McKinsey Academy graphic (User holding an iPad running the McKinsey Academy web site)About two years ago, McKinsey Academy and edX began working closely together to launch a new professional development experience for McKinsey’s clients built on the Open edX platform. Recently, using the XBlock framework, the McKinsey Academy team — in partnership with OpenCraft — worked to build new polling and survey components that were needed for their Women & Leadership course offering. Since these components have broader applicability, we are excited that McKinsey Academy has contributed them back to the Open edX codebase. Today we’re pleased to be able to share the Poll XBlock and the Survey XBlock with the wider community.


The new Polling and Survey XBlocks enable course teams to create simple polls or complex surveys to engage their learners. Polls are a great way to gauge learners’ opinions about the course throughout a course experience. They can also foster greater engagement and connectivity among members of the cohort through shared display of results.


In the Women & Leadership course, which launched in May 2015, polls are inserted at key points throughout the course as a way to prompt users to think about their own perceptions of the topic. The course aims to empower organizations to increase representation of women by addressing how to lead effectively , the challenges that women disproportionately face, and how to effect change individually and as an organization on this important topic. In this course, McKinsey Academy uses the polling functionality to gather input from participants on questions — both in support of, and without disruption to, the flow of the curriculum.


Your learners can benefit from these XBlocks as well. Incorporating polling and surveys directly into the Open edX platform empowers learners to give feedback in small chunks, while thoughts are fresh in their minds. This in turn enables course instructors to be able to pivot their instructional style mid-course to respond to learner need.


OpenCraft worked with the edX team over the past month to make sure that all aspects of these XBlocks conform to WCAG 2.0 Accessibility compliance standards. This ensures that polls and surveys are accessible to all learners, including those using screen readers and other assistive technology to learn on edX.


As an evolving platform, we continue our work with McKinsey Academy and the entire Open edX community to add in new features and contributions. We hope that the Open edX community finds these XBlocks to be valuable additions to their toolkit. For more about these XBlocks, including how to install it and how to use it in an Open edX course, please visit our documentation for the Polling XBlock, and our documentation for the Survey XBlock. Source code for both XBlocks is available on Github.


These XBlocks are now available for all courses running on, and they are incorporated into the Open edX codebase. They will be installed by default in the Open edX Cypress release.


Jennifer Gormley is the Director of Product Design at McKinsey Academy.

Vishal Gandhi is the Head of Product Engineering at McKinsey Academy.


OpenCraft provides development services and consulting for public institutions and companies using the Open edX platform.