What does GermanPod101 have to offer?
- 820+ lessons for all levels
- Each audio and video lesson is between 3 to 15 minutes depending on content
- Constantly develop new, additional lessons that get included in the back-office (e.g. released 1,500 new lessons in the 2nd half of 2014)
- Download MP3 to every lesson as well as PDF for every dialog plus corresponding vocabulary, sample sentences, grammar, cultural notes etc.
- Keeps track of your current lesson status and your overall progress to stay motivated
- Offer nifty “language hacks”, such as top 25 questions, word of the day and the 100 most common words
- Lessons include Beginners Bootcamp, Flashcard vocabulary training, voice recognition software to improve pronunciation, and much more
- Provides a language learner forum to get questions answered and to connect with others
- Email support answers within 24 hours
Valuable Details on GermanPod101:
When you log into your back-office for the first time, you may feel a little overwhelmed due to the amount of tabs, submenus and sidebar tabs.
To get off to a fast start, you should begin with the ‘Browse Lesson’ tab on top and navigate to your language level from there.
The lessons are grouped into five levels: Introduction, Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Under these five levels, the lessons are further grouped into series, which have more specific levels (e.g. Lower Beginner, Beginner, Upper Beginner). Finally, under each series, you will find different seasons, which are lessons grouped into sets of 25.
If you are a total newbie to German, I’d suggest selecting the ‘Basic Bootcamp’ in the introduction section of ‘Browse Lessons’. This familiarizes you with the first bare basics of the German language.
If you are more experienced already, you can enjoy lessons based on German songs. A really interesting, new concept!
Below the lesson header, you find 3 tracks:
- In case of audio lessons, the Lesson Audio track contains brief intro, the goal and dialog of the lesson. So, you should always start any new lesson here.
- The Review track helps you review the vocabulary from the lesson. After giving you the word in German, there will be a pause for you to say the meaning in English. You will later be given the meaning in English, after which you are prompted to come up with the word in German. Make sure to say them out loud!
- The Dialog track contains only the dialogue portion of the lesson. Listening to the dialogue track is a great way to review the focus of the lesson without listening to the entire lesson.
Below the tracks, you find your lesson materials:
Introduction: Provides a brief overview in writing on what the current lesson is about
Lesson Materials: Provides line-by-line audio to work on new words and phrases and their pronunciation. You can record your voice using the voice recognition to check your pronunciation. It also contains the vocabulary list with normal and slow audio plus voice recording, plus you can add these vocabularies to build your ‘Wordbank’ and flashcards.
The first step to learn the new words and their pronunciation provides the line by line audio in German and English to learn. The only drawback from my perspective was that the English and German should be side by side for easier translation and not on two separate pages.
To check and improve your pronunciation, you can use voice recognition software. Especially for complex or longer phrases, this can prove very useful.
Review: Various exercises to review what you’ve just learned in this lesson, e.g. writing the German equivalent to English words or Tue/False answers as to what a specific word or phrase means.
Another great little feature is the integrated note pad that allows you to add notes during each lesson.
Once done with a lesson, mark it complete and it will show up in your progress bar in the dashboard
Quick comments on audio vs. video lessons:
As mentioned previously, this course contains audio as well as video lessons. The general structure is pretty much the same. The course offers about 30 video lessons across different levels so far. The main differences that I’ve seen so far are:
A) Video is not a dialog but brief video clips that explain new words and phrases about a particular topic, e.g. Daily Routine: der Junge, aufwachen, Morgen –> Der Junge wacht am Morgen auf, and Talking about Hobbies and Words for the Workplace etc.
B) Covers language learning techniques, for example through opposites, top 20 German verbs and 5 must-know German words
C) Video lesson topics differ from those of the audio lessons, in other words, they do not correspond to each other. Either you get started with video or audio lessons depending on what your personal preference is.
Additional helpful features:
This search application allows you to search for specific grammar topics, e.g. Dative, personal pronouns, verb conjugation. It will point you to the corresponding lesson(s) where this specific grammar topic is discussed. In addition, it offers the downloadable PDF so you can read up on the grammar rules.
The vocabulary of each lesson, you can easily (with 2 mouse clicks) import into the ‘Wordbank’ and then drill each word and phrase. As in all other parts of the course, this section provides quality spoken audio of each word with additional slow-down mode. This helps you to improve your pronunciation and phrase knowledge.
This is an extension of the Wordbank where you can do drills learning vocabulary and test your knowledge. Once you have a pretty good comprehension of new vocabulary, you come here and test it. It provides the audio plus written words/phrases in English and German, including example sentences to learn their use.
Downloadable Lesson Notes
Each lesson has a downloadable PDF that includes the content of the lesson, according vocabulary, example sentences for better understanding, cultural insights and grammar notes. The grammar notes explain the concept of grammatical rules in a brief, easy to understand fashion and give examples. Useful since it allows you to review everything offline.
This course is different to some of the ‘big’ vendors because it offers a new approach to learning German. Although it doesn’t look as ‘fancy’ as a Rosetta Stone or Transparent, it actually has all the bells and whistles to be effective. From a fun perspective, it is comparable to Rocket German but goes far beyond relative to its portability, flexibility and the ever growing amount of lesson materials. In addition, you have the option here to add 1-on-1 tutoring and professional language assessment at the Premium+ level.
Overall a fun, well-done language course, it has the most apps and learning options I’ve ever seen from any vendor (online, PDF, Kindle, iBooks, RSS etc.). This lets you truly learn anywhere at any time. Being updated on an ongoing basis will keep you interested and challenged. The various pricing options are really great for any budget.
Although this course has a lot to offer, the back-office appears a little overcrowded at first sight. In the beginning, you need some time to find your way around. However, the mean drawback is that all nouns come without articles. You have to learn first that masculine equals “der”, female equals “die” and neuter - “das”.