Common Sense Review
Updated December 2015


Fun, self-paced web development and coding lessons offer high value
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating
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  • After a free seven-day trial period, access is based on a subscription fee.
  • Learn about programming and web development at your own pace, choosing from 17 tracks.
  • Watch the videos, then take quizzes and do coding challenges to test your knowledge.
  • The videos are very professional with clear instructions and a logical progression.
  • The library shows the available topics, workshops, and upcoming classes.
  • Treehouse also includes instruction on learning Swift, an iOS and OS X programming language.
Clear instruction, clean interface, focused goals, and enthusiastic instructors.
Not as good for students who aren't self-motivated, and you have to supply payment info up front for the free trial.
Bottom Line
A solid learning solution for self-starting students who want to grasp the wide array of programming topics.
Jenny Bristol
Common Sense Reviewer
Homeschooling parent/instructor
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

The attractive interface, streamlined learning tracks, and interesting challenges keep students highly engaged in their own learning. They will likely want to attempt a variety of subjects.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Smaller, bite-sized sections of learning piece together to form a cohesive unit where students first see, then do. Tracks and badges keep students' attention focused on their goals.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

The videos have plenty of instruction, but the entire website is designed around helping students achieve their learning goals. A very active community assists with all aspects of the site.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Though harder than some other programs to integrate into the classroom, Treehouse would be useful for teachers wanting to learn more about programming, apps, and business or for older students who want to sink their teeth into some real-life applications: software development, business topics, and online publishing. If students are interested in learning to make iOS apps, however, they'll need to be able to work on a Mac. There's also a Treehouse for Organizations option for businesses, schools, and organizations to learn JavaScript, PHP, and Java. Contact the Treehouse folks for more information and pricing.

As students progress, they can find the help they need in the extremely active built-in community forum. To extend students' learning, use Workspaces, where they can have up to 100 projects going at once, accessible from anywhere. Treehouse is also a great option for students interested in a career in programming to begin developing an online portfolio.

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What's It Like?

Treehouse is a self-paced learning site for web design, coding, business, and more. Its developers are constantly adding more material but always include beginner, intermediate, and expert help. With over a dozen tracks for learning, each takes from a few hours to a few dozen hours to complete. Examples of tracks include Web Design, Starting a Business, WordPress Development, Android Development, Learn Java, and iOS Development with Swift 2.0. Students can also learn on the go with the free Treehouse app.

Students start each track by watching a series of videos, then take quizzes and try out their new coding knowledge. Badges can be earned for successful completion of skills. The videos are professionally done and are generally short, making it easy to learn in spurts if necessary. The website is intuitive and clearly laid out and contains a forum for help and support from fellow learners. After the seven-day free trial (which requires inputting payment information), users can subscribe to the Basic plan (access all the videos, practice online with the Code Challenge Engine, and participate in the forums) or the Pro plan (access additional talks from industry leaders, see bonus content, and download the videos). Users can cancel or pause their accounts at any time. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

Treehouse is especially good for students who do well with self-paced learning. There's tons of knowledge and experience to gain on a vast array of subjects, from software development to web development to coding. Also, if kids want to learn the basics of starting a business, doing user-interface design, or using WordPress to make a website, they'll learn lots here. Students can go through full sequential tracks, or they can pick and choose the particular lessons that interest them. Students can access any parts of the site and aren't restricted to only one track. There's also a dashboard where students can see all their classes in progress, items they've bookmarked, and lessons completed. If they're learning programming, students can practice writing their own code within the website in the Workspaces section, creating their own games, programs, and apps. They can access their account and Workspaces from anywhere, since there is nothing to install.

The site's video and other offerings all include clear instructions and possess a logical progression. Treehouse is a great place to get students started in learning something new, or they can augment their knowledge in an area they already know a bit about. The video lessons get them started, and the practice allows them to try their hand at creating, while the community keeps them going if they get stuck. There are enough lessons in most of the tracks to really gain deep knowledge, but each one still starts off gently enough to ease students in. There are also optional Extra Credit activities to extend learning further.

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See how teachers are using Treehouse