I’ve been a Premium user of GermanPod101 for a bit over 6 months.
This has given me enough experience to write a review on it.
We’re going to cover the pros and the cons of this program.
If you don’t know, GermanPod101.com is part of Innovative Language. They have 30+ courses with the Pod101/Class101 name. The really famous one is JapanesePod101 – known among Japanese learners. But first, let’s cover the basics.
So What’s GermanPod101 & What Does it Do?
GermanPod101 is an Online German Course with over 1,000 Audio & Video lessons. It offers for learning levels – Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. So, it’s made for complete beginners and experienced learners alike.
You learn to speak and understand German from Beginner to Advanced. The emphasis is on actual speaking and listening rather than studying grammar rules and memorizing words.
The site has these membership options….
- Free Account. When you sign up you get a 7-day Premium trial to see everything on the site. Once the trial is up, you stay as a free member and get their new free lessons, word of the day and more.
- Basic Member: You get all the lessons and lesson notes, progress tracking and app access.
- Premium Member: Unlimited access to the site. All of their lessons, lesson notes, premium study tools, app access, progress tracking, voice recording, line by line audio & more.
- Premium PLUS: This is Premium access plus an on-site German teacher that will help you.
(You automatically get the German Word of the Day when you join)
Based on it, GermanPod101 gives you lessons for your level. If you’re an Absolute Beginner, you’re given the Absolute Beginner lessons (the most easiest and introductory level ones).
And the lessons are the biggest attraction of GermanPod101.
Basically, you’re NOT reading long articles, playing matching games or typing in words all day long.
You’re actually taught German by German teachers in Audio or Video Lessons.
In each lesson, you hear a conversation and two German teachers (a native German & an American) translate, explain, and slow down and so you can understand and speak right after.
It’s like a radio talk-show or podcast style of delivery.
Or, it’s like a personal class that you can take at your pace and relisten as much as you want.
With each lesson, you can do the following…
- Read along with lesson notes or line-by-line as you listen to the lesson.
- That way you understand everything.
- Hear the conversation again and again with the line-by-line tool
- Record yourself to compare your pronunciation with the line by line
- Listen to the German ONLY dialogue without English
- Review the lesson vocabulary with vocabulary lists
- There are review quizzes to test you
There’s more to GermanPd101.
You Get Progress Tracking and Learning Guidance.
So, not only do you get a lesson for your level, you know which lesson to study next. You’re guided through their course with the help of the Dashboard.
When you finish Lesson #1 and mark it as complete, you’re told to move on to #2.
No confusion here.
That’s the learning guidance part. Your progress is also recorded and you can see it on the GermanPod101 Dashboard. You can see how many lessons you’ve done and how many there are left.
This is pretty cool for motivation.
Lessons, aside, there are study tools. Their main strength here is mastering German vocabulary. Premium tools get you the 2000 top Russian word list, spaced repetition flashcards (like Anki), and your personal word collector – wordbank – so you can save the words you study.
These help you solidify what you learn in the lessons.
WordBank and Flashcards are my favorite. Great for studying and reviewing.
Notes are useless. This is an underdeveloped feature and I hope they update this.
Then again, I prefer using a notebook.
My Feed is good for iTunes users. I don’t use it.
That’s the site in a nutshell.
Now, let’s get to business.
The Good Points:
- Tons of Audio & Video Lesson – 1,000+! Focused on daily German conversation so you’re learning to speak from the first lesson. You can download them and load them on your phone/mp3 player, etc.
- Focuses on PRACTICAL conversation.
- Relaxed Radio Style Lessons. In other words… it’s NOT BORING.
- New Lessons Published Weekly and they’re FREE.
Yes, free. So, you can literally learn for free if you stick around with them.
- PDF lesson notes with every lesson.
- Easy To Start and Continue.
- The Word of the Day: Very small feature.. but I love it. I get it every day and it motivates me to keep going.
- Learn anywhere with your iPhone or Android.
- Lots of discounts. When I subscribed, they were running a 25% off sale so I didn’t pay full price. Much better than 300$ software “competitors.”
- Great customer support & refunds.
The Bad Points:
- Lacking in Grammar. While they do go over grammar in lessons… this is something you need a textbook for. Grammar sucks. The only practical way to tackle it is through a textbook. Remember, no one learning resource will give you all you need.
- No New Lesson Notifications. Yes, they publish new lessons all the time… but I wish I’d get an email… or a weekly email of all new lessons published during the week so I can access them instead of coming back to the site.
Personally, I liked the site so I don’t have much bad things to say. I try to look for what will help me learn and pull as much value as possible instead of complaining about things.
✓ I HIGHLY recommend it for Beginners and Intermediate learners that want a friendly way to learn and speak German.
X I don’t recommend it to strict linguists, language nerds and grammar lovers. Try a textbook instead.
GermanPod101 provides TONS of lessons and there are always new ones. You’re exposed to daily conversation and are taught to speak. No textbook, app, or formal class will teach you this.
Let me know how you like it.
– The Main Junkie