Blog post:

What to Make of the Rise of Open edX

Hands up, who had processes in place to deal with the effects of a global pandemic? Did your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) include a section on what to do in the case of a lockdown, social distancing, and severe restrictions on travel? Most of us weren’t ready for COVID-19, which made the repercussions more severe. 

But now that we’ve all been through a global pandemic, we need to reflect on what we’ve learned so we’re ready should something similar happen again. Many businesses were resistant to remote working before the pandemic, but have now realized that they can still maintain (and even increase) productivity and collaboration when their employees have a work-from-home (WFH) option. If WFH works, why wouldn’t you offer it as an option on an ongoing basis –– why would you return to pre-pandemic working styles, and bloated real estate and carbon footprints?

The same goes for training. The pandemic forced many companies to explore different training models, revisit existing customer training platforms, and embrace self-paced learning through platforms, such as Open edX

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This blog post will explore the reasons why Open edX has become so popular and look at why self-paced training should become a permanent fixture in software companies’ training offerings — even after the pandemic is behind us.

What Is Open edX and How Does it Make Delivering Training Easier? 

Open edX is a free, open-source, online learning solution that powers edX.org courses, MOOCs, and corporate training worldwide. Organizations of all sizes use Open edX to create online learning, whether it’s to develop engaging content, offer self-paced employee training, onboard new clients, or educate customers and technical audiences (such as software developers) on their products and services. 

Open edX is made up of two components:

  • LMS: the user-facing side of Open edX where learners can access and complete courses. Open edX admins can access reports and view learner progress.
  • Studio: the admin side of the platform where you can create, design, and manage courses.

The future for Open edX is bright. Education technology company 2U is acquiring online course provider edX, which is built on Open edX and is the organization that provides free online courses to individuals, businesses, and educators. The acquisition provides the financial resources for Open edX to continue innovating its learning management system, as well as ensuring the platform remains open source. This means that the Open edX community can continue to constantly iterate and improve the platform.

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Open edX also supports self-paced learning so learners can pause and rewind their training at any time. When you provide self-paced training on Open edX, all the content is available to the users at any time and they can work through it at their own pace, rather than having to follow the set schedule of an instructor-led course.

How does Self-Paced Training and Open edX Help Ensure Business Continuity? 

Only offering instructor-led, classroom-based training could be an issue when you face unexpected circumstances but you want to maintain business continuity. When COVID-19 hit, it was impossible to deliver in-person training. Training teams who already had processes and online training platforms in place to deliver training remotely had an advantage over their competitors. 

Besides pandemics, there are several other scenarios where remote working and training will be the default option or when we won’t be able to travel to attend or deliver training. This includes adverse weather conditions, regional catastrophes, the cost of travel, and personal circumstances. If you only rely on instructor-led training, then it will be much harder –– if not impossible ––  to deliver the necessary training.

If you provide self-paced training, then users can start the course, take time off, and return to the course to continue it, no matter the circumstances. Even if something extraordinary happens, you can ensure users will have access to training whenever it suits them and their learning won’t be affected. 

You also need a scalable platform to deliver this self-paced training. That’s where Open edX comes in. Unlike other LMS, Open edX was built with the online learner and self-paced training in mind — and it’s designed to scale effortlessly.

This scalability doesn’t come at the cost of customizability. Open edX also allows you to deliver training that is personalized to learners’ roles, desired learning paths, and career goals. And if your learners’ interests and priorities change, you can easily create another learning track that aligns with your learners’ new preferences.

Self-Paced Training is Here to Stay

While there will be some situations where you’ll want to revert to instructor-led training, such as if you handle sensitive data or you want to take more of a consultative approach,  now that we’re coming out of the pandemic, you should consider offering self-paced training in conjunction with instructor-led training. This will help you be prepared for all eventualities and, with a platform like Open edX, you’ll have the necessary technology stack to support your training. 
If you’re unsure how to deliver self-paced training using Open edX then we can help. With Appsembler Tahoe, you can launch your own branded Open edX site within minutes even if you don’t have any coding experience. This means that you can use the platform to deliver self-paced training that is customized to your brand and style and ensure business continuity but without having to deploy, host, manage, upgrade, and maintain an Open edX instance.

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