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CYPHER Learning named a G2 Best Software Awards winner 2024
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Go beyond grades

Shift the focus from passing courses to developing skills with CYPHER

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Cut the cram. Embrace competencies.

There’s always at least one student who stays up until 2 a.m. the night before a test, cramming information they failed to learn in prior weeks. Without regular performance tracking and evaluation, it’s easy for students to put off learning, but cramming is not the same thing as mastering applicable skills.

Are you struggling to…

Quickly measure and track your students’ educational progress, strengths, and weaknesses using more than just grades

Personalize course material to individual students’ strengths, weaknesses, and goals

Decrease cramming and get students to demonstrate skill mastery with competency-based learning

Continually create and adapt courses so they remain relevant without draining your time and resources

Seamlessly integrate courses from development to delivery

What is competency-based learning?

Competency-based learning emphasizes the demonstration and mastery of concrete and measurable skills. By using competencies, teachers can track how well students are learning each skill. The main principle is that students progress through competencies as they learn and cannot advance from one module to another without having mastered them first, thereby establishing a strong foundation to build upon as they progress.

What makes competency-based learning so great?

Top reasons why competency-based learning, also known as mastery learning, is important:

Personalized pace of learning

It allows students to progress at their own pace. This is especially beneficial for learners who may need more time to grasp certain concepts, as well as for those who can move faster through material they already understand.

Focus on mastery

Competency-based learning ensures that students achieve a high level of understanding or skill in a subject before moving on. This leads to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the material.

Flexible learning paths

It allows for more personalized education paths. Students can focus on their strengths and interests, which can lead to greater engagement and motivation.

Real-world skills

This approach often emphasizes practical and applicable skills that are relevant in the real world, making students more prepared for the workforce or higher education.

Improved assessment

Traditional grading systems often focus on memorization rather than understanding. Competency-based assessments ensure that students truly understand the material, rather than just memorizing facts for a test.

Equity in education

It can help bridge gaps in education by ensuring that all students reach a certain level of competency, regardless of their starting point. This approach can be particularly effective in diverse classrooms where students have varying backgrounds and levels of preparedness.

Enhanced student accountability

Students in a competency-based system take more responsibility for their learning, as they understand that they must demonstrate mastery to progress.

Continuous improvement

Since learning is more individualized, teachers can provide targeted support where needed, and education programs can be continually adjusted to meet the needs of students.

Better preparedness for lifelong learning

Competency-based education fosters a growth mindset and prepares students for lifelong learning, which is crucial in a rapidly changing world.

40% of business leaders believe recent graduates are unprepared for the workforce, and 94% admit they avoid hiring recent graduates at times. When graduates move from needing to pass tests and courses to carrying out projects, interacting with clients, meeting deadlines and exercising soft skills, studies show they fall short. While tests are valuable in assessing knowledge, they don’t cover all of the bases.

Susan Patrick, the Aurora Institute’s president and CEO, said competency-based learning allows for more personalization, flexible time, equitable instruction, and group work skills.

“It really is equity-driven,” she said. “If you are ensuring that every student gets to mastery, you’re addressing these gaps that are taking place and the holes in learning that are deeply impacting students, especially our most underserved and our most vulnerable students.”

Prioritizing competency-based learning and skills development can foster greater comprehension and drive long-term information retention. It also enables teachers to identify areas where certain students struggle and provide greater individualized support in those areas. Because testing culture treats each student equally, some people can get lost in the group and fall behind. Competency-based learning helps lift those children up, fostering resilience and confidence, and better prepares students to excel in their academic, personal, and professional lives.

Award-winning platform for education

In the past year, we’ve received over two dozen awards for our innovative learning technology, including Forbes Advisor’s “Best Overall Employee Training Software” and “Best LMS.” We’ve also received recognition for our work in academia, earning the title of “Best K-12 Remote Learning Partner” in the SIIA CODiE Awards and numerous other awards.

Supercharged competency-based learning. In minutes.

AI 360 with Copilot on the CYPHER platform can supercharge the development of competency-based curriculums and content – empowering you to deliver robust new courses fast and ensure that course material engages and inspires your students. Imagine building competency-based, gamified, and personalized courses in minutes!


This lets you:

  • Create competency-based learning courses tailored to districts, schools, classes and individuals – using your own uploaded content – and launch it just in time!
  • Control your content’s quality, accuracy, and credibility
  • Create courses in 50+ languages
  • Ensure subject-matter proficiency for every student, at scale
Are you ready to see CYPHER Learning in action?