THE Journal Insider

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Former Teacher Todd Ryckman on Why the CBE Model Works and How It Could Revolutionize K–12 Schools – and Student Outcomes


Cypher Learning, the company behind the NEO K–20 learning management system, was founded on the idea that the modern instructional model of public education is not, in fact, modern at all.

Former classroom teacher Todd Ryckman, now global director of customer success at Cypher Learning, felt the same way when he was in a traditional classroom; he eventually attended an education conference that sparked a new vision of what education could be, and he helped start a competency-based education academy in his district. How, he's a full-fledged proponent of the CBE model of instruction and helps schools all over the world revolutionize learning in ways large and small using Cypher Learning's platforms.

“The concept behind competency-based education is simple: learning is best measured by students demonstrating mastery of learning, rather than the number of hours spent in a classroom,” summarizes the Aurora Institute, a leading educator-led reform advocacy nonprofit and CBE proponent. “By redesigning the education system around actual student learning, we will prepare each student more effectively for a future in an increasingly global and competitive economy.”

In this episode of THE Journal Insider podcast, Ryckman joins editor Kristal Kuykendall for a discussion about the CBE movement, what it looks like in school districts that have been implementing CBE over the past five years, and how Cypher Learning’s NEO LMS empowers educators and students, regardless of whether their school uses the traditional or “modern” instructional model or more of a CBE approach.

THE Journal Insider podcast explores current ed tech trends and issues impacting K–12 educators, IT professionals, instructional technologists, education leaders, and ed tech providers. Listen in as Editor Kristal Kuykendall chats with ed tech experts, educators, and industry leaders about how they are 'meeting the moment' in the U.S. public education system. Find all podcast episodes as well as K–12 ed tech news updated daily at

Resource links:

Cypher Learning

Aurora Institute

Kettle Moraine School District

Kettle Moraine’s Personalized Learning Guide

Digital Promise: An Analysis of Kettle Moraine’s CBE experiment


Music by LemonMusicStudio from Pixabay

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].