Live coding

User guide

Live-coding is an approach to teaching programming where the teacher writes actual code during class in front of the students. In a live-coding session, the teacher thinks aloud while writing code and the students are able to understand the process of programming by observing the thought processes of their teacher.

This scheme takes a similar approach where students are introduced to new concepts by video where Dave explains the thought process as he writes the code. This also provides excellent support for non-specialist teachers.

Although students could be shown the videos from the front of the class, it is more effective for students to work at their own pace, using headphones to watch and listen to a video when they are at that stage of their learning journey.

In a study by Raj et al , a live-coding session was given to two groups of students as a part of a teaching intervention. They found that live-coding:

  • Makes the process of programming easy to understand for novice programmers.
  • Helps students learn the process of debugging.
  • Exposes students to good programming practices.

They also found that students prefer to code along with the teacher during a live-coding session rather than being mere observers. It is possible to deliver this scheme that way as an alternative to a PRIMM/TIME approach.


Raj A, Patel J, Halverson, R, Halverson E (2018) Role of Live-coding in Learning Introductory Programming (2018)

In Proceedings of the 18th Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (Koli Calling '18). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 13, 1–8 .

Registered in England and Wales: 10442992

VAT Number: 290 9845 58

Telephone: 01452 947500


Craig'n'Dave logo

Craig 'n' Dave

Bett Awards 2024 Finalist