5 MOOCs for Learning Korean on Your Own Terms

It’s challenging.

Sometimes it can seem downright impossible.

No, we’re not talking about forcing yourself to get up after a nice long afternoon nap.

We’re not even talking about learning Korean.

We’re talking about finding a good Korean course.

That’s because finding an effective Korean language course sure can be tricky.

A lot of schools don’t even offer Korean as an option, and when all you want to do is improve your language skills, that can get more frustrating than the latest plot twist in your favorite Korean drama.

But just because you might not be able to find an in-person Korean course doesn’t mean you can’t find a great online Korean course to take in the comfort of your own home.

By learning Korean online, you can practice major skills like reading, writing, listening and even speaking.

And one particularly appealing option for all your Korean language course needs is Korean language learning MOOCs. MOOCs are affordable online courses that countless students can take simultaneously, and boy, do they have a lot to offer!

If you want to learn Korean, you may want to curl up, get comfortable and try one of these five top-notch MOOCs.

What Are MOOCs, and How Can They Benefit Korean Learners?

MOOC stands for “massive open online course.” The basic idea is that the materials can be accessed simultaneously by an unlimited number of students. Courses often include learning materials like video lectures, readings and activities, providing you with the same sorts of structured material and information you’d get in a conventional classroom setting or a traditional college course.

For language learners, MOOCs offer a number of great benefits.

One of the best features of MOOCs is that they’re usually affordable. Since they’re designed to be accessed simultaneously by countless people, MOOC providers can usually offer lower prices than more conventional courses. Why spend thousands to take an entry-level course when you could spend under a hundred dollars or, in some cases, nothing at all?

Plus, MOOCs are usually flexible. Since the material is already produced, you can often start a course whenever you want and move at your own pace. Even courses with set start dates often have multiple start dates per year, so you won’t be stuck waiting months on end to finally start learning.

MOOCs are also usually very convenient. You can generally access them from your favorite device at any time of day, so it’s easy to jam a little study time into even the busiest schedule.

Finally, MOOCs can be a useful supplement to learning Korean with FluentU and authentic materials.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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MOOCs can help self-learners additionally target skills and subjects they encounter at the start of their learning journey or along the way as needed.

5 Flexible MOOCs for Learning Korean ASAP

First Step Korean

Want to learn Korean from a top Korean university? First Step Korean might be just the MOOC you’re looking for.

This class is offered through Coursera, a great site for finding MOOCs on language learning or just about any other subject. Coursera partners with top universities to offer courses that are open to everyone.

First Step Korean was created by Yonsei University, a Seoul-based university that’s one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in the country. It’s an elementary-level course that uses videos, readings and graded quizzes to teach you the basics of reading, writing, listening and speaking. You’ll learn the alphabet, greetings, basic expressions, grammar and even some cultural information.

Learn to Speak Korean 1

Already familiar with Hangul, the Korean alphabet? Then Learn to Speak Korean 1 might be right up your alley.

Like First Step Korean, Learn to Speak Korean 1 is offered through Coursera by Yonsei University. However, this course is a bit more advanced. The aim of this course is to give you the skills you need for day-to-day interactions in Korea. For instance, you’ll learn how to describe people, places, food and more. Plus, you’ll learn the skills you need to introduce yourself, order food and even shop.

The course uses an array of resources and activities, like videos, vocabulary lists, a workbook, quizzes and more.

Introduction to Korean

If you want a good primer in Korean language and culture, check out this MOOC.

Introduction to Korean is offered through FutureLearn by Hanyang University, a Seoul-based research university. It’s designed to prepare complete beginners to hold a conversation by teaching them vocabulary, grammar and spelling. But that’s not all! Introduction to Korean also aims to introduce learners to Korean culture.

The course includes videos, readings, quizzes and more. You can access these materials for free for eight weeks or pay for unlimited access.

Additionally, if you like the course, it’s the first step in a two-course sequence. You can follow up with Introduction to Korean 2 to continue your learning.

Core Korean 1: Build up Korean Foundations through Practice

Core Korean 1 is offered by Udemy, which has a slightly different focus than other MOOC providers. Rather than offering courses from universities, Udemy enables individuals to launch their own courses. While there’s often a charge for these courses, it tends to be much lower than most conventional courses.

This makes Udemy a great source for targeting individual language needs, so feel free to check out Udemy for Korean courses aside from the ones listed in this post. Just pay attention to instructor qualifications to ensure that the person who designed a course has the credentials that are important to you for the subject you want to learn.

Core Korean 1 is by a language instructor and an instruction designer who are native Korean speakers, so while the course may lack university affiliation, the creators do have strong qualifications.

The course aims to teach learners basic Korean skills, like sentence construction, basic words, verb tenses and grammar.

In total, there are 56 lessons with lectures, practice activities and quizzes. The course offers about 11 hours of video content alone, so there’s plenty of learning material.

Learn Korean! Start Speaking Korean Now!

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a teacher who knows how hard it is to learn the language you’re studying. That’s where Learn Korean! Start Speaking Korean Now! comes in.

Start Speaking Korean Now! is another Udemy course. While the curriculum was designed by a Korean teacher, the course itself is delivered by someone who learned Korean through self-directed learning. That means he has probably faced the same challenges you’ll encounter and may be able to navigate you through the most challenging issues.

This course aims to teach beginning students Korean through speaking rather than conventional studying. Along the way, the course teaches sentence structure, vocabulary and basic conversational skills. With over five hours of video, you’ll have plenty of viewing (and learning) ahead of you!

Bonus: K-MOOC

If you’re an advanced student and just can’t find a MOOC that’s challenging enough to flex your skills, you might want to check out K-MOOC.

K-MOOC is a database of MOOCs offered predominantly in Korean. While these courses will likely be too challenging for all but the most advanced Korean learners, taking a MOOC that’s fully in Korean is a valuable way to push your skills to fluency while learning new information.

K-MOOC offers courses for nearly any field you might be interested in. For instance, you might study art, humanities, education, engineering and/or an array of other topics. Perhaps most interestingly for Korean students, there are also classes on Korean culture and history, which can give you valuable insight into Korea as you continue to learn the language.


So if you’re looking to upgrade your Korean language skills, check out one of these MOOCs!

And One More Thing...

If you enjoyed this post, you're already halfway to having the time of your life learning Korean with FluentU!

FluentU makes it possible to learn with K-pop videos, funny commercials, entertaining web series and more. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:


FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It's already hand-picked the best videos for you (which are organized by level and topic), so all you have to do is simply choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started.

Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.


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You can use FluentU’s unique Quiz Mode to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.


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