Meet Students Where They Are With Block-Based Programming & Visual Coding

Visual and Block-based programming requires little prior knowledge, training, or setup—making them excellent tools for beginner instruction.

What is Block-Based Coding?

Block-based and visual code editors use a drag-and-drop approach that makes it easier than ever for students and teachers to enter the world of programming. Unlike traditional, text-only programming, block-based programming requires little prior knowledge, training, or setup, making it accessible to students and teachers at the beginner level and beyond.

How Does Block-Based Coding Work?

Block-based programming provides visual clues through predefined groups of code (blocks), such as events, controls, commands, loops, conditions, and more, that can be selected, modified, and sequenced to create and run games, apps, and other programs. 

While many associate block-based coding and visual programming with younger students, a recent study of computer science students found that even high school students benefited from block-based programming with greater learning gains and a higher level of student interest in future computing courses. (2017, Weintrop & Wilensky).

More recently, researchers have demonstrated that block-based and visual coding platforms are very helpful for adult novice learners, as they help teach the causal relationships between code and behaviors. While visual and block-based programming has definite limitations, there are very real ways for students to begin their coding journies.

How Do I Learn with Block-Based Coding?

There are several block-based coding platforms that can get you started learning to code. Here are some of our favorites.


Scratch is a popular block-based, visual coding environment that introduces programming concepts in an engaging way to students of all ages. The graphical visual coding environment makes it easy to create animated stories, interactive programs, and games, all within Codio!


Blockly is another blocked-based programming tool that adds a visual programming environment and can be used in the Codio platform to help your courses to be more engaging and successful. Like Scratch, Blockly uses pre-configured coding blocks that are dropped in the Codio editor in varying sequences to create and run custom programs. Blockly will even output syntactically correct code in the programming language of your choice.

The Blockly visual programming editor uses interlocking, graphical blocks to represent code concepts like variables, logical expressions, loops, and more. It allows users to apply programming principles without having to worry about syntax or the intimidation of a blinking cursor on the command line.

Flode (Executable Flow Charts)

Flode is a unique visual programming tool that can be used to help introduce students to programming. Using Flode, students can create executable flow charts that teach computational thinking and computing fundamentals. Flode provides code snippets to get students started, suggested areas to investigate, and lets students see how the computer responds to code.

A platform where all the students have the same setup

Sylvester Mobley
Coded By Kids

If you have one kid working on a Macintosh, one on a Microsoft device, one on Linux, it becomes unworkable. We found that we needed a platform so that all the students have the same setup. Codio has been able to give us a way to organize a lot of the technical things we’re doing with the kids. And it’s part of the strategic plan that’s helping us to scale.

Ready to get started?

Sign up for a free Codio instructor account today to see for yourself why students love to learn in Codio.