bsoco: Could you please briefly introduce your company?
Graham Glass: CYPHER LEARNING is an e-learning company based in San Francisco that specializes in providing e-learning platforms to organizations around the world. The company was founded in 2007 and currently has offices in San Francisco, South Africa, Romania, Mexico, and the Philippines.
CYPHER LEARNING products are used by over 20,000 organizations, support 40+ languages, have millions of users, and have won several awards.
bsoco: You are an experienced specialist in the field of e-learning, what kind of solutions do you offer to your customers?
Graham Glass: CYPHER LEARNING currently offers two products: NEO (an LMS for schools and universities) and MATRIX (an LMS for businesses). Soon we will launch a third product, an LMS for small entrepreneurs called INDIE.
All CYPHER LEARNING products are known for their intuitive user interfaces, comprehensive set of innovative features, and pricing that provides great value for money.
bsoco: How do you see the future of the e-learning market ?
Graham Glass: E-learning is becoming increasingly popular as more students worldwide have access to the Internet and teachers discover the full power of a modern LMS. We think that schools and businesses will expect their LMS to support personalized, goal-oriented learning, and we are investing heavily into our products to support this kind of functionality.
bsoco: What makes your products different from the ones of competitors?
Graham Glass: At first glance, our most obvious differentiator is our user interface, which is more visual and intuitive than those of our competitors. But when you scratch below the surface, our other differentiators include important technologies such as our rules engine and our goals engine. For example, our rules engine allows teachers to easily define actions that should take place under certain conditions, such as “Award the student a badge when they complete this lesson”, and “Add the student into a group when they complete the class”. This allows the teacher to “script” their class so that it’s more fun and engaging for their students. Similarly, our goals engine allows students to be enrolled into learning paths such as “Complete class A, B, and then C”. Each learning path includes a news feed and collaboration area so that all the students on the same learning path can form a learning community around their common goals.
bsoco: What development methodologies do you use and what is the next step?
Graham Glass: We maintain a quarterly roadmap which we share publicly with our customers. The roadmap includes features requested by our customers and features that we think are strategically important even if none of our customers has mentioned them. Once the roadmap for the current quarter is finalized, we divide it into tasks and assign those tasks to our team members. Each task can take between 1 day and 3 months to complete. The deliverables for each task are reviewed, then tested on our staging servers, then uploaded into the cloud. We use a rolling-deployment system that allows us to make daily updates to our site with no downtime. We use NewRelic for 24/7 monitoring of our Amazon cloud-based system, and JIRA for our project management and bug tracking. Our next step is to release a European-hosted version of our products and also our new upcoming product INDIE LMS.
bsoco: Thank you for the answers.