Carnegie Mellon University

OpenSimon: Learning Engineering for Everyone

Improve learning outcomes for individual learners while collectively advancing our larger understanding of human learning.

The vision behind OpenSimon is a more integrated and easier-to-use toolkit, used and expanded by a larger community of educators to drive deliberate, iterative improvements in education. This approach supports educators as citizen scientists, and helps people who support them — at universities and companies that make educational products — provide help that is grounded in the science of learning.

Elements of the toolkit provide support across all phases of the Learning Engineering Lifecycle: Design, Develop, Deliver, and Discover.

OpenSimon Webinar Series

OpenSimon Toolkit Revisited: Community discussion to frame next year of events

Please complete the feedback survey and submit ideas for webinar topics, then join the webinar to engage with OpenSimon staff to find out the results of the survey, help determine the next year of events, and share your ideas about how the OpenSimon project can help you.

LIVE Wednesday, December 11, 2019
3:00-4:00 pm EDT

Sign up for the Webinar

Visit the OpenSimon Webinar Series page for past webinar recordings!

Join the Community

Interested in receiving updates and learning more about the toolkit as it develops? Or would you like to explore ways to collaborate with the Simon Initiative? Please complete our contact form; we’ll keep you up-to-date on new developments and can contact you to talk about opportunities to work together.

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Direct contact: OpenSimon Community Manager, Erin Czerwinski

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CTAT icon

The Cognitive Tutor Authoring Tools (CTAT), is a tool suite that enables you to add learning by doing (i.e., active learning) to online courses. CTAT supports the creation of flexible tutors for both simple and complex problem solving, capable of supporting multiple strategies that students may draw on when solving tutor problems. CTAT tutors track students as they work through problems and provide context-sensitive, just-in-time help.

Get GitHub codebase 
Code release in progress.


The DANCE discussion forum XBlock represents a first step towards improving scripted support for collaboration in MOOCs. The XBlock provides all basic features expected of a forum while augmenting the experience with social recommendation (that as an example recommendation application matches help seekers with help givers). It provides light social awareness and semi-synchronous interaction through a Personal Messaging capability. It also provides the forum data in a source agnostic data infrastructure model using DiscourseDB (see below) that will allow the contextualization and comparison of discourse data from across platforms.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!

mathtutor logo

The Mathtutor project provides cognitive tutors and associated tools to support students and teachers in learning middle school mathematics and fractions.  The tool supports learners by providing intelligent software tutors that provide step-by-step help and feedback as needed.  The project also supports teachers by providing differentiated instruction, automatic record-keeping and standards alignment (NCTM Curriculum Focal Points, PA Assessment Anchors and Common Core).   

Code release in progress.



DiscourseDB is an NSF funded data infrastructure project designed to bridge data sources from multiple platforms for hosting those learning experiences. Our vision is to provide a common data model designed to accommodate data from diverse sources including but not limited to Chat, Threaded Discussions, Blogs, Twitter, Wikis, and Text messaging.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!


Bazaar is a publicly available architecture for orchestrating conversational agent based support for group learning. It is a powerful tool for facilitating research in collaborative learning. It hosts a library of reusable behavioral components that each trigger a simple form of support. More complex supportive interventions are constructed by orchestrating multiple simple behaviors. Its flexibility and simplicity mean it can be used to very rapidly develop platforms for investigating a wide range of important questions within the design space of dynamic support for collaborative learning.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!


The open-source LightSide platform, including the machine-learning and feature-extraction core as well as the researcher's workbench UI, has been and continues to be funded in part through Carnegie Mellon University, in particular by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!


Massive Open Online Courses have experienced a recent boom in interest. Problems students struggle with in the discussion forums, such as difficulty in finding interesting discussion opportunities or attracting helpers to address posted problems, provide new opportunities for recommender systems.

We developed a social recommendation technology to support help seekers in MOOC discussion forums implemented using a context-aware Matrix Factorization model to predict students' preferences for answering a given question. This recommendation framework allows for this two-way recommendation.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!


DataShop provides two main services to the learning science community: a central repository to secure and store research data; and a set of analysis and reporting tools. Researchers can rapidly access standard reports such as learning curves, as well as browse data using the interactive web application. To support other analyses, DataShop can export data to a tab-delimited format compatible with statistical software and other analysis packages.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!

Source Code available as part of the LearnSphere repo and data Repositories are also available now for use with your research projects!


The ChemCollective is a collection of virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, tutorials, and concept tests. Teachers can use our content for pre-labs, for alternatives to textbook homework, and for in-class activities for individuals or teams. Students can review and learn chemistry concepts using our virtual labs, simulations, and tutorials. The ChemCollective is organized by a group of faculty and staff at Carnegie Mellon who are interested in using, assessing, and creating engaging online activities for chemistry education.

Available now for download and embedding into your own learning resource!

Echo icon

Author your own materials with Echo, customize existing OER materials, and evaluate those materials from a data-science perspective.

Register for an account to get started!

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!

Learnsphere icon

LearnSphere integrates existing and new educational data and analysis repositories to offer the world's largest learning analytics infrastructure with methods, linked data, and portal access to relevant resources. Tigris, one component of LearnSphere, is a workflow authoring tool that facilitates the creation and sharing of custom analyses, as well as interactions with external repositories, such as DataShop, MOOCdb, DiscourseDB and DataStage.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!

OLI icon

The Open Learning Initiative is a flagship project of The Simon Initiative, offering textbook-replacement course content built upon principles gleaned from decades of research in three CMU’s strengths: cognitive science, computer engineering, and human-computer interaction. OLI provides a harmonious platform for delivering high-quality materials with the ability to facilitate groundbreaking research — in technology enhanced learning (TEL); data science; learning behavior; and more.

OLI course content is available now by request - a separate repository soon! Code is currently being audited in preperation for a full open release.


Project LISTEN (Literacy Innovation that Speech Technology ENables) is an interdisciplinary research project at Carnegie Mellon University to develop a novel tool to improve literacy – an automated Reading Tutor that displays stories on a computer screen, and listens to children read aloud.

Components of project LISTEN are available now as part of Robotutor!


RoboTutor is an Android tablet app that enables children ages 7-10 with little or no access to schools to learn basic reading, writing, and arithmetic without adult assistance. It combines decades of research on the science of learning with advanced language technologies and innovative machine learning tools for data-driven iterative design of educational software to increase learning gains. RoboTutor is one of five $1M Finalists in the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE.

Github repository will be available May 2019!

Tetrad icon

Tetrad is suite of tools to graphically support causal modeling, search and exploration. It creates, simulates data from, estimates, tests, predicts with, and searches for causal and statistical models. The aim of the program is to provide sophisticated methods in a friendly interface requiring very little statistical sophistication of the user and no programming knowledge. It is not intended to replace flexible statistical programming systems such as Matlab, Splus or R. Tetrad is freeware that performs many of the functions in commercial programs such as Netica, Hugin, LISREL, EQS and other programs, and many discovery functions these commercial programs do not perform.

Get GitHub codebase 
Available now!

The Simon Initiative has an extensive collection of tools and repositories for various uses in education.

Get GitHub codebase