Korean

22 Online Korean Courses Ranked From Best To Worst In 2020

Korea is rich with heritage, delicious food, and stunning views, so we don’t blame you for wanting to learn the language.

Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. While there are endless resources out there that claim to help you become fluent, not every course lives up to its name.

Whether you’re obsessed with understanding your favorite K-drama or you simply wish to visit this beautiful country, we’ve compiled a list of the best and worst Korean courses for you to learn from.

We’ve grouped them into four tiers with our favorites first and the ones you’d be better off avoiding in the final tier.

We rated them on factors such as quality of the lessons, comprehensiveness of the course, and value for the cost. 

While our favorite courses are in the first tier, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should disregard the courses in lower tiers. Everybody is unique and will have different preferences when it comes to what they look for in a Korean course.

Having said that, these rankings come from countless hours spent testing the courses. 

This also isn’t an exhaustive list of useful resources for learning Korean. To prevent it from becoming even more ridiculously long, we’ve limited this list to strictly courses. So, some excellent resources such as italki, where you can find affordable tutors, wasn’t included as it’s not exactly a course.

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Mondly Review – Far From My First Choice For Learning A Language

Quick Review

2.7 

Summary:

Mondly is a below average online language learning resource. It does some things right and other things poorly. It’s pretty cheap, and a decent enough crash course that could help you before a trip abroad. Still, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Quality

Both the interface and the course itself could be designed better.

Thoroughness

It’s decent for learning vocabulary but a lot of material isn’t explained very well.

Value

It’s fairly inexpensive.

Price

There are three plans…
$9.99 per month for one language
$47.99 per year ($4/mo) for one language
$47.99 per year ($4/mo) for all languages

Strangely, I was able to access multiple languages even though I only signed up for one month at $9.99.

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Talk To Me In Korean Review – Good But Not Enough By Itself

Quick Review

4

Summary:

Talk To Me In Korean (TTMIK) offers audio, video and text materials for Korean learners of all abilities. They have a variety of free and paid courses available. The main course is well laid out and the supplementary lessons are all great quality offering some really fun and interesting ways to learn. However, there aren’t many ways to practice what you’ve learned, as such, it’d be best used alongside other resources and not as a standalone course.

Quality

The video lessons have high production value and can be fun to watch.

Thoroughness

Not enough material or opportunities to practice to only rely on TTMIK.

Value

A ton of free content!

Price

Most of the content is free to access. They also have a variety of paid books, audio and video courses with a range of prices.

Books: From $12 – $38 (packages also available)
eBooks: $10 each
Audio lessons: From $7 – $13
Video lessons: From $5 – $25 (some need books)

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90 Day Korean Review – My Experience Trying It For 3 Weeks

Quick Review

4.7 

Summary:

90 Day Korean is an excellent Korean course. The way that the material is structured and the simple manner that it’s explained make the language feel much less intimidating than I expected. Split up into four 90-day modules, 90 Day Korean can take you from not knowing any Korean and get you to a relatively high level. I highly recommend it!

Quality

There are some small things that could be better but overall I was very impressed.

Thoroughness

Very thorough without making you feel overwhelmed.

Value

A great course that’s priced affordably.

Price

90 Day Korean offers two subscription plans. The Inner Circle Course (without coaching) costs $30 per month or $150 per year. The same course but with coaching costs $47 per month or $247 per year.

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Lingodeer Review – A Better Alternative To Duolingo, Busuu, Rosetta Stone, etc.

Quick Review

4.3 

Summary:

Lingodeer may not be as well known as other language learning apps, but it’s actually better and cheaper than most of them. You’ll practice the language by completing lots of different types of exercises. They also include plenty of grammar explanations and opportunities to review what you’ve studied. All in all, it’s one of the better options for getting started learning a language.

Quality

It has a great design and everything works well with only a few minor issues.

Thoroughness

Not as thorough as some other courses but it’s good for what it is.

Value

Quite a bit of content is free and the premium plan is very affordable.

Price

$11.99/mo, $29.99 for 3 months, $55.99 for a year. There’s also a lifetime option for $119.99.

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Transparent Language Review – Their Courses Are Awful!

Quick Review

1.8 

Summary:

The Transparent Language Essentials Courses aim to get absolute beginners engaged and interacting with the language they’re learning and speaking the basics in no time at all. While there are lots of different exercises for you to work through, the material isn’t all that helpful and it does get very repetitive. Although the courses aren’t all that useful or in depth, with over a hundred languages on offer it might be worth checking out if you want to learn the very basics of a more obscure language such as Buriat, Kazakh or Turkmen. But, even then, I’d try to find other resources first.

Quality

While the exercises are for the most part well-designed, diverse and easy to use, it is the core material itself which is lacking.

Thoroughness

There are hardly any explanations at all, you just have to endlessly memorize words and phrases.

Value

I would only consider using if it were free and I was studying a very rare language.

Price

There is a free two-week trial period for you to try it out. Otherwise, it is $24.95 per month or $149.95 for a whole year if you just select one language. If you want access to all of the languages it is then $49.95 per month and $249.95 a year.

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Michel Thomas Method Review – Avoid At All Costs

Quick Review

1.7

Summary:

One of the most famous language teaching courses out there, Michel Thomas is a household name and his audio lessons aim to teach you your language of choice, naturally, intuitively and without any memorization involved. With 18 languages for you to choose from, the courses are aimed at absolute beginners and at the end you should be able to understand and speak to a basic level. I tried out the French foundation course and found it to be severely lacking and as such cannot recommend it at all. You may, however, have more luck with the other language courses that they offer.

Quality

Very easy to use, the audios are decent quality but Michel Thomas’ discouraging manner means that students get flustered and this detracts from the content’s quality.

Thoroughness

Michel Thomas doesn’t go into much depth and any explanations he offers up are just at a surface level.

Value

I wouldn’t use these even if they were free due to Michel Thomas’ teaching style which ruins the material.

Languages: Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Modern Standard), Dutch, French, Greek, German, Hindi, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Price

There are several different courses available with prices ranging from $11.99 to $100.

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The 15 Best Podcasts For Learning Korean In 2020

Korean is spoken by around 75 million people, making it one of the most widely-spoken languages in Asia. Most native speakers live in North and South Korea, but there are also around 1 million Korean speakers in the U.S., many of them in Koreatown, Los Angeles, the largest Korean neighborhood outside of Asia.

Korean may look like a challenging language to learn, but it’s actually one of the easier Asian languages for English speakers to pick up. There are 24 symbols in the Korean alphabet (10 vowels and 14 consonants), far less than the number of characters you need to learn in order to become proficient in Japanese or Mandarin.

The reason Korean writing looks so complex is that consonants and vowels are layered on top of each other, instead of written in a row. Once you know the basics, the phonetics are pretty straightforward. There are no tones to worry about, and words are pronounced just how they are spelled. Cases and genders are pretty simple too.

To really get the most out of your studies, you’re going to want to be able to speak and understand Korean. For that, it’s a good idea to practice your listening comprehension with podcasts and other audio content. While there aren’t as many resources designed to teach Korean as there are for some other languages, we’ve found several great podcasts that are intended for beginners and intermediate students. (more…)

Rocket Korean Review – Meh, Not My First Choice

Quick Review

Summary:

After trying Rocket Korean, I came away pretty disappointed. They don’t do a great job of teaching hangeul, leaving learners unable to read even very basic Korean. This, coupled with the repetitive exercises, makes Rocket Korean uninspiring. There are better courses that will help you build a sturdier foundation while also being more enjoyable to use.

Quality

Very repetitive review exercises that aren’t particularly well-done.

Thoroughnes

Does a poor job accounting for a different writing system.

Value

Too expensive without being good enough to justify the cost.

Price

There’s only one level of Rocket Korean which costs $99.95. You can also pay in six-month installments which costs $19/month.

Alternatives: 90 Day Korean is a much better-structured (and more enjoyable) course that will give you a better foundation.

KoreanClass101 has audio lessons which are more fun to listen to and is also much cheaper.

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Rosetta Stone Review (Subscription) – Painfully Repetitive And Overpriced

Quick Review

2.3 

Summary:

One of the most famous language learning resources out there, the Rosetta Stone method relies on immersive teaching so students will only find the material in the language they’re learning. Starting off with the basics, the units get progressively harder and cover a large range of topics. Suitable for beginner and intermediate students, it is more expensive than competitors and the exercises get very repetitive after a while. While it isn’t a bad resource, you can definitely find something better.

Quality

Very easy to use and navigate, the content is well presented but the similar format becomes deadly boring after a while.

Thoroughnes

While a lot of material is covered, you have to infer everything from the pictures that you are given. As such, there are no explanations at all.

Value

It’s not as good and more expensive than other resources.

Price

The price varies by subscription length:

$79 for 3 months
$119 for 6 months
$179 for 12 months
$249 for 24 months

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