Codecademy Review , 2016

Codeacademy is an interactive way to learn to code. While it might be right for some students, as of 2016, it still does not provide a smooth way to learn hand coding.
, I have put a lot of time into researching why sites like codeacademy are wanting.
Before we go any further in addressing bad quality , we should clarify what the goal of codeacademy is. What standard are we judging it against? On its "about" page, codeacademy states that it's "committed to building the best learning experience inside and out." Now, that is a lofty goal indeed ! And , to their credit , they have gotten huge numbers of people to type code and to think about leaning programming.
We also can't judge codeacademy without addressing their target audience.
What is the age / educational level for which they are "building the best learning experience inside and out."?
The difference between a 13 year old's mind and a 17/18 year old's is so great that it's hard to believe any single course could provide an undifferentiated curriculum and, at the same time , strive to provide the "best " learning experience for both groups . Dies codeacademy provide the best learning experience for both those groups? Or for either ? What about middle aged adults learning programming for the first time ? Well, the free version certainly does not at all provide the "best " learning experience for all ( maybe even any) of those groups. The site has
  • 1) Oftentimes, poor pedagogy and/or seemingly random sequence of their curriculum . I have used the site many times and seen curricular sequence problems every time. As an example, let 's examine their "Learn Python" "Hot Date" exercise from their "Learn Python" class. more on this here.
  • 2) Flawed help system . If you get stumped , you can go to the forum and copy and paste some code . Students getting stumped is an inevitable problem but their solution is , IMHO, not well thought out. And how to support struggling students is something we have thought long and hard about, and we love the way that a Penjee handles handles this problem . It's a hard problem to solve, but I have seen no evidence that codeacademy has been trying to improve their core platform to address it . Instead, they have rolled out a premium service that allows users to pay tutors to help them when they're stumped and, they claim, do much more.
  • 3) "See what sticks approach". They seem to be casting a wide net--both in terms of content (lots of superficial classes) and target audience . All of their courses (at least that I've tried) are pretty superficial. Contrast that with something like Treehouse--they seem to have a clear target audience and more in depth learning. I have to think that Treehouse doesn't have a lot of 13 years trying their classes. Codeacademy has 13 year olds, 20 year olds, 40 year olds.
Date published: 3/13/2016
2 / 5 stars
next to Penjee coding app5 stars

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