Here’s something to make you feel old.
Did you know that online learning has been around for over 20 years already?
These days, you’re just not getting a full education unless you’re on the internet.
That definitely includes your German learning.
Online German practice is one of the most valuable ways to improve your language skills—and there are tons of great resources to help you do it.
To make the most of your time, we’ve gathered a list of fantastic, fun and free websites and apps for you to practice German online.
We’ll even give you some DIY ideas that you can tailor to your specific learning goals and level.
So go ahead—get with the times and start practicing German online!
Why Go Online to Practice German?
As long as you can avoid distractions, there are many reasons to practice German online. Beyond simply requiring an internet connection, each of the resources we’ve listed in this article are free. There are many paid sites out there, too—but you don’t need to reach for your wallet when you want some German practice.
Similarly, there are a wide variety of German language topics you can choose from when you practice online. That means you can easily reinforce concepts you’re already familiar with and focus further on those that are still a bit hazy. Along the way, you may even find that learning concepts in different ways with different online exercises can help you understand or remember them better. In particular, lots of these online practice resources include images—visual stimulation can often help the brain remember terms or grammatical concepts via association.
Sometimes learning in a classroom can be difficult, even for the most focused students. The ability to practice German online while at home, on the bus, in the car or even while traveling can remove the stresses of an educational environment. When you relax in a familiar environment, learning can prosper.
The majority of the resources we’ll recommend in this article are accessible from a phone or tablet to make things even more flexible for you.
How to Make the Most of Your Online German Practice
As you get ready to practice your German with some online resources, keep the following in mind:
- Bookmark a German dictionary for reference. Use it every so often but don’t let it get in the way of your German practice.
- Focus on the practice at hand. Your time spent working on your German shouldn’t be during the commercials between your favorite TV shows. Set aside a block of time specifically for your German language practice.
- Supplement your offline lessons for more reinforcement of new concepts. If you’ve gone over a specific idea in your offline studying, add that component to your online studying routine. Again, you may be able to approach the concept from a new angle that’ll help you understand it better.
- Immerse yourself in the German language for best results. Fluency comes—and stays—only with consistent and dedicated practice. The more you make German a daily part of life, the better you’ll be at manipulating the language.
Though it’s all well and good to download a few apps and bookmark a few websites, keeping yourself accountable is key to achieving any goal in life. Let’s take a closer look at how you can stay on track.
How to Keep Yourself Accountable when Studying Alone
In addition to some of the behaviors we listed above, there are a few more things you can do to make sure you stay on track as you self-study German online.
- Create a study schedule. Even if your schedule has only 10 minutes of practice a day, those 10 minutes will add up to an hour’s worth of studying in less than a week. It’s all about starting small and snowballing into big accomplishments.
- Set and track daily, weekly and/or monthly goals. Mark your progress after each session and reward yourself for milestones and accomplishments.
For example, create posters with your progress that you can reference whenever you lack motivation. After each study session, give yourself a sticker. As you continue, reward yourself in other ways to keep your motivation high.
- Ask friends and family to keep you accountable. If someone you trust is keeping track of your studies, you’re a lot less likely to procrastinate!
The One-stop Guide to Powerful Online German Practice
The Best Online Resources to Practice German
Incorporate these resources into your study routine to support your learning—and bring some fun into the mix, too.
The exercises on this site focus mainly on grammar topics.
For example, you’ll practice using common German verbs such as sein (to be) in different conjugations, or choose the right word for a sentence based on case. There’s also some vocabulary practice, like choosing the opposite of a given word.
The best way to practice German is to immerse yourself in the authentic language.
But how can you do that from home, online?
FluentU is the answer.
FluentU provides real-world German videos, like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring speeches and more, that’ve been transformed into personalized language learning experiences.
Every video comes with interactive subtitles—click any word you don’t recognize for an instant definition, grammar info and useful examples. You’ll learn and practice new vocabulary naturally, in context. This is much more effective and memorable than drilling a word list for the 1,000th time.
When you’re done watching a video, there are lots of fun German exercises built right in. You’ll practice new words with multimedia flashcards and quizzes.
The videos are organized by genre and level, so you can easily find the ones that work best for you. But FluentU also keeps track of your practice and suggests new videos to keep you progressing towards fluency.
You can test it out with a free FluentU trial for iOS, Android or your desktop computer. After your trial, there’s a free version you can use or you can upgrade to continue with the full video library and all the learning features.
To help yourself simply spit out German words—without having to worry right away about that beastly grammar monster—respond in your best German to one of these writing prompts, which were developed by an experienced German language educator.
You’ll practice writing about everything from yourself and your city to intolerance and multiculturalism.
Writing practice in German, much like speaking practice, is about working on getting it out first and then refining later. Writing prompts allow you to put pen to paper—or rather, finger to keyboard—before you focus on revisions.
This app is free from the Google Play Store and focuses on your vocabulary skills. With WordBit, you can study a set of vocabulary words, practice exercises using these words and then complete quizzes to test your knowledge.
WordBit includes pictures on beginner levels and will even automatically pronounce the word for you. Press the word for its pronunciation each time you need it as you practice.
You can mark the word as “learned” once you’ve got it down pat or even mark it “uncertain” to keep it in the queue.
Any word that you don’t master is automatically entered into your queue for longer study.
These downloadable German worksheets are great for online and offline German practice. You can try them at your computer or download and print them for long trips where cellphone service just isn’t worth searching for.
These worksheets are geared towards children and/or beginners but are also a great resource if you’re looking to practice your vocabulary across a variety of subjects.
If you want to focus just on pronunciation and speaking practice, this is the (free) app for you. With over 30 conversations in multiple chapters dedicated to various subjects, you’ll learn how to respond and communicate in German.
The app allows you to pick between translating from German to English and vice versa. Once you begin a chapter, simply follow along with the conversation, reading the bubbles that pop up like a text message as each speaker talks. Afterwards, you’ll practice with a short test.
If you’re really looking to immerse yourself in the language and want a full experience, check out what Goethe Institut has to offer. Nearly 500,000 people have already signed up for this free service.
Take advantage of the online forums, chat rooms, German lessons, activities and more. There are plenty of multimedia resources to capitalize on in your quest to gain fluency in German.
Download this app for, you guessed it, unlimited practice of the German language. Once you open this app, you’ll immediately be faced with a long German passage full of blanks. Fill in these blanks with the appropriate word from the multiple choices listed at the bottom of the screen.
Touch the incorrect answer and it’ll turn red, but choose the correct one and it’ll take the place of the blank.
You can pick from a variety of texts and even import some of your own as well. Practice topics include articles, adjectives, numbers and more. For truly “unlimited” practice you’ll have to eventually update to the full version, but it costs less than a cup of coffee.
Many people consider games to be a waste of time, but there’s quite a lot you can learn from these online German practice games. You can either randomly pick a game to play or search from over 100 free games per topic.
Meant for beginners, these games make learning German more fun and rewarding.
Pair listening and reading practice with this free app. You’ll hear short conversations that each feature a memorable picture, along with both audio and text. The German vocabulary is listed below the conversation, along with English translations.
Episodes are distinguished by topic.
If you’re big into podcasts, these short episodes are for you. Worthwhile for students at any level, these podcasts include anywhere from five to 10 minutes of German speech.
The native speakers enunciate well and speak in a manner that allows beginners the chance to hear and comprehend what’s being said without feeling rushed. Each podcast episode centers on a specific topic. Tuning in to these podcasts can be a great way to train your ear and get your mind focused on speaking German clearly and accurately.
This app will hone your spoken German by allowing you to hear native speakers pronounce authentic phrases. Listen to the native speaker first and then record your own rendition and compare.
The app also includes phrases with translations and quizzes to test your comprehension.
DIY Ideas for Online German Practice
The internet is your oyster! Check out these unique ways you can tailor online German practice to your own, personal learning goals.
We’ve split these practice opportunities across three major language skills: reading, speaking and listening. Once you’ve practiced to a certain point, you should be able to start combining these methods into a cohesive study session that supports your fluency, rather than just the fundamentals.
Online German Reading Practice
In order to practice reading in German, you’ve got to do… just that. A lot. You may not be turning physical pages in a book but your finger should get tired from swiping to the next screen.
Remember, books don’t have to be your only reading material. German reading practice is all about variety as well.
Projekt Gutenberg from Spiegel Online is a virtual library full of free books in German. Tackle these works by incorporating them into your weekly schedule. In fact, you can read a German fable every day since most of them are short, and a few pages of a novel every other day.
Reading the news in German is also an excellent way to get daily, relevant German practice. German news articles will help you learn more about the language and the cultural topics in the social sphere, and may even give you a new perspective on issues you’ve only likely seen from a single point of view.
Try the Deutsche Welle (DW) website to get started. Like most newspapers—online and offline—DW reports on a variety of topics, from political to cultural and everything in-between.
Most of the main articles featured on the site are available in English as well, so you can reference them to check your understanding.
For more light-hearted online reading practice, German comics offer amusing relief. Comics combine the visual factor with a cultural element in many cases. You can piece together what’s happening and pick up on some colloquial language at the same time.
You can purchase comic books online for relatively cheap or bookmark a few artists who update their comics consistently on their website, such as Sarah Burrini.
Online German Speaking Practice
An easy way to practice German face-to-face with people in another country or state is via Skype. Pen pals for the modern age, Skype partners can provide you ample opportunities to not only practice your German speaking in a real-world setting, but also get your burning German questions answered.
If you’re speaking with another German learner, you can discuss a topic in German together or stick to English and work through a particularly difficult concept. Who knows, you may even be struggling with the same problem.
Another idea is to hire an online German tutor. These individuals should be experts in their own right. Again, you can speak to them in German to practice on-demand or you can spend some extra time on a concept you just can’t seem to wrap your mind around.
Use your Skype friends as outlets for fluid German speaking and the time spent with your tutor as a space to perfect the words that come to mind. Similar to working with your native language, there’s a time to speak colloquially and a time to adopt a formal tone.
Craving casual conversation practice with a native German speaker? Language exchange apps such as HelloTalk connect you with German native speakers who are learning your native language. Downloadable to both iPhone and Android smartphones, HelloTalk brings together people who want to learn languages directly from the source.
Shy beginners may enjoy the text chat option while more confident, seasoned speakers will find voice and video recordings most useful. The best thing, though, is that you know everyone you’re talking to is dedicated to learning and practicing, just like you.
Just remember that alongside your online German speaking practice, you shouldn’t overlook opportunities to practice your German with other speakers face-to-face.
Online German Listening Practice
Languages are meant to be heard. Hearing German words spoken aloud will guide you towards perfecting your own pronunciation and put you on the path towards greater fluency. We recommend you listen to German as often as you can, while doing even the most mundane tasks. This will not only make chores and long trips go by quickly, but will also subconsciously allow you to continue working with the language even when you’re not focused on it directly.
Playing German podcasts throughout the day is a great way to immerse yourself in German for nonstop listening practice.
- The German podcast short stories app is perfect for short bursts. Read along as you listen to the text for maximum benefit. At the end of each podcast is a list of vocabulary, provided first in German and second in English.
You can listen to the podcasts within the app or download them for later, offline use.
- For those of you who just want to listen, check out Goethe Institut’s Radio D. Structured as a standalone audio language course, Radio D has over 50 episodes to learn the basics of German even as you’re introduced to several cultural aspects as well.
Each episode includes a brief summary, along with important vocabulary you’ll want to reference throughout for better understanding. It’s true!
- Listening to German doesn’t have to mean you’re always focused on learning. Really! In fact, you can brush up on your colloquial German phrases and vocabulary by searching for German lyric videos on YouTube. There are a lot of ways you can incorporate music into your learning routine.
As with all the ways we listed above, listening is about training your ear, even when your mind isn’t exactly in tune.
Lifelong learning begins with trial and error. We hope you’ve found the resources above useful in to practice German online. Because the more you can do to stimulate your learning senses, the sooner you’ll be able to achieve fluency.
Rebecca Henderson holds a degree in German and Creative Writing. She is the editor behind The Kreativ Space and hopes to shift your world perspective through her words, because looking out the same window every day hardly makes for an interesting life.
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