A new app wants to teach total novices the basics of coding -- even when their phones have no internet connection

LRN foundersLauren Kaller, WeWorkLrn founders Nathan Bernard and Chirag Jain.

When you’re commuting home, you might find yourself with free time and nothing to do besides play Candy Crush over and over again.

Why not teach yourself how to code instead?

That’s the idea behind Lrn, a new iOS app that lets you learn the basics of coding in Javascript — even without an internet connection.

Lrn, which just launched Tuesday, takes all the pain points out of learning to code and condenses the experience into an app. You only need internet to download the app — then, the entire app works offline.

Lrn co-founder Nathan Bernard came up with the idea for his app while commuting into Manhattan from Brooklyn every day.

“It’s hard to bust out your laptop right there on the train,” Bernard told Business Insider. “Because one, you’re going to drop your laptop, someone’s going to steal it, or you’re going to break it. And two, there’s no internet. We think we can make an incredibly immersive mobile coding experience.”

Before founding Lrn, Bernard taught at Boston’s Urban Business Accelerator. His next stint brought him to New York City. He started Coffee, a Tinder-for-jobs startup, and went into it with no technical experience at all. “I thought that would be ok initially — I had some design skill, some business skills, so I thought, hey, someone else can do the technical part of it. I was completely wrong in that fact,” he tells Business Insider. “It takes away from your confidence as a leader if you don’t know what’s going on in every facet of the business.”

Hundreds of hours of teaching himself to code later, Bernard, along with his co-founder Chirag Jain, are launching Lrn.

Lrn lets you take a series of mini-quizzes and exercises right on your phone screen. Instead of typing in answers (“Autocorrect ruins coding on mobile,” Bernard says), you have a multiple-choice word bank to choose from, and you input your answers into pre-written code.

The goal with Lrn isn’t to turn you into a hardcore programmer. Instead, it’s to get you from a beginner who knows nothing about coding to a more beginner-intermediate level. “That would be an amazing segue into a place like Code Academy, for example,” Bernard says.

The app offers users a free set of tutorials at first, and then you can elect to make in-app purchases (you can buy an individual module for $US0.99, or buy the complete course for $US2.99). It’s available for iOS only now, though an Android version is coming.

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