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General Discussion

Ronan Cleary
Ronan Cleary
5,139 Points

Inconsistent Teaching Styles: More courses should be challenge or project based.

First off I'm loving the website and I think it’s one of the best resources on the web. However in my opinion some of the courses should be redone to follow a more challenge or project based format. I'm not going to single out any one course for criticism but many of the courses I've done to date follow a monkey see monkey do format i.e. we listen to the instructor and copy what he does on screen. While I am learning, I find myself not a participant in this process more of a spectator so retention isn't as good as it could be.

Now the other teaching style I've encountered to date is, for example Dave McFarland's javascript basics course where he covers the theory in the first few videos and then sets a challenge where he tells us to use everything we've just covered to complete the challenge he sets. After I've made my best effort I can check the forums for other solutions and also see how he did it. I find it is a good way to measure if I'm getting the concepts in the videos and I also learn a lot from looking at how other people completed the challenge. In fact I often spend longer on the challenge than on watching the video's so usually by the end of it I have really engrained the new knowledge.

For me this is so much better than mindlessly copying what an instructor is doing in a video. I'd like to hear other people's opinion on this?

4 Answers

Jennifer Nordell
Jennifer Nordell
Treehouse Teacher

Treehouse has initiated a Techdegree program which includes projects and one-on-one mentoring along with code reviews by the staff. I'm guessing this might be more of what you're looking for.

Ronan Cleary
Ronan Cleary
5,139 Points

I understand that but it costs 16x for the cheapest track(not affordable for a lot of people) and just because there is a tech degree course doesn't mean they shouldn't try and make the standard content better based off what people found most effective.

Mark Pryce
Mark Pryce
8,804 Points

Hi Ronan!

I completely agree, the teaching style is great but it gets to a point where you want more responsibility, more freedom, because after a while it really does feel like 'monkey see, monkey do'

I recently did a course where the video simply showed you a finished website followed by "we have given you some base styles go recreate the site" .. I thought Oh my, finally I can be creative and write more than 2 lines of code.

This I believe is the way forward after the initial introduction, start off slow but as you progress you should be given more rope, even if you hang yourself with it atleast you learn. I hope I get more of these challenges.

Treehouse, I'm loving what you do but this subject really does need considering if you truly want to help your students!

Mark ~

Edit: I'm still relatively new maybe this has been implemented later in the courses, maybe someone more seasoned can confirm?

Mayur Pande
Mayur Pande
Courses Plus Student 11,711 Points

Hi Ronan,

I agree on both parts.

1) The first being more project stuff is needed.

But what I am doing now is following along with videos and creating something myself, so for example if its html,css videos, I go and find a wordpress theme or a layout and learn by coding along to the videos for that design.

Recently my friend asked me to make him a simple site, which will have data so I followed along with the php/mysql videos. The more I do the more it gets stuck in my head.

2) The techdegree is far too expensive. It is something that I am really interested in, as I have not learnt javascript or python so would love do this however $499 - $600 a month is far too expensive and they don't have pricing plans. Maybe someone should email the support and see what they say about this.

Nothing but love for TTH but I would also love more project based content , particularly for building a website from scratch. I find myself only being able to make a site as good as the basic one from the videos but nothing beyond that. The tech degree expensive to the point you may as well actually go to university and get that bit of paper imo. The TH niche is learning the skills at the fraction of uni cost but perhaps that business model was no longer viable due to torrenting, cost of making and updating content, market competition and such.