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Wednesday, May 18th
Hebrew Pod 101 is one of 40 languages presented by Innovative Language Learning since 2005. Their method of teaching Hebrew lessons includes exposure to native speakers with different voices and speaking styles, new content released weekly that incorporates current events and pop culture, all of which is reviewed by certified Hebrew instructors.
Still needs to be more transparent
In previous evaluations of Hebrew Pod 101, one of our criticisms was the high-pressure sales tactics - especially having to sign up for a "free" account before being given much information about the program, like how it works or what it costs. That hasn't changed. In fact, their homepage is even more vague now: other than being told that it uses audio and video lessons, gives you study tools, and provides you with a Premium Plus subscription option for working with a teacher one-on-one, you'll have zero idea what you're getting (or how much you'll pay for it) until you sign up with an email address. Why all the secrecy, Hebrew Pod 101?
Have to dig to access previews
Doing some digging, we found a way to see behind the curtain (so to speak). On Hebrew Pod's Facebook page, there were links to some free downloadable flashcards and infographics - and, lo and behold, those links took us to an alternate homepage for Hebrew Pod 101! Again, we don't love that we had to use such a roundabout way to sleuth out information that most Hebrew lesson platforms tell you upfront.
Four subscription options
You can expect four different subscription levels with Hebrew Pod 101:
7-day free trial, 60-day refund policy
Hebrew Pod 101 gives you a 7-day free trial to their Premium level, and a 60-day money-back guarantee when you become a paid subscriber. We recommend you take advantage of both, to really put this platform to the test and see if it connects well with how you want to study Hebrew.
No games or leaderboards here
This is especially important if you're the type of person who needs your language learning to be "gamified" or to provide you with regular, specific feedback on how you're progressing. Why? Hebrew Pod 101 is decidedly not that kind of learning system. While you'll see a progress bar showing you how many lessons you've completed within a series, that's about it other than the quizzes included with the Premium and Plus packages.
Move freely through topics and fluency levels
On the other hand, Hebrew Pod 101 makes it really easy to move around through topics - and language levels - as you like. Maybe you've already got a decent level of fluency in travel vocabulary but you need to pick up more slang or even social media terminology. With these Hebrew Lessons, you can move around from Absolute Beginner to Advanced and back down to Intermediate on demand. The same goes for focusing on the type of lessons you want: you can use the sort feature on the left side of the page to show you just audio or video content, or only in the category you need on a given day (like conversation, grammar or culture).
More content for beginners than intermediate/advanced students
Be aware that the amount of content drops off sharply from Beginner to Intermediate. If you've already got a good grasp of basic Hebrew, you might not want to buy a 24-month subscription to Hebrew Pod 101 because you could run out of new material to learn from.
Best access to contemporary speech and current events
Despite our frustrations with Hebrew Pod 101's homepage, we've still given these Hebrew lessons a bump in our ratings since our last evaluation. We can't help but be impressed with the consistent drops of fresh content with this platform. Language isn't static: it changes all the time as culture shifts and people interact in new ways, so why shouldn't your Hebrew lessons? We found a lot of comments from people who love Hebrew Pod 101 for exactly that reason: it gives them consistent exposure to different accents, new vocabulary, and the ability to speak in a way that's contemporary instead of mimicking some audio file that was recorded ten years ago. We wish that this program had the ability to recognize the learner's speech and compare it against those audio samples - because some of Hebrew Pod 101's rivals do have that - but that's not a dealbreaker as far as we're concerned.
Good choice for exposure to authentic, modern Hebrew
Hebrew Pod 101 gets high marks for offering students the ability to hear and learn authentic language: Hebrew the way it's being spoken right now by native speakers. We really appreciate the 7-day free trial and the ability to upgrade to one-on-one tutoring if desired. There are still a few features missing here that you'll get with some of Hebrew Pod 101's competitors, but overall this has become a solid choice for Hebrew lessons.
Unless you're moving to Israel and benefitting from the hours-long sessions at an ulpan, you'll need to find Hebrew lessons that are a good fit: for your time, your ideal learning mode, and your budget! It's not easy to get in-person lessons for all ages, especially if you don't live in an area with a university or a significant Hebrew-speaking population.
Fortunately, there are plenty of online options to choose from. Do you learn best by listening? Some Hebrew lessons place strong emphasis on acquiring the language that way: work through audio files of syllables, words, phrases and sentences and repeat after the speaker. Not your style? No problem! Choose a Hebrew language platform that makes everything into a game, from grammar lessons to writing practice and even speech recognition software that compares your recorded language to that of a native speaker.
Better yet, almost all online Hebrew lessons take great care to include cultural and historical information as you study. Hebrew has such a rich history and symbolism; you can't fully understand the language without knowing where it has come from and how it's used in context today.
As you look through the various possibilities for Hebrew lessons, it's easy to feel overwhelmed trying to figure out which one to use. Don't worry! Here are some criteria you can consider as you narrow down your choices:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for taking Hebrew lessons today. We're confident that this information will help you improve your fluency in reading, writing, and especially speaking Hebrew!
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