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Coursera Review

Wednesday, May 29th

2024 Korean Lesson Reviews

Coursera Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Free Korean courses from top universities worldwide
  • Paid completion certificates available (usually $49/course)
  • Self-paced, asynchronous learning
  • Options for multiple fluency levels

Coursera is an online platform that offers a wide range of courses, specializations, and degree programs from top universities and institutions around the world. With Coursera, you can access high-quality education on diverse subjects, including business, technology, arts, and languages.

Self-paced learning

The platform provides flexibility through self-paced learning options, allowing you to study at your own convenience. Coursera's interactive courses feature video lectures, quizzes, assignments, and peer-to-peer discussions, fostering a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Additionally, you can earn certificates and even degrees upon completion of your chosen programs, making Coursera a valuable resource for lifelong learning and professional development.

Searching for "Korean" turns up hundreds of options

Your biggest challenge with Coursera will probably be narrowing down all of the options for Korean lessons. At the time of this review, we found 188 courses for beginners, 121 courses for intermediate students, 8 for advanced learners, and 25 that were designated as "mixed" . You'll definitely want to use the filters to narrow down what you're looking for: maybe you have a specific timeframe in mind and the "duration" filter would be helpful. (Most of the Korean lessons lasted from either 1-4 weeks or 1-3 months.)

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Some classes are IN Korean, not about the language

But, that brings us to another hurdle with using Coursera: when you use those filters, you'll also be shown courses that are taught in Korean, and you're probably not looking for an English language class for Korean-speaking learners, for example. Expect to spend some time working your way through the platform until you find the Korean lessons that are the best fit for your current fluency and your learning goals.

Over a million students enrolled in First Step Korean

But, let's assume you're starting at square one with learning Korean. The Coursera course that will likely be your best bet is First Step Korean. This intro to Korean is extremely popular on Coursera: there were nearly 1.5 million people enrolled when we signed up. It's presented by Seung Hae Kang, a professor at South Korea's Yonsei University. (By the way, she has over 22,000 student ratings and an impressive 4.8-star average.) This course will take you about 17 hours to complete, and you can enroll at any time.

Learn to use basic Korean in written and spoken form

We appreciate the well-rounded nature of this class. It includes instruction across all modalities (reading, writing, listening, speaking), as well as basic knowledge of Korean culture. You'll work your way through six modules: a brief introduction, the Korean alphabet, greetings and introductions, family, time and date, and daily life.

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Easy-to-understand progression

Here's how each unit is structured in Coursera's First Step Korean:

  • Learning objectives are presented
  • Listen to a conversation and repeat what was said
  • Practice pronunciation of keywords
  • Study the explanation of the words and sentence structures
  • Practice the sentences with additional vocabulary
  • Take the end-unit quiz

Don't miss the extra tools

It's really helpful that for every lecture, there's a transcript. You can use that to follow along, remember where you left off in the lecture, or read the lesson if for some reason you can't watch or listen to the video. You can also use the Notes tab to write down anything you'd like to remember, use the Downloads tab to save presentations and transcripts for offline use, or click on the Discuss tab to visit the Forums page and talk about what you're learning with other First Step Korean students.

Tells you the rich history behind what you're learning

We fell in love with the beautiful explanation of how Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, came to be. It was a huge step up from the first Korean lessons we took (*cough* Duolingo *cough*) that threw us into the deep end of characters and pronunciations without any kind of background. After the introduction, First Step Korean's Professor Kang proudly and lovingly describes how the vowels came from Chinese metaphysics, representing the three elements of the universe. Isn't that beautiful?

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Easy to see how to write and pronounce the letters and words

You couldn't ask for a clearer explanation of the vowels and how they're formed. There's even a little animation/video that pops up during the main video, showing you a closeup of a mouth pronouncing each one. You then have the opportunity to practice writing each vowel, so have something handy to try it for yourself.

Take all the time you need (and ignore the "end date" )

And all of that is just the first lesson in the first unit. You can obviously pause the videos, practice, and take the time you need to really understand what's being presented: there's no deadline here, even though you "enroll" on a particular date and are given a target "end date" to finish your Korean lessons.

You only pay if you want a Certificate of Completion

And did we mention that all of that is 100% free? You could pay $49 if you'd like a Certificate of Completion, but we're guessing that most people happily take these Korean lessons for personal advancement (or fun) and don't sign up for that. However, if you plan on using Coursera for certifications in multiple subjects, take a look at Coursera+. It costs either $59/month (cancel anytime) or $399/year (14-day money-back guarantee) and has a 7-day free trial. It means you'll get unlimited certificates for as many programs as you complete. Most of those courses are IT-based, but hey, if you're looking to become a Korean-speaking cybersecurity expert, why not?

Tens of thousands of five-star reviews

Nearly 50,000 students have reviewed First Step Korean, and a staggering 98% of them give the course a rating of 4 or 5 stars. Although a very small number of reviews felt that this course moved a little too fast, or that it might be better for students who have at least some prior exposure to the Korean language, the vast majority of learners (coming from multiple starting languages, not just English) felt that it was a perfect start to their language acquisition.

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Just a few cons to balance out the pros

So, what are the downsides to using Coursera for Korean lessons? They're minor, but they do exist. First off, there's no way for you to compare your pronunciation to a native speaker's and have it evaluated. Many language-learning platforms are programmed to give you that kind of comparison, but that's just not part of Coursera's structure. There's no gamification here, so if you need that kind of motivation to help you learn Korean, Coursera's classes won't be your best match.

DIY course progression

Finally, there's a certain amount of DIY expected, especially once you finish First Step Korean. You can't expect to have a seamless transition from that course to the next one in your learning progression: you'll have to look through the additional Coursera courses for Korean and see what you like. There are some suggested courses (six at the time of our review) at the bottom of the page for First Step Korean, before you enroll, so that would be the best place to look for your next learning path.

Fantastic as a free resource you can take at your own pace

Still, there's no reason not to give Coursera a try if you'd like a no-cost, popular introduction to the Korean language. Study at your own pace, practice as long as you need, and with just a few hours a week you'll have a basic understanding of how Korean is written and spoken (with some culture and history thrown in for good measure).

Where Can You Get the Best Korean Lessons Online?

There are many reasons why people learn the Korean language. Maybe you're a K-drama fan eager to understand your favorite binge-worthy series without relying on subtitles. Or perhaps you're eyeing a career opportunity in South Korea and want to impress your future colleagues with your language skills. And let's not forget the thrill of traveling to Korea and being able to navigate the streets and connect with locals in their own language.

Learning Korean does come with its unique challenges compared to languages like Spanish or French. For starters, there's Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, which is surprisingly easy to pick up - but still requires some practice. Then there's the grammar, with its subject-object-verb word order and intricate honorifics system that adds layers of nuance to your speech.

The Best Korean Lessons Compare Korean Lessons Compare Korean Lesson Reviews What are the best Korean Lessons Best Korean Lesson Reviews

Korean Lesson FAQ

Over 75 million people speak Korean across the globe. That includes nearly 50 million in South Korea and 25 million in North Korea, plus significant Korean-speaking communities in China, the US, and Japan.
Yes. The dialect used in Seoul is the one you'll hear and read most commonly. North Korea has its own dialect, which is heavily influenced by the Russian language.
Korean is ranked as one of the most challenging languages for English speakers to learn, according to the Foreign Service Institute within the State Department. (Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese are the only other languages with that level of difficulty!) Of course, any language is within reach if you put in the work!
Begin with studying the Hangul alphabet: just 14 consonants and 10 vowels, many of which have similar sounds in English. Next, get a feel for basic grammar and some commonly-used phrases - and be aware that basic word order in Korean sentences follows a subject-object-verb pattern (unlike English's subject-verb-object structure). And, of course, feel free to enjoy K-pop, K-dramas and any other entertainment that will help you pick up on the language naturally!
You may have a hard time finding any other way to study Korean! Unless you live near a large university, you probably won't have the option of attending in-person classes. That's okay: studying online gives you access to lessons that fit your schedule and for much less than you'd spend for a semester or two at a college. There's no need to ask a teacher to repeat a phrase so you can catch the pronunciation: just hit "replay" and listen as many times as you want!
There are a couple ways you can use your computer to write in Hangul (the Korean alphabet). The easiest is probably to enable a Korean keyboard; the steps differ by operating system, so search based on whether you're using a Mac or PC. Otherwise, there are online Korean keyboards that don't require you to change your computer settings.
Not at all. You can choose among many different language programs, some of which offer monthly subscriptions and others that give you an entire course as a one-time purchase. You could pay as little as $17/month for a membership or $150 for a complete Level 1 package.
Sometimes. Depending on which language platform you choose, you might get a satisfaction guarantee of up to 60 days or the ability to cancel your subscription without penalty. Many Korean language lessons have a free trial or sample lessons, and we encourage you to make full use of those before committing to a program. That's the easiest way to determine if the Korean lessons are presented in a manner that will be a good fit for your preferences and learning style.
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Continued from above...

But don't let that intimidate you. With dedication and the right resources, you'll find yourself making steady progress in no time. You'll be opening doors to a whole new world of culture, entertainment, and connections that come with being able to speak Korean fluently.

Learning Korean online gives you plenty of options to choose from, each tailored to suit different learning styles and preferences. You can dive into listening-only programs, where you focus on authentic conversations to sharpen your ear for the language. If you're into games, you might enjoy gamified platforms that turn learning Korean into a fun challenge, with points and rewards (and streaks) to keep you motivated.

Interactive courses are another great choice, offering a mix of videos, quizzes, and exercises that give you instant feedback and guidance. They're perfect if you like a structured approach to Korean that covers all the bases, from reading and writing to speaking and listening.

Or maybe you're more of a people person and thrive on interaction. In that case, tutoring platforms would be your go-to. You can connect with native speakers for real conversations and cultural exchange, making learning Korean a social experience.

Ready to get started? There are so many Korean lessons to choose from, it could feel a bit overwhelming to know which one to use. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get excited about learning and want to pick the right platform:

  • Current fluency level. Do you already speak (or read) some Korean? Or are you a newbie? No shame in that game. Make sure you choose the Korean lessons that match where you're at.
  • Method of language instruction. How are the Korean lessons delivered? Is it through an app, audio files, an internet browser on your laptop, or something else? What do you think will work best for your learning style?
  • Listening, speaking, reading, writing. Do the language lessons teach you Korean mostly through listening and speaking, through reading and writing, or a mix of all four modalities? We're all for being well-rounded language learners, and because Korean uses a different alphabet than the one you're reading right now, you can't fake your way into reading it unless you know how the letters are pronounced and combined to make syllables and words. Keep that in mind if you're using Korean lessons that are primarily audio-based.
  • Cost. What will you pay for your Korean language lessons? Is it a one-time fee or an ongoing subscription? If there's a free option, what do you get at no cost and is it worth it to upgrade?
  • Learner reviews. Pay close attention to what other Korean students say about their experience with the lesson platform. Did they experience a meaningful improvement in their fluency by using it? How long did it take to see improvements?

To help you find the right Korean lessons for your language goals and favorite way of learning, the experts at Top Consumer Reviews have tried some of today's most popular options and given you an honest take on what you can expect from each one. So what are you waiting for? Dive in and start your Korean learning journey today!

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