For many, there’s just something irresistible about Korean culture. K-Pop and its die-hard fans span the globe, Korean food classics like kimchi and bulgogi tempt millions each year, and Korean cinema attained broader global recognition with Academy Award-winning film, Parasite.
There are plenty of reasons to learn Korean, and there are just about as many ways to learn it. if you’re interested in online courses, you’re anything but starved for choice. This is mostly a great thing — a course that fits your budget, learning style, and specific needs is almost definitely out there.
On the other hand, it can be difficult to sort the good from the bad; many online reviews are clearly biased or simply don’t consider the fact that what works for one may not work for another.
We’ve gone through our extensive list of online Korean courses, selecting only those that we’ve rated 3.5 stars or higher, and compiled them into this collection of high-quality resources. It’s our hope that this guide points you in the right direction and gets you closer to your ideal course.
A QUALITY COURSE WITH STRAIGHTFORWARD INSTRUCTIONS
At first glance, this may seem too good to be true. After all, no one’s going to become fluent in 90 days, right? Luckily, this course isn’t promising the impossible. Instead, it breaks the overwhelming goal of learning Korean into four 90-day modules. This more manageable timeline makes for a less intimidating study plan and can do great things for daily motivation.
The modules in this course do an excellent job of providing in-depth coverage of grammar and vocabulary concepts. The lessons are presented one week at a time, though you can proceed to the next week’s material whenever you feel comfortable doing so.
The course benefits from straightforward explanations and challenges that push you to apply what you’ve learned in practical situations. For a higher subscription price, there’s the option to have access to coaching, which means you’ll get feedback from a Korean tutor as you progress through the course.
- Explanations are clear and easy to understand
- Challenges give you the opportunity to use what you’ve learned
- Great course structure
- There are less expensive options
See our Super-Detailed 90 Day Korean Review
POV-STYLE CONVERSATION PRACTICE
Teuida isn’t your standard language resource. It’s full of super engaging conversation practice where you take part in POV-style videos, responding when prompted. You’ll find yourself in a variety of situations and will be tasked with responding in real-time to your video conversation partner.
Lessons in Teuida build on each other nicely, and each culminates with a video conversation that tests what you’ve learned in the corresponding unit. This type of practice is highly interactive and is great for building speaking confidence. It could be especially useful for learners that are intimidated by the prospect of speaking to real people at their current level.
While Teuida is fun to use and provides good listening and speaking practice, it won’t teach you much grammar or how to read and write. It’s also not a very good option for learners that are beyond the beginner stage.
- Video conversation practice is highly engaging
- You’ll get practice with realistic, practical language
- It provides lots of speaking practice
- There isn’t material for intermediate and advanced learners
- You won’t get in-depth grammar practice or learn to read and write
- Review opportunities are limited
See our Super-Detailed Teuida App Review
Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo
TRIED-AND-TRUE AUDIO LESSONS
Pimsleur isn’t exactly a new arrival on the language-learning scene. Using a method developed by linguist Dr. Pimsleur in 1963, this course is packed full of high-quality audio lessons that are well structured and provide ample opportunity for participation.
Although the claim on the Pimsleur website that you’ll reach an intermediate speaking level within 30 days of using the course may be a stretch, the audio lessons are packed full of useful information and build on each other nicely. You’ll spend just enough time in each new lesson reviewing what you’ve already learned in order to take on new concepts with confidence.
The Pimsleur audio lessons aren’t meant for passive listening. Instead, the Pimsleur Method encourages learners to frequently speak aloud during lessons. You’ll be frequently prompted to speak and will have to do more than listen and repeat to keep up.
Visual learners may struggle with the mostly-audio content, and this may not be the best resource for learning to read and write Hangul.
- The course is well structured
- Audio from a variety of native speakers
- The app and desktop platform are well designed
- This isn’t the best resource for visual learners
- It isn’t the best place to find reading and writing practice
See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur Review
TONS OF LISTENING PRACTICE
It wouldn’t be easy to find another resource with as much listening material as you’ll find with KoreanClass101. There are thousands of listening lessons here, and they’re accompanied by transcripts, quizzes, extra notes, and some videos.
While the amount of content is certainly a good thing, there is a lack of clear structure to the course. This might be nice if you’re the type of learner that likes to skip around as you please, but some might end up feeling lost and without enough guidance.
The bulk of the huge lesson library is most-suitable for learners at the beginner to pre-intermediate levels — advanced learners won’t find as much relevant practice material. This is also probably not the best resource if you’re looking for a course to really strengthen your speaking or writing skills.
- There is a great deal of listening content for learners at the beginner and intermediate levels
- Accompanying lesson notes are useful
- There isn’t as much content for advanced learners
- There isn’t a clear course structure
- It isn’t the right place to get speaking, writing, or advanced practice
See our Super-Detailed KoreanClass101 Review
THOROUGH AND GAMIFIED INTRODUCTORY COURSE
There’s certainly no shortage of language-learning apps out there, but Lingodeer stands out in terms of quality. This is especially true for Asian languages like Korean, which are often neglected by other popular apps.
Lingodeer combines gamification and app-friendly, convenient practice with a well-structured course to provide something truly valuable. Lessons build on each other nicely, and it’s a great place to get a solid foundation in Korean. Interactive practice activities test how much you’ve retained from the lessons and keep things interesting.
Keep in mind when considering Lingodeer that there isn’t as much material available for advanced learners. It’s also probably not the best place to improve your conversational skills.
- Great for engaging, convenient practice
- Well-structured lessons
- Not much practice for learners past the intermediate level
- You’ll need to look elsewhere to fully develop conversational skills
See our Super-Detailed Lingodeer Review
COMPREHENSIVE VIDEO LESSONS
The Cyber University of Korea (CUK) offers an impressive amount of thorough content for free. Material is presented in the form of free video lessons that are accessible through a number of video platforms, including YouTube.
There are four levels of lessons in the CUK library. The first two levels deal largely with basic communication skills related to everyday activities, and levels three and four teach casual conversation skills. By completing level four, CUK hopes students will be able to achieve a 3.5 score on the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK).
Many of the lessons include teachers, slides, animations, and dialogues, and you’ll get pronunciation practice by responding to speaking prompts. The material in the third and fourth levels of the CUK course are slightly less engaging, as they don’t include animations or images, but there’s a lot of learning to be had here for free.
- Lots of free content
- Video lessons are especially engaging at lower levels
- Instruction is clear and well thought out
- It’s especially good for beginners
- Lessons at higher levels aren’t quite as engaging
DATED, BUT FREE AND THOROUGH COURSES
The Foreign Services Institute (FSI) has developed a number of language courses, including for Korean. These courses were originally developed several decades ago and were designed to help get diplomats to a professional working proficiency in a language as quickly as possible.
Given their origin, the FSI language courses definitely err on the dry side of things and are far from the most engaging options out there. They consist of PDF scans of typewritten pages and come with accompanying audio. If you can get past the lack of color, pictures, and games, however, you’ll find yourself with an extremely thorough course. It’s worth noting that you won’t get exposure to the most modern Korean usage, but it should still provide you with a fully usable foundation.
- Well-structured, comprehensive courses
- They’re free
- Courses aren’t very engaging
- The material is dated
DATED, BUT FREE AND THOROUGH COURSES
Courses created by the Defense Language Institute (DLI) are similar in that they’re exceptionally thorough but also dated. One difference between the two is that the DLI courses have a slight emphasis on military terms at higher levels.
- Well-structured, comprehensive courses
- They’re free
- Courses aren’t very engaging
- The material is dated
ENTERTAINING, FREE PRACTICE
Since 2009, Talk To Me In Korean (TTMIK) has offered both free and paid content to Korean learners that is often engaging, fun, and entertaining. The main educational content revolves around grammar concepts presented in audio lessons, but there are also some video lessons. Additional practice involves sentence-building and learning various idiomatic expressions.
TTMIK usually does a great job of striking a balance between educational and entertaining, and the assortment of interviews and drama breakdowns are great for learners looking for learning material that’s more lighthearted.
It’s worth noting that their content occasionally strays too far into entertainment, providing less educational value as a result. You also might not find as many opportunities to put what you’ve learned into practice with this resource. That said, it’s hard to beat the amount of material that’s available for free here.
- There’s a ton of free content
- Lessons are more entertaining than many alternatives
- Some lessons focus more on entertainment than educational value
- There aren’t many opportunities to practice what you’ve learned
See our Super-Detailed Talk To Me In Korean Review
FREE, ADD-ONS START AT $5
A THOROUGH GUIDE FOR BEGINNER AND INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS
With 175 in-depth Korean lessons, each accompanied by audio recordings, grammar explanations, and quizzes, How To Study Korean is a resource with enough material to keep you busy for quite some time. Its fairly academic approach may not appeal to those that prefer gamified, interactive practice, but the price tag isn’t likely to turn anyone away.
At the beginner level, lessons come with YouTube videos that provide extra sentence practice as well as dictations and reading practice. There are also additional materials available for purchase at each level. These include workbooks, vocabulary lists, short stories, and more. Each lesson includes 20 or 30 vocabulary words that have all been placed into Memrise decks, making for super-efficient practice. Another benefit of this course is that the materials at lower levels offer instruction in a number of different languages.
- Lots of free content
- Thorough grammar explanations
- Vocabulary is available for practice in Memrise
- Instruction is available in multiple languages
- It isn’t the best option for those looking for interactive, gamified practice
- The grammar explanations may be too in-depth for some
FREEMIUM, PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTIONS START AT $17.99/MONTH
LEARN KOREAN WITH A CHATBOT
If you’re looking for a unique, casual way to learn Korean, Eggbun certainly fits the bill. Practice takes place in short lessons where you chat with Lanny, an enthusiastic, animated egg bun. It’s cheeky, fun, unintimidating, and contains a surprising amount of content.
The format may be bizarre, but the content is of pretty high quality and covers multiple aspects of the language. Absolute beginners will be able to start with learning Hangul and will be typing it by the end of the first lesson. The course also includes cultural notes, dialogues, and interactive exercises like multiple-choice questions, role plays, and fill-in-the-blank activities.
This app is mostly useful for beginners, but lesson topics are varied and provide a wide range of quality information. You’ll get to experience both formal and casual Korean while learning about pronunciation, verb conjugations, and more.
- It’s got a great design and is fun to use
- It’s a good option for those that prefer more casual study
- There’s a variety of practice activities
- It doesn’t have as much useful material for more advanced learners
- Some learners may not enjoy the chat-based learning format
- The premium subscription is more expensive than alternatives
FREE FLASHCARD PLATFORM AND OFFICIAL KOREAN COURSES
This incredibly popular resource helps users learn languages largely through its Spaced Repetition System (SRS) and flashcards. Part of the reason it’s so popular is that much of the material is free to use. Anyone can create their own flashcard decks on Memrise, and these user-created courses are totally free to use.
The quality of the courses varies, but you’ll be able to find tons of different topics to study, such as Korean slang, the 1000 most common Korean words, grammar concepts, and more. While all of these courses benefit from SRS, some will have audio, pictures, words, and example sentences, while others will only have some of these.
If you’re looking for material that will reliably be of higher quality, you’ll want to check out the official Memrise courses. These include quality audio, pictures, and even some videos, but you’ll have to pay a subscription fee to get full access.
- SRS is great for efficient practice
- Practice is enjoyable
- There’s a great deal of available content
- You’ll need more than Memrise to learn to communicate effectively in Korean
- The quality of user-created courses may vary
- The premium version doesn’t offer much more than the free version
See our Super-Detailed Memrise Review
PERSONALIZED LIVE LESSONS
Live Lingua is an online language school that connects learners of 11 different languages with teachers for one-on-one or group classes. It stands out from similar resources like italki or Verbling by taking more of a personalized approach: by registering with the platform, you’ll be assigned your very own class coordinator who will pair you with a teacher that best fits your needs. This teacher will develop a curriculum to help you achieve your personal language goals.
The three types of lessons currently available are standard Korean, exam prep, and group lessons. The exam prep lessons are the most expensive, and you’ll have to get in touch with Live Lingua to get the group lesson price.
While there are cheaper ways to take live lessons online, Live Lingua could be worth the price if you want a dedicated teacher that understands your goals, past experiences, and learning style. Some potential downsides are that you’ll have to use a third-party video call platform for lessons and that scheduling happens via email.
- You should be able to find a teacher to help you with your specific goals
- Limited flexibility in choosing a teacher compared to other options
- Scheduling lessons via email can be inconvenient
See our Super-Detailed Live Lingua Review
PHRASE-BASED PRACTICE FOR BEGINNERS
If you aren’t afraid of a little language drilling — okay, a lot of drilling — Mango Languages could be worth checking out. It won’t be very useful to learners beyond the intermediate level, however, as there’s just not much in the way of advanced content.
The design of the Mango Languages app is appealing and makes for more enjoyable practice, and you’ll be exposed to lots of Korean phrases. Learning new words this way is helpful in getting used to the way the language works in context and how to use it yourself.
Lessons build on each other nicely and will provide you with loads of speaking practice by prompting you to repeat what you hear. This is something that could become overly repetitive for some. You also won’t get in-depth grammar practice or explanations here.
If you’re interested in Mango Languages, be sure to check whether it’s available for free in a public library near you.
- The design is appealing and easy to use
- There are useful cultural notes
- Learning full phrases will help you understand common language structures
- There isn’t much in-depth grammar practice
- Phrase drilling can become overly repetitive
- Learners at higher levels will have to look elsewhere
See our Super-Detailed Mango Languages Review