“Will you learn German online?”
This was the challenge presented to me by GermanPod101.com. I’ll admit I’m biased – I teach online, frequently take classes online and even did most of my Masters of Education degree online (from a reputable university). The answer was a resounding “Yes.”
Perhaps a better question would be Did I actually learn German online, and how effective did I find GermanPod101.com?
GermanPod101.com offers different lessons depending on your level ranging from absolute beginner to advanced. There is no assessment tool though to assess your level, so you must self assess. Once you’ve self assessed you have a variety of options from choosing a specific topic, or a type of lesson, i.e. audio or video lesson.
The video lesson is only available for the absolute beginner and beginner levels, but despite that, some of the vocab is very specific. I have intermediate German but when I clicked on the Marine Life video, I learned the word for stingray (der Stachelrochen). I’m personally interested in marine life as a scuba diver, but if you weren’t you could skip that lesson. This particular lesson was only 2 minutes and 22 seconds long which I also liked. I’m a big fun of breaking learning up into short bits.
There are also a variety of study tools built in from checklists, to core word lists with pronunciation, vocabulary lists, flashcards, quizzes and an accent improvement section, which I found to be especially helpful.
I’ve stressed before that learning a language should be fun, see 5 Fun Ways Language Learning Techniques, and GermanPod101.com’s personalization makes it fun – you simply choose the lessons that are of interest to you. One of my favorite audio lessons was learning music through song. This section has 22 different songs ranging from alternative, to hip-hop to Rammstein to the national anthem. My personal favorite? 99 Luftballoons, which English speakers know better as 99 Red Balloons. I can’t sing, but fortunately my 2 cats don’t seem too disturbed by the off-key notes permeating their precious nap time. The aural part is really of interest to me since it’s my weakest learning style. If you’re more pragmatic, or just hungry, you can also learn how to order a pizza in German. Not only will you learn German, you will also learn about German culture. If you don’t know about the “clinging monkey” that you may encounter in a work environment you may want to check it out.
Most of the lessons are relatively short, 22 minutes are less which I also liked, since it’s more motivating to learn German online when you know that you don’t have to do it for hours at a time – unless you want to of course.
There are three different memberships available. The Basic membership is $4/month and is quite limited. I though the Premium membership for $10/month was the best deal and very reasonably priced. A Premium+ membership for $26/month would be a good option for individuals wanting personal feedback.
I wish I would have discovered GermanPod101.com before I moved to Germany to give me a head start. It would have been very useful. I think the personalized customization of the program makes it a very effective way to learn German, but like learning anything, you need to put the time in.
Did I learn German online? Yes, but not as much as I wanted to. This was my own fault. I was traveling more than expected and didn’t put as much time in as I would have liked to, but I will continue to learn with GermanPod101.com. Next step is the German Core 2000 Word List – and of course I still need to memorize all the words to 99 Luftballoons.
Disclosure: I received complimentary access to GermanPod101.com in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.