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Friday, August 12th
Online games are fun, but are they what you want for learning German? What happened to the good, old-fashioned, real, live person teaching languages? Lingoda is going back to the basics, and it's not a bad idea. They even work with your schedule. You choose a time of day, choose a class, and then join the class live; it's that simple.
Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?
If you don't know any German, you'll choose the beginner level. If you know some German, you may not want to start at the beginning. So, where to start? Lingoda uses the European method for class placement by assessing your level of fluency. The CEFR, or the Common European Reference for Languages is the international standard for determining language fluency, and Lingoda offers a 15-minute placement test to know where you stand. The levels are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. With Lingoda, you can reach up to B2. B2 doesn't sound like you'll get very fluent, but you'd be surprised. It's advanced intermediate, and at that level you should be able to communicate quite well in writing or speaking on a variety of topics. Using the CEFR to determine your level of fluency, whether starting the program or while learning German, is quite helpful. In comparison, other language programs may have you guess where you are: you kind of blindly choose beginner, intermediate, or advanced, but don't know the definition and standards of each level. Having the CEFR as reference is internationally known and offers the peace of mind that you're achieving a standardized level of German fluency.
Is this an immersion class?
The classes are taught mostly in German. Lingoda realizes that the more German you hear, the better. They also realize that sometimes students (and the teacher!) can get frustrated if they really don't understand something but still only get it explained in German. Lingoda breaks into English when needed.
The classes have a syllabus, but teacher uses common sense
Each class has a PDF of the objectives and materials. Whether online or in print, you can look at the PDF after class as a review, and keep it in your files for reference. The instructor determines if the class has trouble on one item and may spend more time on it, and for the items that the class catches on to quickly, less time may be spent on them in class. With the personalized instruction daily, class will seem to fly by, and at the end, you'll see you still covered all of the objectives of the day.
The teachers are native speakers of German
All of the German teachers are native speakers of German, no exceptions. They are highly qualified with years of teaching experience. They are also trained in the Lingoda method and standards, so your classes will flow smoothly from one to the next, from one teacher to the next.
Speak up as you feel ready - but be brave!
You can choose to interact with the teacher and other students, but there is no pressure to do so if you don't feel comfortable. Remember, that in order to speak German, you may want to, ahem, speak German. Try to get more comfortable speaking with the class so you can participate when given the opportunity.
When is the test?
There are no major tests. You are offered a quick, multiple-choice quiz that you can choose to take to see if you mastered the day's material, and that's optional. There are no grades.
Sprint or Super Sprint?
Lingoda offers two different tracks: Sprint and Super Sprint. With Sprint, you'll commit to taking 15 classes per month, and in Super Sprint, you'll commit to taking 30 classes per month. Committing to 30 classes per month takes dedication, but you'll reach the proverbial finish line to fluency much faster.
Brief free trial period
You are welcome to try Lingoda for free for 7 days, but you should know that after those 7 days, your Sprint or Super Sprint plan will start right away, and you will be billed as such.
The plans are expensive, but not per class
For three months, the Sprint plan is $650, and the Super Sprint is $1,100. These three months are more costly than subscriptions to other online German lessons. Yet, we're not comparing apples to apples, as Lingoda is live and has the motivation factor of meeting classmates and the teacher almost every day or every other day. Per class period, when you figure that Sprint is $14 per class with the allotted 45 classes per month, you'd be hard pressed to find any other live German instruction or tutoring that's more affordable! The key is dedication, to take all of the classes that month.
You snooze, you lose
In order to make it worth the money, you actually have to take the classes and hopefully, the max number of classes that month. If not, the cost per class session goes up, of course. In addition, the more classes you "skip," you may not make your fluency goal, and you will need to sign up for an additional three month's worth of classes. No pressure... And be sure you know how much time you can dedicate to your classes, so you choose wisely between Sprint and Super Sprint.
Need to take a class at odd hours of the day? No problem!
Classes are offered 24/7, so no matter your time zone, work schedule, or sleep schedule, there are classes available. Once you create an account, you can flip through the availability of classes offered at your level. The calendar can be adjusted no matter the time zone you are in, and you can change that as you travel.
Classes can book up quickly
Once you know your schedule, sign up for the next class you need. Sometimes classes get booked up, as there are only 3-5 students in each class, so signing up as soon as possible ensures your entrance into the class.
Cancelling the subscription can be tricky
You have 14 days from signing up for the Sprint program to cancel. The rest of the cancellation policy is complicated. They direct you to their lengthy terms and conditions section, where finding how to cancel is vague, and still tricky.
Only live classes
If you want to take a break from the live classes and instead choose online classes where you match vocabulary words to images, this option is not available. Lingoda is live classes only, via Zoom. That doesn't offer as much variety and flexibility as some learners might prefer: there's no handy on-the-go app that lets you sneak in some studying while you commute, no games to help you learn while you compete against other language learners. You get the idea.
We like Lingoda - if you're dedicated
Sometimes it's just nice to learn something from a real person in a live setting, with a classroom, albeit virtual, of only 3-5 students. It's quite motivating to know that if you snooze and skip class, you lose out. If you have fluency goals you've wanted to meet, snoozing won't get you to the finish line. If you are motivated to attend each class you've signed up for, enjoy the Sprint - or Super Sprint - to fluency. We like that classes are available 24/7 to meet your schedule and time zone. If you're not dedicated to taking the classes as often as your Sprint or Super Sprint allows, you might choose another German program that offers online classes with matching images with German phrases, or choose one that offers classes via recorded video, so you can attend when you want without ditching a live class and feeling like you're losing out on the money for doing so. The key to Lingoda is dedication.
Did you know that German is the second-most spoken language in Europe? Or that around 95 million people worldwide speak German as their primary language and that it is an official language in six countries? Perhaps you have German roots in your family and want to get in touch with your heritage by learning German?
If you study sciences, you may know that German is the most commonly used scientific language. Learning German can provide you with an insight into the German people's way of life and also broaden your horizons. Whatever your personal reason for wanting to learn German, the next step is to find your best way to study the language.
So much of our life now is digital, so it's natural to consider learning German online. There are many programs to learn languages: live, one-to-one tutoring; a real person teaching you through recorded video lessons; video-game-like lessons and practice; recording your voice and getting computer-generated specific feedback; getting feedback on written work by real people; or playing games and letting the time fly by while earning prizes and getting on a leaderboard. With so many different methods of learning and practice, we can help you narrow down what is best for you and your learning style.
The first thing to consider is how much German you may know. Have you had German classes in high school and want to brush up and continue to proficiency? Or is Gesundheit! when someone sneezes the extent of your German? If you are a beginner, choosing an online program will be easier, as most focus at least on the beginning German student. If you already know some German, some programs offer a placement test and others have you look at their curriculum and you select your own placement. If you are pretty advanced or your goal is to get there, only a few online German programs can help you get to advanced proficiency, while others fall short past the beginning German level.
How would you like to learn German? Would you like live one-on-one lessons with a tutor or in a small-class setting? Would you like to learn from a person, but via video so you can pause or review? Would you like to learn interactively with a computer program where you match phrases you heard with images, then record your voice speaking, and then have game-like practice exercises with awards and a leaderboard with a little healthy competition? It's all out there, and you get to decide which is for you!
Once you know your current level of German and how you might want to learn it, there are a few more aspects to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed, evaluated, rated, and recommended the best choices for learning German online or via an app. We're sure that with the information we have for you, you'll be able to make your best decision for learning German and becoming more proficient and fluent in this common and popular language!
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