Open edX

Description Updated
Mar 17, 2023

OpenEdX is an open-source learning management system (LMS). The platform allows administrators to create digital courses for online and remote learning.


    Program Implementation Guide

    What need does it fill

    OpenEdX is a useful tool for remote learning and workshops. Particularly when it is not possible to conduct an in-person training, OpenEdX provides a good alternative. As opposed to a one-time workshop, OpenEdX allows for an administrator to create a number of different online courses over time, allowing participants to take them at their convenience, and for new users just joining to catch up on the previous content. It also allows for customizations and features like issuing certificates for completing certain courses.

    Why is Open edX a good solution

    OpenEdX is an open-source product that provides a cheap and easy way to perform online trainings. In-person trainings can be expensive, difficult to coordinate, and sometimes not possible due to various circumstantial factors. When in-person trainings are not the best option, OpenEdX provides a cheaper, easier way to transmit important information to partners, in a way that allows for greater reach, and to continue conducting trainings over a longer period of time.

    Budget considerations

    Because the application is an online learning platform and quite substantial, the hosting for the site can cost $150-$300 a month (for smaller use cases, it may be possible to use a slightly cheaper hosting configuration). NDI hosts an instance of Open edX for internal use and for use in programs. New "microsites" can be configured on the platform with no recurring long-term costs.

    Technical capacity required

    There are several ways to get OpenEdX. Certain organizations offer full hosting of the application for a subscription fee. Appsembler’s Tahoe, for example, is a simplified version of OpenEdX that they host. The OpenEdX platform is open-source, and so it can also be hosted by anyone with the proper technical skills. Given the complexities of the application itself however, even for those with technical backgrounds NDI still recommends looking into contracting a vendor to help provide support for the application. A list of OpenEdX vendors with various skillsets can be found here. NDI can provide advice to internal teams on selecting a vendor or providing support. NDI also has an internally hosted instance of OpenEdX, and in certain cases can provide internal teams with a copy of the application to use.

    Level of effort to implement

    Implementing the platform will require a staff member to spend time learning and gaining expertise in using the platform, particularly in course creation. Teams should plan to dedicate a fair amount of time to this.

    Contextual Considerations:


    OpenEdX is fairly secure and is suitable for environments with higher than normal cybersecurity requirements, but it is not specifically designed as a privacy tool. Considerations can be made to protect users, such as disabling the need for them to create accounts on the site to take courses.


    OpenEdX is at least partially translated into dozens of languages, including close to full translation into Arabic, French, and Spanish. The full list of languages and the percentage of the tool that has been translated can be found here.

    Availability of Support/Sustainability, communities supporting the tool, public documentation, etc

    A large amount of documentation is available here.

    Additional information/materials

    • A non-NDI affiliated demo site is available here
    • A course for learning more about OpenEdX can be found here
    • Technical documentation can be found here

    Contact us for additional information about OpenEdX. Also check out Appsembler Tahoe, a service designed for newcomers to OpenEdX that provides a scaled down version of the platform with full hosting, onboarding, and professional support (pricing starts at $500 per month)

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