EDUKWEST #70 with Jeffrey McManus of CodeLesson

For the 70th episode of EDUKWEST I talked with Jeffrey McManus of CodeLesson.

As you might know, I’ve started talking about how I the interest shift away from languages and toward the Sciences, and I wanted to give you a more precise idea of what some start-ups in that space are doing.

CodeLesson provides hands-on, instructor-led training through its interactive courses.

As Jeffrey explains to me, in programming there have been only two opposite approaches so far. Either one studied Computer Science, very useful of course but in his opinion too focused on the theory only with no practical instruction, or you had to learn how to code on your own. There were forums of course but the students were still highly dependent on themselves.There was nothing really in between these two ways on could go.

What CodeLesson want is to provide its students with real-world tasks and challenges without ignoring the theoretical basis, however.

CodeLesson’s students are both private people but also from the corporate world. It’s interesting to see how this niche is developing very quickly with new start-ups almost every week. Maybe it’s the new thing but I think, programming in general is ideal for this kind of asynchronous teaching and learning.

The problems are relatively small, a students can take in a lesson via video/screencast, sample code etc., and the teacher can easily see where a student has a particular problem based on the code he handed in as homework and also grade of course.

Different from learning languages for instance, the student can be more self-contained while taking a course, and the instructor comes in a fixed points which will be sufficient for the majority of students.

Getting a better understanding of the challenges when learning code thanks to interviewing Jeffrey, I believe that formalized, hands-on instruction with student autonomy and input by the instructor at the right point are going to be the way many more people will learn.


Additional Links:

CodeLesson on Twitter: @CodeLesson
CodeLesson Facebook Page:
Jeffrey McManus LinkedIn: Jeffrey McManus

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at

  • AFM

    Sounds great but I found this CodeLesson review that makes is sound pretty terrible. Hope they’ve fixed the problems.

    • So that was first bad review we’ve had in a year of operation. It was bound to happen sooner or later and we take that kind of feedback pretty seriously, but one bad review out of thousands of satisfied students…I think we’re doing relatively OK all things considered.

      The value of a CodeLesson course is having the ability to interact with an expert instructor, and we’re pretty up front about that. If you choose not to interact with the instructor, or if you are the kind of person who needs to dictate your own pace, then the format we provide may not be for you. But for most students, having access to an instructor is going to be significantly more efficient and effective than figuring it out on your own. What we do is not comparable to an endless series of Google searches or a site that provides pre-recorded videos with no instructor interaction.
      I did a post on the CodeLesson blog about this last week:

      • That review was spot on and matches my experience with CodeLesson. That review was written in August 2011, but here in March 2013, you STILL have the same issues. I hope more people read the review and your snarky responses that failed to address the reviews concerns and questions. “Ability to interact with the instructor?” Are you serious? I posted a request for help weeks ago on a lesson and still haven’t heard back. The course has been a waste of time and my requests for you to contact me have been ignored. I design online courses and training as my profession and I couldn’t possibly recommend yours to anyone.

  • CodeLesson is a terrible service and until they figure out how to better service their customers and students, I would advise you to not waste you money. For a very detailed review of one user’s experience that mirrors my own exactly (along with my comments onthe review) see