My previous attempts at online courses left me feeling cold, and bored. It is painful to watch other people writing code for more than a few minutes at a time. Usually they provide downloadable code and ask you to follow along, but I rarely do, and I guess few other people will either.
The difference with Code School is that it is a much more complete product. Not only do they have shorter concise videos explaining the key theory, they have separate videos for code examples. This division makes it easier to chunk information together rather than mixing them together.
A key selling point for me is the interactive coding. As you work your way through the course you are asked to write code using the editor provided. The code is then automagically reviewed, and if it works as expected you proceed to the next level. I find this to be an excellent way to get immediate feedback about your progress and knowledge. But more importantly, it gives you an excellent way to practice the things you just learned.
As you work through the levels you can’t help but appreciate the amount of work that has gone into making the tutorials and videos. And as you pass the levels you are rewarded with badges to indicate your progress and to share with others. Like this one:
However, its not all good news. I have found that some of the videos don’t always load correctly. Links are sometimes broken, and the interactive code can sometimes leave you stuck and unable to progress. These problems can annoy and/or trip up many users.
Also I find that while the range of topics (for each course) covered are generally quite good, I don’t believe it would be enough to act as a single resource to learn all you need to learn about any particular language. In that sense, I think that it is a great tool, but should be used in conjunction with regular book learning as opposed to a complete substitute.
I whole-heartedly recommend the courses to those who have covered the basics of a language and are looking for ways to review and improve their skills. Some of the material can be quite difficult for total beginners, but overall I believe the course to be worth the price you pay for it. Which is currently $29 per month. Think of it as being as much as buying a textbook per month.
They do of course provide free introductory courses for you to try before you buy. And of course I have included a promotional affiliate link to get a discount on your first month. After that, you can suspend your subscription at any time from within your Code School account.