online-korean-courses

The 11 Best Online Korean Courses of 2021 for Any Budget, Skill Level or Learning Style

You may not be able to take off to Seoul to perfect (or start learning) your Korean language skills.

And you may wonder how long it will take for you to learn Korean if you’re not, well, in Korea.

Not to worry.

Learning Korean from scratch is totally doable even if you’re not on Korean soil.

In today’s high-tech era, recreating an authentic immersive experience using online tools is absolutely within reach—if you know where to look.

Depending on your language level and the type of experience that you’re looking for, online programs can make a real difference on your journey to learning the Korean language.

So, without further delay, here are the best online Korean courses to get you speaking like a native!

The 11 Best Online Korean Courses of 2021 for Any Budget, Skill Level or Learning Style

Who knew the internet had so much to offer for Korean language learners? Here are some fantastic online courses to help you get started, move you along through the middle stages or perfect your command of the Korean language.

Best for quick and easy learning: Udemy

online-korean-coursesPrice: Free to $129.99

Certificate available: Yes

Udemy offers several Korean courses that you can find by searching for “Korean,” and there’s one you should look at in particular. The Korean Foundations course (“Learn Korean! Start Speaking Korean Now!”), currently priced at $74.99, has one ambitious goal: to help you learn Korean without you actually studying it.

Ideal if you’re not one to study with a book and prefer (virtual) human interaction, this online course covers the basics of Korean communication to get you conversant without much effort and in no time. Entirely video-based, this clever series guides you through the Korean language step by step using mnemonic images and useful tips.

Comprised of 63 mini-lectures spread out over five hours of video content, this solid introduction to Korean for beginners explains the structure of a Korean sentence, goes over basic pronunciation, essential words and expressions as well as some cultural insights to build familiarity and comfort with the Korean language.

Don’t forget to check out Udemy’s other Korean learning options, too! There are some that are free while others can be purchased; you’re likely to find something that piques your interest!

Pros:

  • Learn at your own pace
  • Very beginner-friendly
  • Choose to learn what you want

Cons:

  • Courses tend to be brief
  • Limited scope of content

Best for immersive, on-the-go learning: FluentU

online-korean-coursesPrice: Free trial; various paid subscriptions available

Certificate available: No

Immersion is the key to learning Korean; by engaging with its many forms and modern-day usage, you gain a strong and up-to-date grasp of the language. FluentU uses a variety of authentic multimedia content to make real-world language easy (and fun!) to learn. Whenever you feel the urge to get your language gears going, you can do so with FluentU at the tap of a finger.

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

Here's a quick look at the variety of video choices available to you:

learn-korean-with-interactive-videos

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

learn-korean-with-video-clips

Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.

practice-korean-with-adaptive-quizzes

Don't stop there, though. You can use FluentU’s unique quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.

practice-korean-with-personalized-quizzes

FluentU even tracks your progress and remembers all the words you've learned, making for a 100% personalized experience.

Review sessions use video context to help embed the words in your memory. The best part? You can access the full FluentU video library with a free trial!

Start using FluentU Korean on the website or download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store.

Pros:

  • Learn and practice whenever, wherever
  • Utilizes a variety of real Korean media
  • Strong, mainstream content, making learned material very applicable

Cons:

  • No formal certificate currently available

Best for the traveler’s needs: Loecsen

online korean coursePrice: Free; €7.5 for the full version (about $9.20 USD)

Certificate available: No

Perfect if you’re preparing a trip or are just looking to cover the basics in no time, Loecsen offers a good introduction to the Korean language and helps you learn all the essential words and sentences right away.

What’s not to love about a free site that uses Korean multimedia tools to facilitate memorization? Using effective word association techniques, Loecsen helps you quickly learn new words (and how to pronounce them correctly!) by matching words with their Korean writing, drawings and audio.

There are 17 lesson themes ranging from everyday expressions, feelings, bar orders and directions for taxi drivers to things like medical terms and getting in trouble. The site conveniently lists and explains useful words and daily Korean expressions using English, Hangul and Romanization of Korean characters. The site also lets you quiz yourself, so make sure to follow up your initial session on the site by printing out the list of words, reviewing them in your free time and going back on the site to test yourself!

Pros:

  • Great for learning essential travel words and phrases
  • Synonyms provided for vocabulary

Cons:

  • Content is somewhat rote
  • Korean language isn’t deeply analyzed

Best for engaging, intensive learning: Sogang Online

online korean course

Price: Free

Certificate available: No

Sogang’s online portal is an amazing resource to help you prepare an intense full-time university course and acquire the basics very quickly—all while having fun.

Covering several levels of fluency, from absolute beginner to advanced-intermediate, it provides a vast database of very effective study plans usable on demand and with no registration needed. Entirely free to use and highly interactive, it’s based on the principles of Sogang University’s Korean language method, which places a heavy focus on conversational skills and speaking. While being very comprehensive, the method manages to stimulate all four skills (writing, reading, listening, speaking).

Very challenging and rich in content, lessons use a variety of content, including audio, animation, reading texts and dialogues. Make no mistake: You won’t be bored taking this course! You will, however, learn a lot, fast—each mini-chapter features simple practice exercises, transcripts, vocabulary lists and comprehension exercises to make sure you’ve fully assimilated the new content before moving on to the next lesson.

Considering how intensive these courses are, we particularly recommend that you keep notes of any new structures, vocabulary, grammar rules and idioms you’ll learn so you can review them regularly.

Update: Due to the suspension of the Shockwave and Adobe Flash player plug-ins, some of the lesson features can now be unavailable.

Pros:

  • Variety of content and learning tools
  • Provides lessons for different fluency levels

Cons:

  • Some lesson features are currently unavailable

Best value: Talk to Me in Korean

online korean coursePrice: Free basic plan, $12.99 monthly plan, $93 yearly plan

Certificate available: Yes

This site boasts a strong curriculum using a variety of multimedia content for purchase to facilitate your Korean learning experience.

Structured into nine levels of 30 lessons each, the site expertly covers all the essentials, from must-know words and idioms to simple grammar structures as well as essential phrases you’d hear (and use!) every day. Ranked by topic and using a step-by-step approach, each lesson consists of an mp3 file or downloadable podcasts with free supporting PDFs and practice exercises, if you want to purchase their textbooks.

Talk to Me in Korean also offers nine different video courses for purchase on Vimeo which you can buy one by one or purchase for $19.99 for each program if your goal is to achieve conversational fluency.

Pros:

  • Extra lessons beyond the standard curriculum
  • Supplemental study resources provided

Cons:

  • Basic plan lacks some of the more helpful content

Best for quick review of fundamentals: Seoul National Education Center

online korean course

Price: Free

Certificate available: No

Learn Korean using the expert method from one of Korea’s most prestigious universities, Seoul National University. That’ll guarantee you some serious bragging rights!

If you’re looking for a good way to develop a solid base in Korean or an online method to complement your language exchange sessions, this is what you need.

The Education Center offers a series of 20 free interactive online courses to acquire fundamental language skills. Here, you’ll learn useful Korean vocabulary, sentences and idioms and acquire conversational skills. Each lesson begins with a list of objectives and a list of key words and expressions.

You’ll then move on to the pièce de résistance (that’s French for “main thing”)—a rich dialogue using audio and animation, a follow-up with check-up questions, role play, matching grammar exercises and a culture point.

Make sure to download the audio files and transcripts to review and learn on the go!

Update: Due to the suspension of the Shockwave and Adobe Flash player plug-ins, some of the lesson features can now be unavailable.

Pros:

  • Fundamentals covered in a simple, linear fashion
  • Audio, transcripts and review exercises available

Cons:

  • Limited scope of material
  • Images could be more engaging
  • Uses Adobe Flash, which may soon be unsupported by major browsers

Best for learning essential vocabulary: King Sejong Institute

online korean coursePrice: Free

Certificate available: No

Funded by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the online language courses by King Sejong Institute offer a wide array of fun and interactive courses to learn the Korean language and culture.

A reflection of Korea’s growing place in the world and cultural diversity, the site caters to a diverse range of learners, from curious foreigners to business expats and even immigrant spouses.

To get started, simply create a free learner’s account by clicking 회원가입 (Sign up / Create an account) on the site header and following the instructions. Be sure to select 학습자 (learner) when asked what type of account you wish to create. You can change the site language to English if you’re not able to navigate it in Korean quite yet. Then select your language level and start browsing the site’s extensive course library.

On the site, users can learn Korean using videos, audio, digital and downloadable textbooks and even games and quizzes. Each lesson is organized by category, including life, traditions, K-pop, travel, webtoons and news, and all this is searchable by file type, everything from songs, fairy tale and textbook to special lecture, Korean classic and more.

In addition, the site provides information on the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK), if you’re interested in taking the test.

Oh! Did we mention that the site also provides a forum to exchange with other Korean learners and Korean natives, too? That could really come in handy when you need a little support.

Update: Due to the suspension of the Shockwave and Adobe Flash player plug-ins, some of the lesson features can now be unavailable.

Pros:

  • Wide (and fun!) variety of learning resources
  • Suitable for all learner levels
  • Multilingual subtitles available for videos

Cons:

  • Site navigation may be slightly difficult

Best for TOPIK-specific private lessons: TOPIK Guide

online korean course

Price: $19 per session

Certificate available: No

The TOPIK test is essential for non-natives who wish to do any professional or licensed business in Korea. It’s administered at different fluency levels and is comprised of reading, writing and listening comprehension sections. To make things less intimidating for future test-takers, TOPIK Guide offers one-on-one, session-based lessons catered to your needs.

After detailing your fluency level and what you want to learn or review, an instructor will formulate a custom curriculum just for you. Your lessons, taught either in English or simple Korean, will be held via Skype or Google Hangouts at a schedule based on your availability. There’s a lot of customization you get to have with TOPIK Guide’s tutoring system, so it’s definitely worth a try if you’re set on taking the test!

TOPIK Guide also provides a bunch of TOPIK-related study material, including past iterations of the test and quick guidelines for specific sections. They even have a self-study digital package available for $29 or $49 that’s a great supplemental study resource if you’re planning on taking the test in the near future.

Pros:

  • Private lessons at your convenience
  • Choose what to learn
  • Custom-tailored for accredited Korean proficiency

Cons:

  • Implies commitment to taking the TOPIK test

Best for weekly, thematic learning: Lexis Korea

online korean course

Price: Roughly $54 to $181 weekly

Certificate available: Yes

Lexis Korea, a school that has previously won awards for educational achievement, now offers a virtual version of its on-campus Korean language course.

Called the Untact courses, these virtual classes aim to help overseas learners rapidly progress in the language. The content is divided by themes, and you’re allowed to drop in anytime on a particular week when they’re covering a theme that interests you.

There are currently three iterations of Untact courses: Untact Korean 25, Untact Korean 15 and Untact Weekend Korean. Untact Korean 25 is a full-time course that expects a lot of work. Untact Korean 15 is a part-time but still intensive run-through of the language. Untact Weekend is a slower-paced, once-per-week version of the teachings for learners with a generally full schedule.

Lexis Korea only requires learners to, besides doing assigned work, enroll for at least four of the 12 weeks of learning. The school does show a lot of sympathy toward learners with differing time commitments, so if you’re schedule-conscious but eager to learn Korean, give these courses a try!

Pros:

  • Can join on any given week
  • Caters to different time commitments

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Unenforced schedule

Best for beginner-level education: Yonsei University’s First Step Korean on Coursera

online korean course

Price: Free or $49 with a certificate

Certificate available: Yes (paid)

Yonsei University, one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea, offers a beginner’s course on the Korean language held on the ever-growing Coursera platform. If you enjoy learning with an instructor and a simulation of a class, then this course could be for you!

The course consists of five lessons with four units, covering fundamental concepts in reading, writing, speaking and listening while offering additional exercises to supplement your learning. You’ll start with the very basics of the Korean alphabet before moving up and learning elementary Korean knowledge. All in all, it’s estimated that full course completion takes about 18 hours, give or take your own work and study pace.

Another plus with the Coursera course is that a forum is available where you can interact with fellow learners and moderators, so you can feel free to ask questions or get clarification and practice certain concepts. For a $49 fee, you can also get a certificate of completion that’d be a great addition to your resume.

This course is very popular and has garnered thousands of students and tons of good reviews, so don’t wait too long to enroll if you’re interested!

Pros:

  • Highly structured lesson plans
  • Forum for questions and interaction

Cons:

  • Currently tailored to beginners only
  • Somewhat brief and lacking in grammar teaching

Best for listening practice: Quick Korean

online korean course

Price: Free

Certificate available: Yes

The Cyber University of Korea offers an informative course teaching the basics of Korean. There aren’t any strings attached to Quick Korean—just sign up with your email and you can access the whole course pro bono.

The content is split into four levels of difficulty. Level one teaches you the basics of communication. The higher levels will build upon that foundation so that by level four, you should be able to freely speak on a multitude of topics. The Cyber University of Korea does offer lecture videos in Korean with optional subtitles, so you can get an extra learning edge by practicing without looking at the translations!

Because much of the content is based on communication and is provided in a lecture style, learners tend to get a lot of pronunciation and listening practice with Quick Korean. These are valuable aspects of language learning, and since it won’t cost a thing, you should give the course a try!

Pros:

  • Completely free, no strings attached
  • Multi-language support
  • Focuses on strengthening communication skills

Cons:

  • Supplemental self-study probably needed
  • Somewhat lacking in grammar and vocabulary content

 

We hope you have a lot of fun with these fantastic online resources.

This is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips—so be sure to make good use of it!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.

Experience Korean immersion online!

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