Can You Learn German Online?

“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.

german online

A screen shot of the “Marine Life” 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.

 

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.
2017-09-25T07:44:56+00:00

7 Comments

  1. Jeff Titelius April 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    This is fascinating!! I definitely need to go and check out this site!! Thanks for the insights my friend and when I eventually make it to Bavaria, I can impress you with my German!

  2. Jennifer Lauchaire April 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    Great review, Laurel! For another german pop song, I’d recommend Wir sind Helden (possibly spelling the name wrong). Really catchy tunes and lyrically easy to break down.

  3. Leigh April 17, 2012 at 2:29 am - Reply

    This sounds like a great way to learn a language. Spanish is the one I wish I could speak – I understand a reasonable amount but if I open my mouth, apart from ordering a beer or finding a bathroom nothing comes out.

  4. Andrea April 17, 2012 at 7:29 am - Reply

    This sounds pretty good! I need to learn into online Norwegian courses – the live classes here are really pricey. I would love to learn German – I actually love hearing it spoken.

  5. Robert April 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I’m just thinking about learning German as I’ll probablt have to move to Berlin for busuness and want to learn the lnagugae on my own. I’ll try it, definitely!

  6. fotoeins | Henry April 19, 2012 at 12:57 am - Reply

    Das will ich auch probieren. 😉

    As you mentioned, Laurel, the oft-used “99 Luftballons” is a relatively standard song for learning the lyrics and its translation. I liked the song’s remake in 2002-2003, but my favourite remake by Nena was “Leuchtturm”. Because of the timing while living in Germany at the time, two additional favourites of mine are:

    * M.F.G. (Mit freundlichen Grüssen), by Die Fantastischen Vier
    * Zum Meer, by Herbert Grönemeyer

    Thanks again for your post!

  7. Lorien April 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Hey there. Germanpod101 is good stuff! Just wanted to offer up to you guys a bunch of free online learning resources that we have for German (and 70 or so other languages) at Transparent Language. For German, we have Twitter and Facebook communities, a YouTube channel, a free Word of the Day service, a really great blog team, and the free Express version of our software, Byki, of course, which is a dynamite way for a newbie to start acquiring a vocabulary reservoir.

    All our free resources can be found here:

    http://www.transparent.com/language-resources/

    Enjoy!

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