ChineseFor.Us has exceptionally thorough online Chinese courses. They pride themselves on providing college quality teaching online. Honestly though, these courses are better than you'd find in most universities. They have a few different courses available now - pinyin drills, tone drills, writing, beginner, hsk 1, and hsk 2 all accessible with a monthly subscription. . Unfortunately, they don't yet go to the higher levels. There are also lots of quizzes and exercises that you can complete as you go. I was really impressed with the level of instruction and attention to detail found throughout. Besides that, the subscription cost is lower than you'll find most other places. Continue reading the full review of ChineseFor.Us.
Lingo Bus is pretty easily my top choice for parents interested in having their child study Chinese online. Given that they only offer classes to children between the ages of 5-12, they're able to design their lessons and platform in a manner that is engaging for kids. Besides the lessons themselves, there are extra materials like pre-lesson videos, workbooks, flashcards, and more which ensures that learning doesn't only occur during the class periods. Lessons are taught by qualified teachers that provide an immersive and friendly study environment. Continue reading the full review of Lingo Bus.
While there are a few different apps that make it easier to read Chinese on your phone, The Chairman's Bao releases the most content - by a wide margin. Articles are based on current events and arranged by difficulty level - from HSK 1 to HSK 6. You can also listen to the article as you read, look up keywords, idioms, see grammar explanations, and even learn how characters are written. The articles are genuinely interesting which makes studying Chinese feel like less of a chore and more like something you'd do for fun. Continue reading the full review of The Chairman's Bao.
HelloChinese is the best free app for learning Chinese. It's best for beginners or elementary level learners. The games and exercises will teach you and test you on every aspect of learning the language. It's a very quick and easy way to get started and is quite enjoyable to use.
There are also Premium and Premium+ plans which include more games and exercises. The Premium+ plan is similar to a podcast but with more features, including a fun exercise where you dub a video of yourself speaking a dialogue. Continue reading the full review of HelloChinese.
Speechling is a website and app that makes it easier to improve your Chinese pronunciation and speaking skills. The free version is much better than many paid resources I've seen. For free, you're able to listen to recorded sentences and then record yourself, making it easy to compare your pronunciation with a native speaker. There are also dictation exercises, and they allow you to choose between a male or female speaker, the topic or difficulty level, and more. Subscribers can submit an unlimited number of recordings to a teacher and receive feedback on their pronunciation. Continue reading the full review of Speechling.
Yoyo Chinese is the most well-established online course for learning Chinese. They have in-depth courses going from the beginner to the upper intermediate level. The lessons include lots of videos, interactive quizzes, and more. Topics are explained very thoroughly with lots of clear examples. She often interviews people in the street which provides a great opportunity to hear colloquial Chinese, lots of different accents, and learn more about Chinese culture. Continue reading the full review of Yoyo Chinese.
The cute graphics, characters, and gamified interface make it easy to underestimate Ninchanese. However, beneath all of this is an incredibly extensive platform that will keep you engaged. Like a game, Ninchanese is broken up into different worlds (based on difficulty level) that you must get through, all the while improving every area of your Chinese. You'll learn tons of words, practice speaking, listening, and writing. The grammar lessons and practice materials are among the best I've seen. Continue reading the full review of Ninchanese.
Du Chinese is probably the best designed app I've used for studying Chinese. They offer reading materials, with audio, organized into six different difficulty levels - from Newbie to Master. The content varies a bit but can include cultural information, jokes, dialogues, current events, and more. I love how you can add or remove pinyin, English translations, quickly look up and save words, and that the current word and sentenced are highlighted as you listen to an article. You'll also find some lessons are available for free. Continue reading the full review of Du Chinese.
I doubt any resource has as much content as ChinesePod. Lessons go back over a decade and cover just about any topic you could imagine. It's not a course, as all lessons are stand-alone podcasts. There are six difficulty levels, from Newbie to Media. As you move up difficulty levels, less and less English is used, until it's eventually removed entirely. The premium plan also includes extra exercises, grammar explanations, and a video course on learning Manadrin pronunciation.I, and countless others, have found ChinesePod to be an invaluable resource for learning Chinese. Continue reading the full review of ChinesePod.
italki is the most convenient and affordable place to find an online Chinese tutor. There are hundreds of teachers you can choose from, making it the best choice for pretty much everyone. If you're looking for a class focused on casual conversation, you'll find tutors charging less than $10 per hour. If you want a professional teacher with lots of experience, from a specific region in China, is the same age as you, and available at a specific time of the day - that's also possible. You'll also find features like "Notebooks" where you can have your writing corrected by a native speaker for free, as well as a huge community of people interested in language exchanges. Continue reading the full review of italki.
Chinese Zero to Hero! would be ideal for those looking to supplement their independent study routine and give it some structure. These courses, based of the HSK Standard Course textbooks provide engaging, well-organized content and are quite a bit cheaper than most other courses you'll find. They include video lessons and accompanying exercises from HSK 1 up to HSK 6 (coming soon). While there's not enough material for it to be the only resource you use, these courses can act as a great guide. I really like how they use lots of Chinese and characters, even at the lower levels. Their grammar videos are excellent as well. Continue reading the full review of Chinese Zero To Hero!
Zizzle is probably the most unique app for learning Chinese, and maybe the most unique language learning app period. On first use, it looks kind of silly. There are weird cartoon images mixed with strange stories, but it actually makes a lot of sense. First, characters are broken down into their components. Then, they make a weird story using the meanings of those component parts. After that, there's another weird graphic/story that ties in the pronunciation and tone of the character. It's ridiculously strange and bordering on stupid, but as anyone who has ever used mnemonics to memorize something will know, it actually works. Zizzle makes remembering and differentiating characters much easier. Continue reading the full review of Zizzle.
Verbling is a language learning platform that makes it easy to book classes directly from a teacher. It's quite similar to italki and even has many of the same teachers. I prefer italki to Verbling because there are more teachers available and usually lessons are a bit cheaper on italki. That said, Verbling is still a better option than most places you'll find a tutor and if you'd prefer to avoid using Skype, it's probably your best option. Continue reading the full review of Verbling.
Memrise is one of the most popular apps around for learning languages, and just about anything else. The app and website essentially provide a sort of gamified flashcard approach, making use of mnemonics to make memorization easier. There are tons of courses created by the community of users which means that the content and quality can vary significantly from course to course. I started using Memrise right after moving to China and it helped me learn how to read a menu. Continue reading the full review.
ChineseSkill is a free app that is quite similar to HelloChinese and Duolingo. Although, I'd rate it as much better than Duolingo but not quite as good as HelloChinese. It's easy enough to get started using, in fact, it was one of the first apps I used when I began learning Chinese. You'll learn lots of new words, sentences, and more. It's actually pretty fun and engaging to use as well. While I wouldn't recommend it as a top choice for very serious students, casual learners and those looking to ease themselves into learning Mandarin could benefit from using ChineseSkill. Continue reading the full review of ChineseSkill.
I think Coffee Break Chinese is a good course but it wouldn't be my top choice personally. This doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the content but rather the target audience. This course is better for people who don't have much, or any, language learning experience and are rather intimidated by it all. Coffee Break Chinese does a great job of making it more manageable, after all, one of the hosts is learning alongside the listener. I found the lessons to be very well designed, building up from learning single words to sentences, and then later, to full dialogues. You can find all of the audio lessons available for free as a podcast. The premium course requires purchasing and includes extra features. Continue reading the full review of Coffee Break Chinese.
Yabla, like FluentU, was created to make it easier to use native videos to study languages. The design leaves a lot to be desired but the content makes up for it. All videos are broken into small pieces lasting only a couple minutes and range from TV shows, to music videos, to interviews, and more. Some TV series are split into as many as 30 parts, or more, which makes it easier to digest. Looking up words is quick and simple with their popup dictionary. There are also some extra features, like exercises to fill in the missing word, and a flashcard review game. Continue reading the full review of Yabla.
I had a very negative impression of ChineseClass101 before I even tried it. They felt a bit spammy, and then when they flooded my email inbox later on, that didn't help. While ChineseClass101 still wouldn't be a top choice of mine, it's better than I expected. There are lots of lessons and a subscription costs a bit less than competitors like ChinesePod. It's actually a pretty solid choice for anyone in the beginner stages of learning Chinese. But, because their lessons follow the same structure whether you're a beginner or advanced, and therefore use way too much English at higher levels, I wouldn't suggest anyone use it past the beginner stages. Continue reading the full review of ChineseClass101.
LingQ is an app that makes it easier to read in Chinese. It's not a bad app actually, and for some languages, it might be one of my most recommended resources. However, Mandarin learners, in most cases, would be better off using either Du Chinese or The Chairman's Bao. There is one feature that I really loved about LingQ though - that you can import your own content. I've been reading my first full-length Mandarin book and found that using LingQ was much more convenient than any of the other options. Continue reading the full review of LingQ.
Hanbridge Mandarin offers online Chinese classes, or classes in Shenzhen at their school. For the purpose of this review, we'll only talk about the online classes. The teachers are all very qualified and professional, using multimedia to make the lessons more engaging. The price is pretty typical for online schools which is generally quite a bit higher than you could find if you used a platform like italki to book classes directly from a tutor. My biggest issue with Hanbridge Mandarin, besides the cost, is that lessons are only available from 8am - 10pm Chinese time. Continue reading the full review of Hanbridge Mandarin.
Learn Chinese From Movies is a platform that makes it a bit easier to use full-length movies to study Chinese. They layer English, Pinyin, and Chinese Character subtitles over videos which are streamed over Youtube and other 3rd party sites. It actually works pretty well and may be worth trying out their free trial if you've reached an intermediate level but can't quite handle movies on your own. Currently, they have around 25 movies to choose from, including both Chinese and International titles. Continue reading the full review of Learn Chinese From Movies.
Mango Languages is in many ways very similar to other popular language learning platforms that offer courses in lots of different languages but is also unique in a few ways. A couple of the cool features are the color-coded translations which make it easier to see how words correspond with each other in your target language and English. It's also cool that they include literal translations along with the actual meanings. They offer courses for over 70 languages and you gain access to all of them with the subscription fee. Mango Languages is really only suitable for beginner students as the amount of material available drops off significantly around the intermediate level. Continue reading the full review of Mango Languages.
The Mimic Method is one of, if not the only, course that focuses 100% on learning pronunciation. They've recentely re-done their entire course and I haven't yet had time to try it out again, though an updated review will be coming soon. If you wish, you can read the old review here.
Despite the low rating, I can actually find some value in using Glossika despite all of the issues I have with it. Glossika is really a very simple platform in which you'll repeat lots and lots of sentences. The one thing I like about it is that this repetition can help improve your speaking rhythm and confidence. Unfortunately, it's a very simple product that's far overpriced. Another issue is that all of the sentences are the same for every language they offer which completely ignores the cultural aspects of learning a language, plus makes for some weird name translations. Continue reading the full review of Glossika.
I used WaiChinese a lot when I started seriously studying Mandarin and I found it to be very helpful, and despite its faults, completely worth the cost. With this app, you can record yourself speaking Chinese, see the visualization of the tones, then submit it for feedback from a teacher. Unfortunately, when I used it, there were far too many bugs that made the user experience rather poor. Still, I recommended it for a long time, until Speechling was released, which I've found to be far better in just about every way. Continue reading the full review of WaiChinese.
eChineseLearning is one of the older and more popular places to find a Chinese teacher online. The website design clearly reflects this age and while the teachers seem to be professional and skilled, it'd be far from my first choice. While I only tried a trial lesson from them, reading experiences from others online would make me a bit weary to sign up for a subscription. The cost, while comparable to other language schools, is quite a bit more than somewhere like italki. Continue reading the full review of eChineseLearning.
I really wanted to like FluentU, so much so that I subscribed on two separate occasions, only to cancel my subscription the next month both times. In theory, it sounds like a great service. They take videos from Youtube and add interactive captions which make it easier to watch and study Chinese. The biggest problem for me is that the content is really bad. Most of the videos last less than a minute long with a huge number of them being commercials. There are very few multi-part or longer videos, so nearly all of the content is disconnected. I've found it really difficult to actually use it enough to justify the higher subscription cost. Continue reading the full review of FluentU.
The idea behind Earworms is that you'll learn a language similar to how you often learn song lyrics - by getting them stuck in your head. I don't think it works here at all though, in fact, I feel like giving 5/10 stars is a bit on the generous side. Instead of learning Chinese, the vast majority of people will just get annoyed and want to end the lessons asap. Besides that, the content is extremely limited in what you could actually learn from it anyway. I'm clearly not a fan but maybe it's just me. Continue reading the full review of Earworms Musical Brain Trainer.
Duolingo is obviously one of the most famous language learning resources around. It can actually be a fairly good tool for getting the basics down in some languages, but unfortunately, the Mandarin course is awful. The course structure is really poorly designed. I think it fails in just about every way except one - motivating students to study a little bit every day. It is free though, so you only lose your time if you do decide to try it out, and even then, you'll still learn some things. However, your time would be much better spent with a resource like HelloChinese, which was originally modeled after Duolingo, but has gone on to be much better. Continue reading the full review of Duolingo for Chinese.
Pimsleur is one of the most well-known and well-respected names in language learning but I was far from impressed. Like many of the older courses, I feel like Pimsleur is overpriced, provides an outdated method of teaching, and is basically getting by on the fact that they're already a big name. Pimsleur's course is audio-based and completely ignores characters. On the plus side, it requires lots of speaking out loud and the lessons force you to be an active participant. This does get you to actually start speaking the language quicker than many other resources would. Still though, I can't help but feel like Pimsleur is incredibly overrated. Continue reading the full review.
Similar to Duolingo, Busuu can actually be an okay choice for learning other languages, but using it to study Chinese would be a mistake. They don't explain enough of th basic rules, instead expecting you to figure things out on your own. The lessons aren't anything unique or special, in fact, ChineseSkill and HelloChinese both provide similar lessons but are significantly better and also free. There is one feature that I really liked, and it's available on Busuu for free. That is the language exchange part of the app. You can get your writing or speech corrected by other users, and because they're such a hugely popular app, it won't take long at all. Continue reading the full review of Busuu.
There's nothing particularly wrong with Chinese Learn Online. Their lessons progress in difficulty from absolute beginner to higher levels, with appropriate amounts of English and explanations throughout. It's just that there are better options that are priced similar, and cheaper. The lesson content is far from riveting. Of course, not every lesson can be super interesting, but the content here is far more boring than I encountered elsewhere. Perhaps, more importantly, is that the design of the website needs a serious update. There are exercises but if you get the answer wrong, you won't be given the correct answer later. In fact, the whole layout just doesn't work well or make much sense. Continue reading the full review of Chinese Learn Online.
Fluenz puts a lot of effort into telling the world that they're better than Rosetta Stone, in fact, it's one of the first things you'll see on their homepage. Maybe they are better but that doesn't matter. Everyone knows Rosetta Stone is terrible. Fluenz fails to be a good resource in a similar manner. It's overpriced and a fraction as good as other free resources. The first two discs are taught by a non-native speaker without great pronunciation - why would anyone think that's a good idea? They don't even introduce you to Chinese characters. The exercises aren't very well done and you won't see corrections when you make mistakes. Basically, it's just a bad product. Continue reading the full review of Fluenz Mandarin.
The fact that a course like Rocket Chinese is so often recommended is baffling.... until you look at the money they pay for referrals. There are so many issues with this course and so few good things about it. First, a large percentage of the lessons involve repeating after the hosts, except one of them is a foreigner, and his pronunciation is awful. Second, the way the lessons are structured makes no sense - often teaching advanced stuff rather early while skipping the basics. Third, the way they taught writing characters with a short video clip is a joke. Fourth, the app constantly crashed. And finally, fifth, the price is unjustifiably high for a product that's all flash and no substance. The good parts... the lessons do teach Mandarin, so if you use it, you'll inevitably learn something. Continue reading the full review of Rocket Chinese.