the progress dashboard in different ways. The dashboard is clear and informative: it understands the current course success, and important information about assessment results in a structured report format.

Open edX Features: Types of Content
When it comes to content for an online course, variety matters. Out of the box, Open edX provides the ability to craft online learning material using an extensive range of content types:

Text, images


Interactive videos and images

SCORM, LTI, iFrame

20+ types of assessments

The list can be extended and customized to the needs of a particular project (simulation, virtual lab, etc.)

Open edX Features: Instructor Interface Overview

Instructors or course owners have a wide range of tools to create, organize and run online courses in Open edX:

Build the course structure (3-levels)

Manage enrollment rules (access settings, prerequisites, enrollment options, course dates)

Set the grading policies (course completion conditions, types of assessments, and their influence on the final course grade etc.)

Enroll and unenroll learners

Group learners and manage content routing

Add, organize learning content inside the course

Manage the visual features of the course

Manage and issue certificates

Manage monetization

Track learning metrics, build reports

The range of the tools is not complete, and basic Open edX functionalities can cover even particular cases. To know more, you can simply book a demo with us.

Open edX Features: Social Abilities

Social learning in eLearning is one of the booming trends, making social features essential for all learning platforms. The Open EdX platform delivers a variety of channels to enable socialization during the learning process. The social features allow students to collaborate on assignments and projects, discuss all learning issues/ideas/feedback with other learners, and participate in polls and surveys separately or within groups.

Polls and Surveys
It’s crucial to figure out what your learners want. A good survey tool can help instructors to get answers to essential questions.

Online Discussions
Course creators can create Discussions within a course and ensure collaboration between learners.

Group Tasks
Using this feature, an instructor can create groups focused on specific learning topics, business needs, or work-related interests. Groups may be used for assignment submissions and content organization.

Open edX Features: Reporting and Analytics

Using Open Edx Analytics, instructors monitor enrollments and unenrollments within chosen periods.

Different types of Analytic reports help to detect which assessments caused problems for students, cluster course students by their learning progress in real-time, see where course content might need improvements, etc.

An internal Raccoon Gang project RG Analytics aimed to create easy-to-use, actionable insights for Open edX course instructors.

Open edX Features: Customization
Open edX custom feature development is applied and enables the specific functionalities required by course authors.

Game-based learning and gamification
Game-based learning is often considered an essential component of modern eLearning systems. Gamification increases engagement and course completion rate significantly. Both can be easily implemented into Open edX courses.

Adaptive Learning
This technology is used for educational process improvement and modifies teaching methods based on that data. The adaptive learning architecture of the Open edX platform enables users to interact with learners in real-time, automatically providing individualized support.

Competency-based learning
Competency-based education allows students to advance their skills or competencies at their own pace regardless of their environment. Open edX includes the ability to implement modern learning concepts based on a competency-based learning approach: scenario-based learning, self-directed knowledge assessment, skill-based branching scenario.

Comprehensive theming
By leveraging the comprehensive theming Open edX enables course creators to customize their platform completely. The software provides a powerful and flexible way of tailoring user interface to business needs.

Mobile App
Open edX mobile app is a great feature that allows users to learn on the go. It helps provide a simple and convenient environment for students who access online courses on mobile devices.

Final Words
If an open-source platform fits your needs, you should choose a preferred Open edX provider. To know more about custom Open Edx solutions, you can Book a call with the Raccoon Gang team.