NEO by CYPHER LEARNING Review

CYPHER LEARNING
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
NEO
CYPHER LEARNING
2009
San Francisco, CA
Ownership:
Customers:
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Private
20,000+
Cloud
Yes
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NEO At A Glance

Good: Many features available in Free plan, ease of accessibility from all devices, easy implementation process.
Bad: Not intended for businesses.
Bottom Line: Cloud-based platform for schools with many features designed to help teachers and students maximize learning.

Product Overview

CYPHER LEARNING offers two LMS products: NEO for schools and universities, MATRIX for businesses and INDIE for entreprenuers. This review focuses on NEO; users interested in learning more about MATRIX can check out our review here.

NEO is a learning management system (LMS) that’s targeted to the education sector, both K-12 and higher education. It’s a cloud-based platform that’s accessible on all devices including PCs, tablets, and iOS, Android and Windows smartphones. NEO is even available as a mobile app with full functionality.

NEO includes an intuitive design via a dedicated portal that administrators and teachers can customize with school colors, logos, pictures, fonts and other items. Teachers can create a curriculum, courses, learning paths and materials without having to worry about spending too much time on building content.

The platform includes content authoring tools that allow teachers to create content and upload any type of file, such as video, images, documents and audio. The content can even be reused in future classes.

There are other benefits of NEO as well.

First, it encourages collaboration and networking among students and teachers. Much like with social networking tools, students can connect with other students as friends. They can also collaborate via groups, team, chats or forums. In addition, there’s a timeline where students can see updates on class assignments and discuss topics.

Second, NEO offers automation, adaptive learning, and personalized competency-based learning.

Thirdly, NEO offers fun learning features by way of gamification. Students can earn badges or points for completing games that include elements of class, learning paths and site-wide tasks. Teachers can also reward performance with certificates they can personalize with the school logo and create team games in which students can compete as a team.

Finally, NEO provides a variety of ways for teachers to evaluate students’ performance. Teachers can choose from 12 types of assignments, such as quizzes, surveys, debates and essays. There’s also an electronic gradebook for recording student grades. And there’s a rubrics feature that lets teachers assign ratings and criteria for specific assignments and tests.

The NEO platform integrates with Microsoft Office365, G Suite, WebEx, GoToMeeting, PayPal, Panopto, Turnitin, Clever, Kimono and over 1,000 apps via Zapier.

NEO is available in four pricing plans: Free, Individual, Small School and Enterprise. We discuss each of them in our Features section below.

Features

Free plan: The Free plan is a free trial that doesn’t expire. It offers many of NEO’s basic features and is intended for schools with up to 400 students. Here are some of the the features available in the Free plan:

  • Dashboard for students, teachers and administrators
  • Custom logo
  • Activity feed
  • Templates for class content and materials
  • Content authoring tools
  • Supports instructor-led, self-led and blended courses
  • Six assignment types (quizzes, freeform, offline, Dropbox, surveys and attendance)
  • Ability to grade assignments
  • Integration with Google Apps, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive
  • Parent-oriented accounts
  • Unlimited storage
  • Badges to reward student performance
  • Collaboration and social networking tools
  • Ability to import and export accounts in bulk

Individual plan: The Individual plan is for individual teachers with up to 200 students. It’s priced at 5 cents per student per month (if paid on a yearly basis). This plan includes all features in the Free plan, plus:

  • Three additional assignment types (debates, discussion and team assignments)
  • Analytics functionality
  • Certificates
  • Customized color scheme for portal
  • Assignments personalized to specific students
  • Ability for teachers to create a curriculum
  • Ability to define class prerequisites
  • Printable attendance forms and export of attendance data
  • Monitoring online communication of students
  • Master grid of student grades
  • More grading options
  • “Trash can” feature for restoring deleted content and material

Small School plan: The Small School plan is intended for schools with up to 400 students. Its price is 50 cents per student per month (if paid annually). This plan includes all features of both the Free and Individual plans as well as:

  • Tech support
  • Additional analytics features
  • Customizable school terminology
  • Reporting templates
  • Printable certificates in PDF format
  • Customized account fields
  • Accounts for teaching assistants and monitors
  • Ability to import enrollment, teachers and class data in bulk
  • Automatically deactivates a student from a class after a set date

Enterprise plan: The Enterprise plan is intended for schools with at least 500 students. The Enterprise plan has a custom quote for schools. It includes all the features of the three other plans, plus:

  • Customizable portal with school branded URL
  • SCORM compliance
  • Learning path
  • Video recording and transcoding
  • Full gamification functionality
  • Ability to connect all schools/campuses in same district
  • LDAP authentication
  • Integration with web conferencing applications, such as GoToMeeting
  • E-commerce functionality
  • Automation
  • Gamification
  • Adaptive learning
  • Micro learning
  • Teams
  • Single-sign-on via Office365 account
  • Integration with school information system (SIS)
  • Integration with Turnitin for checking against student plagiarism
  • Branded mobile app with custom logo (costs $1,000 per app in first year and $500 per app in following years)

Target Market

NEO is targeted to the education market worldwide, both K-12 and universities.

We’ve listed 10 schools below that use NEO:

  • Adler College
  • ARNOS Online Education
  • STI College
  • Northwest University
  • De La Salle University Dasmariñas
  • Grace Christian School
  • The Hochschule Furtwangen University
  • Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • The Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program (IHECP)
  • The REALM - South Burlington School District

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Implementation/Integration

Most new customers are able to configure their portal within just a few hours. Here are the typical implementation steps:

  • Signing up for an account on the site
  • Customizing the site with school’s logo and other branded materials
  • Creating accounts for administrators and instructors
  • Configuring the class catalog
  • Configuring e-commerce catalog and single-sign-on (both are optional)
  • Creating an outline and curriculum for each class
  • Creating materials and assignments for each class
  • Creating an optional learning path
  • Testing the platform
  • Adding student accounts

NEO offers four teaching style options with the platform: self-paced, instructor-led classes, blended learning and micro learning.

Customer Service & Support

NEO offers customer support during U.S. business hours through its support forum, where users can communicate with NEO’s support staff about questions or issues, and the answers are shared with other users. Staff tends to respond to queries within 15 to 30 minutes.

There’s a built-in Help Center where users can access guides and videos on NEO, as well as product news and a roadmap. They can also offer suggestions on product improvements.

NEO provides consulting services in areas such as account setup and customization, application program interface (API) integration, content creation, and migration and site auditing.

Pricing

If paid annually, the Individual plan costs 5 cents per student per month (for individual teachers with up to 200 students). The Small School plan is priced at 50 cents per student per month. The Enterprise plan has a custom quote per student per month and covers schools with at least 500 students. Each plan is billed and paid for monthly or annually.

More information on what features are covered under each plan is in our Features section above.

Shortcomings

NEO is targeted at schools only. Corporations and nonprofits looking to train their employees can check out MATRIX or any of our other LMS reviews.

Screenshots

CYPHER LEARNING Screenshot 1
CYPHER LEARNING Screenshot 2
CYPHER LEARNING Screenshot 3

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About

CYPHER LEARNING was founded in 2009 by Graham Glass, an entrepreneur with a background in teaching computer science. The company debuted with its flagship LMS platform NEO (then known as EDU 2.0 for School) that’s targeted to the education sector. MATRIX, its LMS intended for small businesses, was released in 2010. In 2018, it debuted INDIE, an LMS that’s targeted to entrepreneurs.

CYPHER has received numerous accolades for both NEO and MATRIX, including #1 LMS for Higher Ed by the Craig Weiss Group, The 2018 Tech Edvocate Award for Best Learning Management System, GESS Education Awards Finalist 2019 (for NEO) Talented Learning’s Best Learning System Finalist 2019 and SoftwareSuggest Great User Experience Award 2018 (for MATRIX).

CYPHER’s platforms are used by over 20,000 organizations and over 1 million users. The platforms support at least 40 languages.

In addition to its San Francisco headquarters, CYPHER has offices in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Romania, South Africa, India, and The Philippines.

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