Online German Courses
If you aren’t currently studying German at school or college, you might be trying to find a bit more structure for your German studies. I know just how hard staying proactive can be when you’re left all on your own!
That’s where online German courses come in. You’ll have a set series of lessons or topics to work through and specially tailored materials to help you master each. Some e-learning courses even include personalized or group instruction from a German educator.
Here are some great online German courses to explore:
Relaxed courses like the ones on the BBC website might be better for the beginners out there. Talk German will get you started with foundational vocabulary for conversation with German speakers.
The German Online Institute has both private and group courses. Private classes offer more flexible scheduling and can cater to any student from beginner to advanced. Group courses cover beginner to intermediate learners.
Deutsch im Blick (German in View) is a first-year online German program developed by the University of Texas. It’s a chapter-by-chapter course and its central focus is vocabulary acquisition. You’ll also find textbook activities, grammar lessons, songs and more.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
German online courses are great, but some people would prefer to have a bit more of a classroom feel to help the lessons stick better. This is understandable, as we all learn in individual ways. If you’d like to e-learn alongside some e-classmates, with access to more traditional lectures and assignments, you should consider enrolling in a MOOC.
MOOCs are online courses that anyone can join remotely; they’re generally offered by universities or other educational institutions. Some use videos of past courses with downloadable lecture notes and syllabi. Others are more interactive, with real-time teaching, homework deadlines and student forums.
Add these to your German MOOC list:
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has lots of cultural and linguistic MOOCs. You can explore an intensive study of German language and culture or a standard introduction to German, among several others.
Class Central has a diverse list of German MOOCs covering everything from German for beginners to an introduction to German opera.
Webinars for German Learners
Webinars are online seminars that’ll give you access to German language experts and educators. They’re usually delivered on a set schedule and will often provide you with the opportunity to ask questions about your personal German learning roadblocks. You can also connect with fellow German learners and can discuss any grammar or vocabulary issues with them.
Here are some webinars to get you started:
german-learning-online focuses on language skills suitable for both professional and everyday needs.
Brush up on your business German with this webinar from the American Association of Teachers of German.
Apps for German Learners
To practice German on the go, I’d recommend downloading a German learning app. These apps are great for picking up new vocabulary during your free time, making sure grammar concepts stick in your memory and adding a little fun and variety to your German learning regimen.
Here are some great apps to consider:
FluentU will teach you the language with authentic German content. FluentU takes real-world videos, from inspiring talks to music videos to movie trailers, and transforms them into a language learning experience.
You’ll pick up new vocabulary in-context while getting exposure to German culture. There are interactive captions and quizzes to help with retention. FluentU also remembers what you’ve been learning and recommends new content based on that information, making for a truly personalized experience.
DeutschAkademie’s Learn German app is a flexible, mobile language trainer. You’ll be able to practice the language according to your proficiency level, although it’s recommended that you have a foundational knowledge of German. There are more than 20,000 grammar exercises included!
Duolingo is a popular app that gamifies language learning. You’ll have fun quizzes and translating tasks, and you can even compete against your Facebook friends—whoever practices more will work up the leaderboard.
German Lesson YouTube Channels
YouTube is a great place to take advantage of free resources for e-learning German. YouTube members upload new videos very regularly, so you’ll always find that there’s fresh content waiting for you.
Many of these German YouTube channels cater to specific proficiency levels, so no matter how far you are with your German studies, you’ll have lots of resources to choose from.
Plus, there are quite a few German-speakers who make some funny or exciting videos aimed at German learners, so you’ll be entertained while you learn!
Here are some of my favorites:
Learn German with Ania is a really engaging channel that can make even dull grammar topics fun. There’s an entire course aimed at beginners.
Learn German with Jenny has a diverse set of German learning video playlists. You’ll find lessons on life in Germany, useful phrases and more.
Tagesschau will help you practice German comprehension while keeping up with current events. It’s not specifically designed for language learners, but it provides a great window into the lives of native German speakers. You can turn on the subtitles if you need any help understanding what exactly is going on!
German Learning Podcasts
German podcasts are an awesome platform for language lessons and courses, because there’s a wide variety and podcasts are generally free to access.
You can download them to your computer, or to your phone if you’d like to listen on the go. However, to get the most out of this resource, it’s a good idea to take some notes as you listen so that you can actively pick up new vocabulary and grammar concepts.
Here are some of the best German learning podcasts:
Slow German has a free podcast that has been producing episodes for a decade! There’s also a premium podcast that comes with downloadable learning materials, native-style content and special episodes.
Coffee Break German aims to imitate the experience of going to coffee with a German-speaking friend. The structured courses are designed by expert educators and native speakers.
Learn Out Loud has a nice list of German learning podcasts covering a range of topics that you can browse. Explore this list when you’re ready to branch out to new German podcasts!
Online Video Chats
Think you could do with some speaking practice? One of the best and most convenient ways is to organize some Skype conversations with German tutors or language partners.
If you know any German-speaking friends who work as language tutors, they might be able to find the time to chat with you online. Don’t know anyone with good enough language skills? No problem. You’ll be able to find lots of German tutors waiting to chat with you on platforms such as Verbalplanet or italki.
If you feel like you could use some extra guidance with finding and meeting a tutor online, Verbling makes it super easy by streamlining the whole process and using unique video technology so you don’t even have to bother with Skype.
Here are some ways to get the most out of your conversations:
Keep a vocabulary list of any words that you hear but don’t understand. Return to the list and review it until you become familiar with all this new vocabulary.
Feeling nervous about being on camera? You can always turn off the webcam to get rid of any stage fright, and the chat will just feel like a phone conversation.