One of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to choose one of the available online courses. Since German is considered as one of the most popular languages to learn, there are many different courses that you can choose from. Also these online programs offer more studying material for this particular language. Hence it is possible to achieve higher level in German than compared with some other languages.
Online courses in this article were listed based on user reviews online, offered features, price and my personal experience with them.
#1. Recommended German Course – Rocket.
Rocket is one of the highest rated online courses for learning German language by both users and reviews online. What makes it effective and enjoyable way to study a foreign language is the fact that it offers many different activities for its users.
It is worthwhile to mention that recently Rocket got very a high rating as the top language learning software by PCMag. This is a good indication that it is a quality program that most people get good results with.
- New users can test Rocket German course for 6 days completely free. It is a great way to test this course and make sure that it is the right studying program for you;
- Rocket German course has a very positive feedback from most learners. This is a good indication that it is a quality course for learning this language;
- Rocket offers three levels for German language. This makes it a suitable course for both beginners and more advanced learners;
- Different learning tools in this course make learning fun and not monotonic experience. Also by using different learning multimedia, you will be able to learn German more efficiently. This is a huge advantage when compared with courses that offer only audio lessons;
- Quizzes, self-rating system and badges in this program are great features for keeping your motivation high to study further;
- Rocket is an ideal course choice for travelers. It teaches the most essential German vocabulary from the beginning. Consequently learners are able to learn how to communicate in real life situations fast;
- This course has a separate section for German culture lessons. This is a great addition for learners who want to know more about native people and their culture;
- By listening to Rocket audio lessons you can learn how to speak in German with good accent. This is because one of the speakers in the recordings is native. Also Rocket offers a very useful tool for practicing pronunciation – Rocket Record. It allows learners to compare their pronunciation with a native German speaker;
- Rocket course is very easy to follow, because audio lessons are divided into smaller parts. Also there is a transcript of audios provided in both German and English;
- By choosing Rocket course you can improve all aspects of German – writing, grammar, listening and etc.;
- Based on the features that it offers, Rocket is one of the cheapest German online courses available ($99.95 for the first level). There is also usually a huge discount available for purchasing all three parts of Rocket German ($259.90 for all three levels);
- All Rocket courses including German are backed up by money back guarantee (60 days). Hence if for any reason you are not happy with this program, you can ask for refund;
- CD format of Rocket German is very expensive ($299.95 for each level). Due to this most users simply choose online version;
- In order to use most of Rocket tools, it is necessary to have an internet connection. However it is possible to transfer audio lessons to your preferred device and learn on the go.
#2. Living Language.
Living Language offers quite a different course compared to others reviewed in this article. This is mainly because studying material in this course comes in a form of books. They include various exercises, dialogues and explanations.
In addition to books, there are also audio CD’s provided. By purchasing one of Living Language courses, you would also get an access to online features. These include games, quizzes and flashcards. Since Living Language offers different multimedia for studying, it can be a suitable German course for all types of learners.
Even though Living Language courses (Essential and Complete) don’t offer advanced features for its learners, it can be said that they compensate that with very reasonable prices (price range from $23 to $50). Although the price is low, there is a lot of material included for studying.
The Main Advantages:
- Based on the features needed and budget, German learners can choose from three different courses. Currently offered courses by Living Language are Platinum, Complete and Essential;
- Since Living Language Method uses different multimedia to teach German, it is a more efficient course to study from. Also it makes it a suitable program for all type of learners;
- In case one of your aims is to learn German grammar properly, you will find enough material and explanations provided in this course;
- If you need more advanced features while studying German, you can choose Platinum course from Living Language. This edition offers access to online community, mobile apps and also e-tutoring;
- Learners who want to learn more about German people and their culture, will find some material included in Living Language course too;
- Living Language is not the most convenient German course to study on the go. However it is possible to learn from part material while being away from home. It can be done by using audio CD’s and mobile app (Platinum edition);
- Keeping in mind all the material and features offered by Living Language it can be said that it offers learners good value for money. Price for different courses range from $23 to $162;
The Main Disadvantages:
- Unlike Rocket and Rosetta Stone courses reviewed in this article, Living Language doesn’t offer any advanced features for practicing German pronunciation. This might be seen as a downside by learners who want to learn how to speak German confidently and with proper pronunciation;
- Even though all three Living Language courses offer free access to online features it can be said that they lack engagement when compared with similar courses. Also it is worthwhile to mention that these features don’t have good tracking, so you always need to remember your progress (the last time you were using them);
#3. Michel Thomas Audio Lessons.
Even though audio lessons are not my preferred method of studying foreign languages, I found Michel Thomas course to be exactly the opposite. It is very engaging audio course and also not monotonic way to study German.
What makes these lessons interesting to follow is the fact that there are two students in the recordings. They are learning German just like you, which makes these audios quite similar to a classroom situation.
The other great benefit of this course is that it doesn’t require its students to memorize vocabulary too hard. Instead an instructor of this course introduces vocabulary in a way that makes it easy to remember what you are learning. You will hear various examples and comparisons with English language.
One more advantage of these audio lessons is that quite commonly instructor of the course stresses out separate sounds of words. Hence listeners can know exactly how to pronounce them correctly.
The Main Pros:
- New material in audios is introduced in very small steps and also its being repeated in further lessons. This makes Michel Thomas course easy to follow;
- It can be said that these audio lessons are less repetitive when compared to Pimsleur. As a result you will be less likely to get bored while listening to them;
- The instructor of Michel Thomas German course provides useful tips on how to remember some words. Also he does a great job at highlighting key points of this language;
- In addition to audio lessons there is also a computer program included in the course. It is a great additional bonus for visual learners that can help to improve learning efficiency greatly;
- Instructor of this course constantly prompts learners to say sentences and phrases in German. This is a useful feature for improving learning efficiency and encouraging learners to think in their target language;
- Almost all material in Michel Thomas course can be learned while on the go. This makes these lessons suitable for busy learners who can’t dedicate much additional time for studying German;
- These lessons include mostly essential vocabulary. Due to this learners who are planning to travel to German speaking country soon, will find this course very beneficial;
- Instructor of this course sometimes mentions a few interesting culture facts. It is not very extensive; however you can still learn a bit more about German people and their culture;
- Instructor of this course quite commonly stresses out separate sounds of more complicated words. This is a useful feature for improving German pronunciation;
- It is a suitable course for both total beginners and more advanced users of this language. Based on your level, you can choose from four different Michel Thomas German courses – Start, Total, Perfect and Masterclass,
The Main Cons:
- It is not the most suitable program for learners who want to learn all aspects of this language (reading, grammar and writing). This is because Michel Thomas German course comes in a form of audios and it doesn’t offer additional learning tools;
- There are no native German speakers in the recordings. This might be seen as a huge downside by learners who want to learn how to speak German with a good accent;
- In case you didn’t enjoy classes in school, you might find two students in the recordings a bit annoying. This is because they tend to slow down learning phase. Also at times you need to listen to their mistakes;
- Considering material and learning tools included, it can be said that this course is a bit overpriced (~$335 for three parts);
#4. Pimsleur Audio Lessons.
Pimsleur audio lessons were developed more than fifty years ago. Currently it is possible to choose courses from more than 50 languages. Since Pimsleur focuses more on speaking part of German, you will not need to learn grammar rules or other more complicated parts of this language.
Considering that this course comes in audio format, it is a great studying option for audible learners. Those who want to learn how to speak German with a good accent, should also consider Pimsleur. By hearing native speakers in these audios, you will be able to learn proper pronunciation.
- New users of Pimsleur German can register at official website and get one free audio lesson. This can help to determine whether it is the right course for your learning style or not;
- Pimsleur lessons are arranged in a way that makes them easy to follow and understand all material. Also instructor of these audios constantly asks to say phrases and sentences in German. This in turn make listeners to think in their target language and enhance overall learning efficiency;
- With Pimsleur you will be able to learn the most essential phrases to get around in Germany quickly. Due to this it can be a great course for travelers;
- Most of material in Pimsleur German comes in form audio lessons. Furthermore there is an app available allowing users to access via different devices. For these reasons Pimsleur can be a great choice course for busy people or those who want to study while on the go;
- The recordings in lessons are made by native German speakers. Hence it is possible to learn how to speak in new language with a good accent;
- Quite commonly Pimsleur lessons stress out how to pronounce German words correctly. This is done by dividing them into separate sounds;
- All new vocabulary that you learn is repeated and included in further lessons. Due to this it is not necessary to repeat these audios too many times;
- Pimsleur includes some culture notes. It can be a great benefit for learners who want to know more about German culture too;
- Premium version of Pimsleur is available for this language. So in addition to audio lessons, it is possible to get extra studying material like flashcards and learning games;
- Each lesson of this courses focuses only on a couple of new German phrases. Due to this you can learn only limited number of new vocabulary in each session;
- Pimsleur mostly teaches to speak and understand German. So you will need extra studying material to learn grammar, writing or reading;
- Quite often it becomes monotonic and boring to study via Pimsleur. This is because audios are based a lot on repetition. Also there is not much alternative studying content included;
- It would be quite useful if Pimsleur German lessons would also include transcript of dialogues;
- Pimsleur is quite expensive course for studying German language (~$350 for three levels of Premium). This is because this course offers audio lessons without much additional tools and material;
#5. Rosetta Stone.
This software teaches users a new language through complete immersion. By associating pictures with words and phrases, learners can learn their meaning. And there are no further explanations or translations provided in English.
The current version of Rosetta Stone is based online. It includes advanced studying features like live sessions with a tutor, games and applications for mobile phone.
- This software has very interactive workouts for practice. They are engaging so you will definitely not get bored while studying;
- Rosetta Stone offers a unique TruAccent feature. It can be helpful in determining whether you pronounce words in German correctly or not;
- The recordings in different workouts are made by native German speakers. Due to this listeners can learn how to pronounce words & phrases correctly;
- By using Rosetta Stone software you can improve all aspects of German – writing, grammar, reading, listening and etc.;
- Learners who choose online version of Rosetta Stone can get access to some advanced learning features. This includes live sessions with a tutor, mobile app and interactive games;
- This software has advanced tracking features so it is easy to follow your progress with German language. Also you can choose what kind of workouts to do at any time. Hence you can concentrate on German language areas that need the most improvement from your part;
- It is not necessary to be fluent in English or even know this language in order to study via Rosetta Stone. This can be seen as a huge benefit by non native English speakers;
- The price of Rosetta Stone German depends on membership length (3, 6, 12 or 24 months). This type of payment structure makes it an expensive option for learning German language in the long term (~179 USD yearly);
- It is difficult to learn grammar and other more complicated parts of German while using only Rosetta Stone. Due to lack of explanations in this software, you will definitely need some extra material;
- At times it is difficult to tell what exact German word a picture is trying to portray. Hence you might need to look it up in the dictionary to be sure;
- This software doesn’t include German culture lessons. This can be seen as a downside by some learners, especially travelers;
- The vocabulary introduced in this software is quite random. So Rosetta Stone is definitely not the quickest way to learn German language for traveling purposes.
#6. Fluenz Software.
Fluenz is one of the newest language learning programs online. It can be said that popularity of this German course increased rapidly in the last few years.
It offers its users a unique learning experience, which is quite similar to having a private tutor. This is because each lesson is video based. Furthermore a tutor guides you through all material and explains every aspect of German language.
- You can try a demo lesson of this course at the official website online. This can be useful in case you want to try Fluenz German program before buying it;
- There a total of 5 levels of Fluenz available for German learners. Due to this learners can achieve more advanced level with this language;
- Explanations provided by a tutor are very useful for understanding German language structure and grammar;
- Fluenz comes together with additional studying material like podcasts and audios. They can come in handy while learning this language on go and offline;
- Fluenz teaches useful vocabulary and phrases from the first lesson. This means that users can learn how to get around in a German speaking country quickly;
- An instructor of Fluenz course sometimes provides German culture notes. This information can be quite useful if you planning to travel to Germany;
- By using Fluenz software learners can improve all aspects of German language – speaking, writing, grammar, listening and etc.;
- After each Fluenz lesson, learners need to complete different workouts. This can help to improve their learning efficiency greatly. Also this makes Fluenz a more dynamic and interactive course. Hence learners are less likely to get bored while learning;
- Fluenz software allows learners to turn on or off subtitles in English and German along with dialogues. This can be a very useful feature, especially when repeating lessons;
- The list of vocabulary in each level of Fluenz is quite limited. So even after finishing all levels of this course, learners might need extra material to become more advanced speakers of this language;
- This program lacks social features that would allow learners to interact with other German learners or a teacher;
- The instructor of the course is not a native German speaker. Also some users might find too much English and too little German in these lessons;
- Even though workouts after each lesson are useful for learning German, some of them are very basic or requires a lot of typing;
- Depending on current discount, Fluenz German might be too expensive for some users ($348-$677 for all 5 levels).