Training Course in Mobile Data Collection Using ODK

Training Date: November 6, 2023 - November 10, 2023

Training Venue: Nairobi

Course Details

ODK or Open Data Kit is a set of free and open-source tools that are used for field data collection using Android mobile phones and tablets and allows data submission to a local self-hosted server or an online cloud-based server.

The ODK – Open Data Kit ecosystem comprises the following components:

  1. ODK Collect – An open-source Android app that is used to collect data on android mobile phones and tablets.
  2. ODK Build – A form designer with a drag-and-drop user interface.
  3. XLSForm – A standard for building forms in Excel.
  4. ODK Aggregate – An open-source application that stores, analyzes, and presents survey data collected using ODK Collect.
  5. ODK CentralThis is the ODK server.
  6. ODK Cloud – A fully-managed and fully-supported cloud infrastructure for hosting the ODK Central server.
  7. Enketo Forms – Enables preview and submission of forms directly from a web browser.

Other tools in the ODK ecosystem include ODK Briefcase, ODK Aggregate VM, ODK XLSForm Converter, ODK Validate, GEOODK, ODK Scanner, ODK Printers, and the ODK Sensor Framework.

There are other tools that were inspired by the ODK ecosystem including but not limited to KoBoToolbox which is also free and open-source.

Others include, Hoji, and Survey CTO. These have a free trial period as well as a premium version with added functionalities and unlimited survey data storage capacity.

Other commonly used mobile data collection tools include CSPro for android (CS Entry), Magpi (Regular data collection and also supports SMS data Collection), fulcrum, mobenzi, visitbasis, dimagi, zapier amongst many others.

This training course will focus mainly on how to set up, manage and administer a mobile data collection platform using ODK.

If you have always wanted to learn how to collect, manage, visualize and analyze project field data using mobile phones, this course is for you.


Mobile Data collection has always been an integral part of development work. In the past, this task was performed with paper and pen which made it prone to error, difficult to conduct on a large scale, and high in transaction costs.

Advances in information technology have opened exciting new avenues for how research is conducted and mobile data collection is done.

Instead of collecting data on paper using a pen, which is then manually entered into a database for analysis, data is entered directly into a mobile device that is connected to a server and capable of uploading directly into a centralized database for data processing and analysis.

Open data kit commonly referred to as ODK is a set of popular free and open-source tools that allow us to collect data anywhere using mobile phones and tablets.

If you have always wanted to learn how to collect, manage and analyze data using mobile phones or tablets, this training course is for you.

Who Should Attend

This training course is suitable for individuals and organizations who are interested in learning how to set up, manage and administer a mobile data collection platform using ODK.


This course is designed for participants who are reasonably proficient in English. No prior knowledge of ODK is required.


5 Days

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, participants will be able to design, setup and administer a mobile data collection platform using ODK.

Tools To Be Covered

  1. ODK Collect
  2. XLSForms
  3. ODK Central
  4. ODK Cloud
  5. Enketo Forms
  6. ODK Build
  7. ODK aggregate
  8. ODK Validate
  9. ODK Briefcase

What You Will Learn

By the end of the training the participants will be able to:

  1. Create survey forms using ODK Build and XLSForms.
  2. Install ODK Collect and configure mobile phones for data collection.
  3. Collect data in the field using mobile phones and upload the data to an online server.
  4. Collect data on a web browser
  5. Setup and install ODK Central on Digital Ocean
  6. Use ODK Cloud to host ODK Central
  7. Visualize and analyze data online
  8. Use ODK’s OData feed to build live-updating dashboards in Power BI and Excel
  9. Download submission using R and Python
  10. Apply best practices in mobile data collection

Course Contents

Module I

  • ICT Refresher
  • Introduction to Mobile Data Collection (MDC)
  • Benefits of Mobile Data Collection (MDC)
  • Challenges facing Mobile Data Collection and their workaround
  • Introduction to the ODK ecosystem
  • Introduction to basic ODK XLSForm syntax for survey authoring

Module II

Getting started – Survey authoring using ODK XLSForm

  • Types of questions
  • Data types for each question
  • Types of questionnaires and Form logic
  • Extended data types geoid, image, and multimedia

Form Validation in ODK

  • Troubleshooting common XLSForms syntax errors

Mobile phones and tablets configuration

  • Introduction to ODK Collect
  • ODK Collect installation and configuration

Hosting survey data – ODK Central

  • Introduction to ODK Cloud
  • Introduction to Digital Ocean Cloud
  • Introduction to ODK Central
  • ODK Central – Download and setup on Digital Ocean
  • ODK Central on ODK Cloud
  • ODK Central administration
  • Data analysis in ODK Central
  • Downloading survey data from a web interface

Module III

Intermediate Survey Authoring for ODK

  • New data types
  • Notes and dates
  • Multiple-choice Questions
  • Multiple Language Support
  • Hints, metadata, and more
  • Conditional Survey Branching
  • Required questions
  • Constraining responses
  • Skip: Asking Relevant questions
  • The specify (other)
  • Grouping questions.
  • Skipping many questions at once (Skipping a section)

Module IV

Advanced Survey Authoring for ODK

  • Repeating a set of questions
  • Special formatting
  • Making dynamic calculations
  • Survey Styling and formatting – Working with the appearance column
  • Working with media files
  • Cascading select
  • External selects
  • Conducting Longitudinal surveys

Hands-on Exercises

Module V

Form Design using web platforms

  • ODK Build

Accessing Survey Data Submissions

  • Use ODK OData feed to build live-updating dashboards in Power BI and Excel
  • Download submission using R and Python

Course project presentation by participants

Action plan



This instructor-led training is delivered using a blended learning approach and comprises presentations, guided sessions of practical exercise, web-based tutorials, and group work.

Our facilitators are seasoned industry experts with years of experience, working as professionals and trainers in the field of ICT.

All facilitation and course materials will be offered in English. Participants should be reasonably proficient in English.


Upon successful completion of this training, participants will be issued a certificate of participation.

Training Venue

Training is residential and will be held at T4D Training Centers.

The course fees cover the course tuition, training materials, two break refreshments, lunch, and study visits.

All participants will cater for their travel expenses, visa application, insurance, and other personal expenses.


This course can also be tailor-made for you. This way, you will benefit by:

  • Using own tools and datasets during training
  • Being able to choose areas of interest you wish the trainer to put more emphasis on
  • Taking the course in-house or at a venue of choice
  • Cutting on the cost of transport and accommodation

For inquiries, please contact us through the details below:


Mobile: +254706909947


Accommodation is arranged upon request. For reservations contact the Training Officer:


Mobile Number: +254706909947

Training Fee

The course fee is KES 75,000.00 or USD 1,100.00 exclusive of VAT. The course fees covers the course tuition, training materials, two (2) break refreshments, lunch, and study visits. Participants will cater for their travel and accommodation costs.


Payment should be transferred to Tech For Development – T4D account through the bank on or before the course starting date.

Cancellation Policy

Payment for all courses includes a registration fee, which is non-refundable and equals 15% of the total sum of the course fee.

Please Note: The program content shown here is for guidance purposes only. Our continuous course improvement may lead to changes in topics and course structure


Bookings no longer allowed on this date.

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