Innovative Instructional Design

Our educational model is leading the way for tech education: it’s bold, it’s effective, and students love it. We’re unlike any other school or program in America, and we’re leading the way with perhaps the best software engineering program in the country. What sets us apart?

No teachers

At 42, there are no teachers or professors. We have an academic team who oversees the curriculum and add industry-leading modules for today’s in-demand areas such as blockchain or machine learning. Without being given demands, students learn self-management and self-motivation to advance in their work.

No courses

Our curriculum is flexible and project-based, meaning students don’t have to commit to an entire course before realizing where their passions lie.

No classes

Our structure isn’t bound by time and students don’t turn up for lectures. They’re free to learn on their own time and have to learn self management, time management, and self motivation.

42’s directors have proven that a rigorous, open curriculum, one that actively involves students in passionate and collaborative projects, is the type of training method that forms the most inspired developers and computer scientists.

42 implements a particular training method that is different than most traditional educational institutions. Our commitment to this unique academic approach stems from twenty-plus years of research and experimentation in the field of programming education by Nicolas Sadirac and his team. 42’s program design represents the quintessence of this peer-to-peer methodology and the integration of our determined and continuous efforts to perfect it over time.

We attract and accept the best-of-the-best students who acquire a variety of abilities, while inventing new solutions when faced with new obstacles. Students practice and learn to work efficiently in teams as well as individually. Acquiring programming and problem-solving skills, which are in high demand in today’s technology-driven workplace, allows these students to be fully prepared for their careers upon completion of their studies.

Peer-to-peer learning

There are no classes and no professors: at 42, students are the ones in charge of their success and the success of their classmates. In order to progress on the projects that are offered to them, they must rely on the strength of the group, giving and receiving information while alternating between training and learning. This dynamic removes the subordinate relationship of students as each student within the group is responsible for a part of the project’s completion and success within the group just as it would be in the workplace.


Progress gamification

Collecting grades has never been the best form of motivation. Progress at 42 is accounted for using experience points, (which was inspired by the way this happens in video games). Students develop their competencies through each of the proposed projects and receive experience in exchange for this. Each completed project unlocks the next project(s); each successive project is increasingly more substantial and more highly-rewarded. This gamification mindset allows all learning to be fun, while enhancing students’ passion, persistence, and motivation to get to the next level.


Time barriers

Each student advances at his or her own pace. Some concepts are instinctively easier to develop, while others will require additional effort. Learning at 42 is nearly void of time barriers: students are not restricted to progressing at the same rhythm as their peers as would be the case in a traditional class where the student who is the furthest behind slows down the rest of the group.

When following 42’s educational curriculum, it is difficult to fall behind because the pace of the curriculum is adaptable and individualized.

Holistic Learning

Mastery meets your weaknesses

Removing time barriers such as a course that lasts a semester allows students to invest as much time as they need in order to successfully master the skills associated with a particular project or subject area. Not all students will struggle with the same concept or skill, thus project lengths are estimates not obligations.

Overcoming challenges as a community

Further, when students struggle or don’t know what to do, they ask fellow students. This encourages an exchange of knowledge, wisdom, and resources and allows students to overcome obstacles on their own. Students also have an innate sense of pride and passion in their work knowing that once they complete a project, they will be asked to help at some point and are bound to be able to answer questions from other students.

Pursuing excellence

Once a student is already familiar with a project, they are encouraged to push and exceed their limits. For example, after having worked with a certain type of technology during an internship, it is not uncommon for our students to see associated 42 projects in a new light. As a result, they can progress faster and take on more complex challenges without having to wait for their classmates to catch up with them.

Learning how to fail

Removing time restraints also allows students to learn how to fail in a safe environment, to learn how to accept criticism, and take on internships and/or employment. If a student must pause their schooling for an extended time period, upon their return to 42, they will find their projects right where they left them

Geniuses have fun

Academically gifted students thrive at 42 because they are not bound by time restraints or peer progression. They don’t need to prolong schooling unnecessarily and can fly through our curriculum as it suits them.

Time to pursue passions

We encourage students to pursue their passion, so if they discover a subject area that they love, students can extend a project and continue learning in a given area beyond the scope of the project. Additionally, those who prefer to take their time can progress beyond what an assignment requires by extending the project and delve deeper into a given subject area.

It should be noted that some projects have specific dates during which they must be completed. Time constraints are a reality in the world of work, and it is normal that their training integrates with that notion.

We’re not alone in innovating education

What most schools don’t teach

Watch Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey & others in short film to inspire kids to learn how to code

Educational paradigm

An RSA cartoon adapted to a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson on the need to change the educational paradigm.

How school kills creativity

In a funny but profound lecture, Sir Ken Robinson exposes the need to create an educational system that promotes (rather than belittling) creativity.

Revolutionized education

Ken Robinson, revolutionized education.

For a digital “New Deal”

Gilles Babinet with the help of Frédéric Créplet Study – February 2013

Project based learning: explained

A cartoon by Buck Institute for Education which goes into detail about the benefits of project based learning.

Where good ideas come from

A cartoon by Steven Johnson

We raise our children to be entrepreneurs

Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: this child may be an entrepreneur, according to Cameron Herold.

How to learn? From mistakes

How to Learn? From Mistakes. By Diana Laufenberg

Intelligent failure

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize and we cannot maintain a creative result, by Eddie Obeng, a business educator.

The self-organizing computer course

Shimon Schocken and Noam Nisan have developed a class which allows their students to build a computer, piece by piece. As soon as they put the course online – providing free tools, simulators, chip specifications and other building blocks – they were surprised that thousands jumped at the opportunity to learn, working independently as well as organizing their own classes in the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs).

Learning is natural

Jean-Pierre Lepri dissects the learning process revealing the contradictions in classical pedagogical approaches.