Runners don’t start jogging on the last lap.
Opera singers don’t hum the show’s finale.
There’s no reason to check out just because you’re getting to the end!
In fact, it’s all the more reason to give your best effort.
As an advanced German learner, it may seem like you’re done actively learning the language.
It’s true that advanced learning can seem tedious because you don’t make the rapid gains that you used to at the beginning stages. But that doesn’t mean you have nowhere left to go.
To truly achieve fluency, you’ll need some dedicated, effective advanced German lessons to fine-tune your grammar, bulk up your vocabulary and get you comfortable with real, spontaneous German conversations.
Here’s a list of our five favorite online German lesson resources for advanced learners of German. Some are free, some are paid but affordable—and all are high-quality and well-equipped to take you all the way to fluency.
Cross the Fluency Finish Line (From Home): 5 Online Advanced German Lesson Resources
Collegium Palatinum Heidelberg
Heidelberg is known as a perfect German university town.
Small wonder that some excellent online courses might come out of the same place.
Along with some general beginner and intermediate language lessons, the Collegium Palatinum offers an intermediate course for academic studies and an advanced course for research.
The German for studies course is 155 Euros (about 180 USD) for 90 lessons. It’s intended for those planning to become students of technical subjects at a German university. As you’d expect, there’s a strong focus on the language of scientific German and the kind of academic writing that you’d have to produce at a university.
The advanced research course has 100 lessons for the same price. When you sign up, you have your choice of eight modules including law, economics, biology, psycholinguistics and more.
Both of these courses give you the further option of studying by yourself or with a tutor for an extra fee. The research course also offers the possibility of earning credits that can then be accepted at some other German universities.
Deutsch Akademie German Grammar Trainer
These Deutsch Akademie lessons are best for advanced learners who still need to keep their grammar sharp.
Their grammar trainer is deceptively simple. Just choose which topics (or which overall level) you want to study and how many questions you’d like. Then keep going with different topics. It doesn’t repeat.
Because of a truly Herculean effort on the part of the producers, lessons from more than 20 well-known German textbooks have been condensed into this online format to provide a question bank.
You can also choose a lesson with random questions from across all topics if you want a comprehensive review.
If you happen to be enrolled in a German course, you can even customize the quiz to your textbook. When the midterm comes up, you’ll be unstoppable.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a mobile app and complete audio course, all entirely kostenlos (free).
FluentU is the perfect option for advanced learners who are working towards natural, native-sounding German.
Since FluentU videos let you absorb real native speech rather than scripted conversations, you’ll apply your advanced German to actual situations and make that final push towards fluency. Plus, you’ll be enjoying tons of fun and compelling videos that give you plenty to chat about with German speakers.
Here’s how it works.
The videos are organized by genre and learning level, so it’s easy to find advanced ones that interest you. Every video comes with interactive captions—click any word you don’t recognize for an instant definition, native pronunciation and visual learning aid. FluentU will also show you other videos that have the word so you can hear how it’s used in different contexts.
Next, FluentU’s Learn Mode provides flashcards and exercises to make sure you remember what you just learned. You can easily skip the words you already know and focus on the ones you don’t. Everyone has a totally personalized learning experience, even watching the same videos. There are also vocabulary lists and full transcripts for further review.
There’s also a mobile app for iOS and Android, so you can train your brain while you’re out and about. Get closer to the fluency finish line by signing up for your free trial of FluentU today!
MIT, like Heidelberg, is a name that needs virtually no introduction in academics.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the group behind the MIT OpenCourseWare project has been ahead of the curve when it comes to distance learning. You can find authentic lecture notes, slides, syllabi and homework from some of the most popular MIT courses spanning nearly the last two decades.
And language is no exception.
That link above takes you directly to the list of German courses offered. You’ll get access to all the course materials and lessons that were taught in real-life MIT German language courses.
How can you use material like this?
The simplest way is to download the materials and follow along, week-by-week, with the real syllabus. You can choose which, if any, of the homework to complete—the readings and videos alone should keep you busy.
And if you happen to have access to interested native speakers, a tutor or study partners, you can take a look at the discussion questions and try recreating an MIT seminar wherever you happen to be.
As of 2018, there are two semester-long courses specifically for advanced German students, available totally for free online: one on formal business communication and one on culture and literature.
The business communication course is far more than a phrasebook. Try watching the linked YouTube interviews on the use of English in German workplaces, or have a look at the supplemental PDFs that explain how to describe charts and graphs.
The literature course, enticingly called “Madness, Murder, Mysteries,” will fine-tune your comprehension skills with high-level readings in fiction, poetry, drama, philosophy and more. If you follow the assignments you’ll develop sophisticated written German.
Deutsche Welle is one of the most comprehensive German-language resources online. It’s the international arm of Germany’s public broadcasting network, and it’s certainly not limited to German material.
As part of their international outreach, they’ve created and curated a series of German lessons for all levels.
When it comes to the advanced levels, DW offers multimedia lessons with transcripts as well as news articles. This makes a lot of sense because at the upper-intermediate and advanced levels, you’re stretching the limits of what a structured, spoon-fed course can give you.
Check out the free business German course Marktplatz (marketplace) or the TV show “Jojo sucht das Glück” (“Jojo’s Looking for Happiness”). Both come with downloadable transcripts and are perfect for advanced learners seeking to expand their horizons.
As you approach fluency, tune in to the advanced DW audio programs that explain German dialects, literature, news and everyday language. Every lesson comes with a quick multiple-choice comprehension test afterward—and of course, the transcripts and MP3s are available as well.
And lastly, the “Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten” (“Slowly Spoken News”) program is wonderful for learners breaking through to a new stage of listening comprehension. You can find archived recordings going back years and years!
It’s true that once you’re a high-intermediate learner you can sort of set the language on the back burner for a while. Once it becomes easy for you to read and listen to native content, there may not be a whole lot to motivate you to really hit the books again.
That’s the beauty of the lessons above.
When you have advanced German lessons that are actually interesting, but also have the support you need to keep progressing, it’s much easier to go from “advanced” to “fluent.”
So don’t rest on your laurels.
Keep some structured German coursework in your life and you’ll be an expert user of German before you know it.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.