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NEO At A Glance

Good: Many features available in free plan, 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 three LMS products: NEO for schools and universities, MATRIX for businesses and INDIE for entreprenuers. This review focuses on NEO.

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, Google Workspace, Zoom, GoToMeeting, PayPal, Panopto, Turnitin, Clever, Kimono and over 1,500 apps via Zapier.

NEO is available in two pricing plans: Free and Premium.


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 Workspace, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon Alexa
  • Parent-oriented accounts
  • Unlimited storage
  • Badges to reward student performance
  • Collaboration and social networking tools
  • Ability to import and export accounts in bulk

Premium plan: The Premium plan includes the features of the Free plan, plus:

  • Customizable portal / URL
  • Ad-hoc reporting
  • Adaptive learning
  • Learning paths
  • SIS integration
  • SCORM, LTI, and Turnitin
  • Advanced content authoring features
  • Web conferencing integration

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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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.

We also want to note that there’s a Pilot Premium program for schools that want to get started quickly. It offers unlimited use of NEO for up to six months, plus support and training from EdTech specialists (e.g., 24/5 tech support, student help desk, custom training) and access to all of the Premium plan features.

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.


The Premium plan requires a minimum purchase of 500 accounts. NEO doesn’t publicly display pricing information, so please contact the vendor directly for a quote.


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




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 its solutions, including the 2021 Learning Excellence Awards Finalist for NEO in the Digital Learning category, CorporateVision’s 2020 Education and Training Awards for NEO as Most Engaging Student Learning Platform, and the 2020 EdTech Digest Awards for NEO as a Cool Tool Finalist.

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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