The Challenge Institute

The Challenge Institute (CI) was created to extend the foundational work of Apple on Challenge Based Learning (CBL). The CBL framework is used around the world and has been effectively modified to improve work in fields as diverse as software development and counseling. The mission of the CI is to support this expansion and provide support for communities around the world to adopt and customize the framework to develop a reliable framework for developing sustainable solutions to contextual challenges.

Working together we seek to share the power of the Challenge framework and develop a world where everyone can identify challenges and build sustainable solutions. With so many significant challenges on the horizon, we need to continue to build our capacity to develop sustainable solutions.

Mark Nichols, Founder and Executive Director

Mark has 40 years in education including positions as a public and private school teacher, coach, outdoor educator, wilderness guide/instructor, district technology and curriculum director, professional development provider, multimedia/web/graphic designer, consultant, faculty/program director at the university level, and entrepreneur. 

Intertwined with his experience in public and private education are decades working with and for Apple in a variety of roles including Apple Distinguished Educator, contractor, Development Executive, and Manager of Online Content. Mark was an integral part of the original ACOT2 team that developed the concept of Challenge Based Learning (CBL), co-authored the CBL white paper, and managed the pilot and implementation projects for Apple. He is co-author of the CBL Guide used around the world. Mark has degrees in political science and economics, theology, education, and public policy. He is also a proud owner of a lifelong ABD/PhD in Education and almost completed degree in Graphic Information Technology.

Mark continues his work with Challenge Based Learning as CEO of the Challenge Institute and School House Media. He is currently the lead pedagogical consultant for the Apple Developer Academies in Brazil, Italy, Indonesia, Korea, and Saudi Arabia.

Contact Mark

Christine Yarzabek, Assistant Director

Christine’s career includes building learning communities using Challenge Based Learning. Over the past 15 years, she has built a global network of educators who are redesigning how teachers teach and students learn. She brings deep experience in the following areas:

  • Instructional Designer
  • Curriculum Design and Development
  • Technology Integration
  • Professional Learning Facilitator
  • K-20 Education
  • Challenge Based Learning
  • Reading Specialist