Case Study: Reuven Lerner – Python and Data Science Courses

Reuven Lerner

Reuven is a full-time Python trainer. In a given year, he teaches courses at companies in the United States, Europe, Israel, India, and China — as well as to people around the world, via his online courses. Reuven created one of the first 100 websites in the world just after graduating from MIT’s computer science department. He opened Lerner Consulting in 1995, and has been offering training services since 1996.

Reuven is one of the founders of the Business of Freelancing podcast. He was also a panelist on the Freelancers Show podcast from 2015-2019, when the panel collectively resigned. Reuven’s monthly column appeared in Linux Journal from 1996 until the magazine’s demise in 2019. In 2020, Reuven published “Python Workout,” a collection of Python exercises with extensive explanations, published by Manning. He’s currently working on “Pandas Workout,” a similar collection of exercises using the “pandas” library for data analytics.

In this interview we cover:

  • How Reuven’s online courses feed into his corporate training programs – and vice versa.
  • The big differences between teaching live and via pre-recorded videos – and how you need to structure and split up your pre-recorded content for effective learning.
  • Why exercises and “controlled frustration” are vital to ensure your students are actually learning from your course – not just thinking that they’re learning.
  • Why Reuven doesn’t use slides at all in his training – and what he does instead that works much better.
  • How students can learn more effectively if you show them your process for doing something and the typical mistakes you make along the way rather than just showing them the finished product (this technique came from teaching programming but can be applied for any course).
  • The vital importance of teaching your students how to “debug” their work – not just how to get it right first time (which will never happen in the real world!)
  • The main technique Reuven uses to get engagement and interaction with students going in his courses.
  • The “stand up comedian” analogy that shows potential customers why they’re better off buying your course than trying to learn via YouTube videos and other free sources.
  • The number one source of customers for Reuven’s courses (and it should probably be the same for yours).
  • Why ongoing experimentation and testing is crucial in marketing to grow your sales on a regular basis.
  • The vital importance of listening to your audience so you absolutely nail their problems and the language they use to describe them.

You can find out more about Reuven and his courses here:

And you can join Reuven’s free newsletter with hints, tips and ideas for corporate trainers here: