Confessions about web development courses
What makes it different from Codecademy, Treehouse, Udemy, etc?
I think those are fantastic resources, and yet the more I listened to people, the more I began to hear interesting things...
I began to hear confessions like these (paraphrased):
"I did Codecademy for a bit, but then I stopped. Now I can't remember what I learned."
"I did Treehouse, and it was great, but then when I tried to apply it on my own, I felt lost."
I began to hear the same themes over and over:
- Not remembering what they learned
- Not finishing the courses
- Not being able to apply their knowledge in real life
These seem like some pretty important issues.
So I asked myself why this was happening. Here's what I came up with:
Videos are too passive. You spend more time watching and waiting than practicing. There's also too much rewinding, pausing, fast-forwarding, etc.
Courses with a built-in code editor are a bit better because they focus on practice, but they don't match real-life conditions, so people find themselves unable to apply what they've learned.
- All practice must match real-life conditions, so you can apply the stuff after you've learned it.
- Quick wins are important. Show real progress quickly in order to maintain motivation.
- Introduce the most common useful things first so that practice happens naturally throughout the whole course. (Too many courses wait forever to get to the practical bits.)
- Make the course long enough to cover the important things but short and focused enough that you'll actually complete it.
- Sections need to be short and digestible so they're easier to remember and they'll fit into your schedule.
Here are some things people have said about the course:
“I am really happy with the course. I couldn’t do much in the past because although I knew the syntax I found it hard to ‘think’ the JS way. But now that you have made functions crystal clear (as well as objects and methods) I can do lots of things. My understanding has increased exponentially, and I’m enjoying all the exercises.”
– Lucia P.
– Robin R.
“First of all, I want to say it’s a great course. The repetition and little projects all throughout made it easy to commit a lot of this stuff to memory better than I had memorized this stuff in the past and your projects at the end are good ideas which I’m going to get started on ASAP.”
– Nate S.
- Dominic H.