How many hours do you spend online each day?
Really, that many?!
Okay, okay—it’s not just you. Most of us spend big chunks of our day online, whether it’s surfing social media sites or binging on funny videos. But did you know you can transform your online time into essential German learning practice?
That’s because there are tons of German e-learning resources just a few clicks away.
With everything from classroom-like courses to flexible lessons to Skype tutors, e-learning is a fantastic way to study a language on your terms.
I’m not saying you have to abandon Facebook and Twitter—those sites can be great for language learning too, in their own way. But for some more formal, active language study straight from your computer, e-learning is the way to go.
Ready to dive into the world of e-learning German?
What Are the Benefits of German E-learning Resources?
The internet has come a long way over the past couple of decades. It’s a lot more interactive than it used to be, and users can easily upload their own content via blogging platforms, YouTube and much more.
What’s that mean for language learners? Well, with all the different media that’s now online, you have easy access to resources for improving a wide range of skills including listening, speaking, reading and writing. All the big guns!
Not all of these great resources are from professional teachers and tutors. In fact, quite a few language-learning resources have been created and uploaded by people who don’t expect to profit from them. As a result, you’ll easily find great German resources that are absolutely free of charge.
So, German e-learning resources are numerous and typically quite affordable. But that isn’t where all the benefits end! A great advantage for language learners is that lots of online courses, webinars and other e-learning resources come with downloadable materials—some even have accompanying apps—so you’ll be able to take your German studies to go.
Wondering what the best resources are for e-learning German? Here are some of my favorites.
7 E-asy Ways to E-learn German
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 is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.
By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:
Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.
Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.
For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.
Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.
FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or practice anytime, anywhere on the mobile app for iOS and Android.
- 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.
- MosaLingua is a learning app that starts with the more useful German words and phrases to maximize your study time. You can also use the web app to explore authentic German content with a translation tool and create your own flashcards from words and phrases you come across in context.
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.
As you can see, e-learning German is as e-asy as A, B, ermm… E?
Thanks to the internet, there are tons of resources that we can use to add some juice to our language studies. And who knows where all this tech will take us and our language skills? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out!
Laura Harker is a freelance writer based in North Yorkshire, U.K.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.