Codecademy Looks Like The Future Of Learning To Me

So CrunchFund invested in Codecademy, along with Union Square Ventures and a whole pack of others.

Codecademy teaches people how to code. Starting with the assumption that you know absolutely nothing at all about coding. It eases you in by asking you to type in your name.

And, suddenly, you’re coding.

It gets a lot harder from there. But it walks you through it. Short description of what you want to do, why, and how. Then you do it. Then the next step. There are hints, but sometimes it’s not enough and you have to go back and re-take a previous lesson. The best part are the achievement badges that you get every few steps. Seriously, before you know if you’ve spent two hours on the site and know a smidgen of javascript. And, it was fun.

I also like that Codecademy is asking users to create new lessons. They have a tool for creating it and released it to 50 people. Ten high quality lessons came out of it and Codecademy will be releasing them soon.

There’s a great reason for investing. The service came out of nowhere in the summer Y Combinator class and launched in August.

That’s two months since launch. 750,000 people have used it. It’s growing like crazy every day.

There are hugely obvious business models down the road. Particularly talent spotting and steering those people into the right jobs.

Codecademy says that their goal is to become the way that anyone can learn complex coding concepts, even people who’ve never coded before.

Future of Learning?

What really excites me about Codecademy is that you can learn almost anything this way. The service comes from CEO Zach Sims wanting to learn how to code. Cofounder Ryan Bubinski had been teaching people to code for years as a side job in college, and he found that this approach – short explanation, then go do it, then talk again, with everything in small constantly reinforced increments, really worked.

All I can think of is how if this was around when I was in college I may have actually learned calculus this way. I got a B in that class but I can clearly remember at the time being completely lost, and anything I did learn is now permanently wiped from my brain.

I’d still have gone to college because college was four years of concentrated fun. But who learns anything in college? Not me. I needed something like Codecademy.

I’m very excited to see how this turns out. Meanwhile, I’ve earned two badges on Codecademy – “first lesson” and “ten exercises completed.” I’ve never been so proud of a virtual badge on my screen.

41 thoughts on “Codecademy Looks Like The Future Of Learning To Me

  1. Ashley says:

    Sweet. As an English major eventually conned into an MBA I have been looking for something like this to learn some actual skills without going back for more expensive school.

    • ruslansays says:

      Unfortunately English majored MBA can’t possibly learn “actual skills” due to the lack of logical thinking.

  2. eli says:

    My friend Tiffany asks for advice on learning programming a few days ago:

    Nerdlings: I’m thinking that since I write about computing for a living, I should probably learn how to code a bit. I know basic HTML. The End. Any suggestions about where to start?

    My answer (because it most closely resembles classroom learning imho):

    i would suggest taking a look at this series on youtube. the kid has a pretty decent intro to programming using the Python language, very popular these days http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mf0h3HphEA&feature=BFa&list=SPEA1FEF17E1E5C0DA&lf=list_related

    • eli says:

      Youtube will be the biggest challenger, but ya smart idea and considered suggesting it to my friend. Hope they add videos ASAP

      • Mike says:

        Um, I really don’t want to sit through a video to try and learn something like coding. The drawbacks being that it takes a lot longer to sit through a video and you have to go at their pace.

  3. link to codecademy.com isn’t right.

  4. Caleb White says:

    Awesome concept! I have seen a few others that does this. I really wish I would have had a tool like this while learning how to program! The future of the web looks bright with applications like this.

  5. Peter says:

    Codecademy is super cool. When I tested it they only supported JavaScript. I hope PHP and RoR is coming soon.

  6. whoops.. faulty link for the codeacademy. it has two http://

    Also, its buggy! Super buggy! I am just into lesson 4 and each lesson has atleast one bugs! Need far more rigorous QA cycle?!

  7. I was on code Academy and it was really the best thing I’ve come across in learning how to code so far. It was so simple, fun and encouraging with those badges.

    Now I can set my kid sister to learn some JS! :)

  8. Hogarismo says:

    i am taking this course, no doubt about it. I really need it and was looking for something like this

  9. Johny Miric says:

    Really cool, 10 years ago, with this tool, I would probably be programmer on my own. Now I have to hire them while I’m sitting on the beach drinking cocktail and reading Steve Jobs bio.

    Small joke :-) I think thats really cool investment, Mike.

  10. Crashed my chrome tab with an infinite while loop :P

  11. spot on mike. i think doug rushkoff’s program or be programmed is a great read on this topic

    it’s great to be investing together. i hope we do more of it.

  12. Pretty much the whole of my college education is completely wiped from my brain. The things I’ve managed to remember, I’ve learned through my own adventures (and mis-adventures).

    And I remember still fewer things taught to me by a rare breed of teachers – who were able to effectively illustrate and visualize what they taught, often accompanied by practical exercises.

  13. Yoav Ezer says:

    Michael,

    You might be interested in reading ‘The future of learning – The Michel Tomas method’. It’s basically a ‘reverse engineered’ model of the Michel Tomas teaching method where ‘incremental learning’ is just the beginning.

    I used to teach a lot and I found this book to be a real eye opener.

    Yoav

  14. Win says:

    Certain to be a success.

  15. They need more than one language! I love the website but please get them to make lessons faster.

  16. Jmartens says:

    Absolutely love this concept. It is the future of learning…..

  17. Interesting concept. I have implemented a similar concept but mine teaches AS3 and has a GUI and graphics. Play it here: http://www.societygames.com/codealong. I guess there really are no new ideas.

    I also wrote an article on Gamasutra about teaching real programming languages through interactive tutorials. It’s here: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/AlexanderJhin/20110902/8357/A_Better_Way_to_Learn_How_to_Program.php.

  18. Lamar Wilson says:

    Codecademy is a great site. My kids who are 12,9 and 6 really love learning to code on it. They battle each other in points. And BTW My name is Lamar Wilson, and I am a black tech entrepreneur, http://pheeva.com. Nice to meet you. I’ll be in San Fran next week for NewGameConf maybe we can meet.

  19. Karl says:

    Not only do they need more languages, they need more lessons within the languages they DO have.

  20. James says:

    I think that these kind of sites are good for teaching elementary concepts and some really simple concepts, but those are the aspects of coding that are easy to pick up anyway. The more abstract concepts are going to be a lot more difficult to teach through this kind of tool and it is those less black and white aspects that make you able to write good code.

    For me, it’s a gimmick.

  21. Jon Birdsong says:

    The best place to learn on the internet is unquestionably OpenStudy. We make education accessible by expanding the domain of teachers to a global set of peers as well as make it more fun, and engaging – by making it social and game-like.

  22. “Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world,” Gates said at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA. “It will be better than any single university,” he continued.

  23. fatkunj says:

    This and other similar projects prove that incentives aren’t the only way to get things done.

  24. _MDHayes says:

    In Scotland the Government and teaching bodies seem to think Glow built by RM is the best thing since sliced bread. >£60 million of public money and it doesn’t work and no teachers or pupils actually use it.

    Startups like this are what we need to improve education.

  25. Robert Showerman says:

    Attentions Webmaster:

    Hi,

    We are a leading VoIP phone service provider in the US and Canada. We want to get our site listed on your website. Can you please tell me what is the criteria for doing this? I also want to mention that you can earn handsome commission through our affiliate program or by posting our Ad banner. Please let me know if you are interested in working with us.

    Thanks & Regards

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    Marketing Manager
    Robert.showerman@gmail.com

  26. I’ve used Codecademy for a little over a month or so it seems. Similar to how Khan Academy, by Salman Khan, provides lectors on physics & math in an easy and fun manner. Codecademy pulls it off in the Hansel and Gretel style of little bits to ease you along except there’s no threat of Ann Coulter.

  27. Stu says:

    Great idea, and I enjoyed doing the lessons on JavaScript, however it looks like a blatant copy of http://www.tryfsharp.org/Tutorials.aspx.

  28. They definitely need more lessons, and more courses :\

    +1 for PHP

  29. I am extremely inspired with your writing talents and also with the format in your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a great weblog like this one these days..

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