Perfect for beginners but limited for advanced speakers
With GermanPod101, you listen to dialogues between native German speakers. The lessons are short and easy to complete. The teachers explain vocabulary and grammar through the context of German culture, such as daily life, work, and food. This is one of the best aspects of it! The lessons do a good job of explaining new concepts too. There aren’t many activities to reinforce what you learn in the lessons though.
- Lots of content
- Listen to native speakers
- Emphasis on German culture
- Dialogue lessons become repetitive
- Less content for advanced learners
- Too much English used
Table of Contents
GermanPod101 is one of 34 language courses developed by Innovate Language. The lessons are all audio or video-based. In the beginning levels, most of the explanation is in English and you often repeat after the native speaker to practice pronunciation and vocabulary.
The lessons teach vocabulary and grammar used in everyday situations. There are also additional lessons to learn more about German culture. One of the most difficult aspects of German is the different articles and choosing the correct one. The GermanPod101 audio lessons give some of the best explanations about how to do this.
How Long Will It Take You To Learn German
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
German can be a difficult language to learn. The Foreign Service Institute classifies it as a level 2 language. GermanPod101 is an excellent way to start learning though. The lessons walk you through vocabulary and grammar step-by-step. For me, German pronunciation is quite challenging because many of the words sound very similar. It was useful to hear the vocabulary words pronounced and then repeat them.
The upper-intermediate and advanced lessons were also helpful, but they still were mostly in English. I would prefer to hear more German once I reach the higher levels. There are fewer lessons in the upper levels, but you can skip around or go back to easier levels to review concepts that you might need some help with. Overall, I recommend GermanPod101 if you’re starting to learn the language.
GermanPod101 offers some free content with their lifetime access, but it's limited. There are three paid subscription levels so you can access more content. And the longer your subscription, the lower your monthly price. A Basic subscription costs between $4.00 and $8.00 per month. A Premium subscription costs between $10.00 and $25.00 per month. A Premium+ subscription costs between $22.87 and $47.00 per month.
Because the prices vary so widely, it's best to consider what features are important to you and how long you intend to use the app. The Basic subscription is good but limits your access to many of the practice activities that accompany the lessons. The Premium subscription gives you access to all the app’s content, but you will need the Premium+ subscription to get feedback from a native German teacher.
Depending on your goals, the Basic or Premium subscription should be sufficient. If you want to take classes with a native teacher, you could use a platform like italki or Live Lingua. This gives you more flexibility to take classes on your own schedule. If the Premium subscription is too expensive, you could try apps that offer a cheaper monthly price such as Busuu or Rocket German. If GermanPod101 doesn’t give you enough free content, you can try Duolingo or Clozemaster for free.
GermanPod101 Free Trial
GermanPod101 offers a free 7-day trial. You don'tt have to enter any credit card information. The trial gives you access to all content that is available with a Premium subscription. You can access all the lessons and additional resources.
When you sign up for the first time, you are offered a one-time deal. For $1, you get premium access for an entire month, plus other exclusive lessons and content. But if you don’t cancel after 1 month, you will be charged for a Premium subscription, so keep an eye on that. I also received various discounts in my email and through the website.
Students can get 20% off any 12-month subscription. The discount is automatically applied and you don’t have to verify a student email address.
GermanPod101 Review: How It Can (or Can't) Help You
It is easy to start learning with GermanPod101. Just enter and confirm your email address. You don’t even have to enter any credit card information. Then you receive a series of prompts helping you choose what level to start with. Most levels begin with a quick assessment to see if you should jump ahead or start from the beginning of the level.
After choosing your level, you follow a “pathway,” that guides you through the level. Each pathway has lots of audio/video lessons and assignments. Besides the level pathways, there are additional courses you can add that focus more on cultural topics, reading comprehension, dialogues, and more.
Setting up your GermanPod101 account is easy, but learning the language can be difficult. Let’s look at how GermanPod101 handles some common challenges faced by language learners.
Challenge #1: Beginning a New Language
Starting a new language can be overwhelming, but GermanPod101 does a top-notch job of explaining new topics. The format of the lessons is almost always the same. First, you listen to a dialogue between two people and then they break it down into grammar and vocabulary topics. Every lesson has an audio transcript and shows the vocabulary and grammar discussed. This is one of the best ways for beginners to learn.
Challenge #2: Learning & Remembering New Words
I think GermanPod101 does a decent job teaching vocabulary. Every lesson includes a manageable amount of new words – around 10 words and phrases. You can listen and practice the words in a few different ways too. There are also many additional German vocabulary exercises if you want to learn many words quickly. There are vocabulary lists, word banks, and a dictionary.
Challenge #3: Understanding & Speaking to Native Speakers
GermanPod101 could do better in this area. Each lesson does include a dialogue in German, but the rest of the lesson is in English. There are no speaking practices besides repeating vocabulary words after the teacher. Apps like Pimsleur and Babbel do a much better job of helping you interact with native German speakers. Rosetta Stone is another popular option that completely immerses you in German.
On the app, you still have access to the dictionary, but clicking on a word takes you to another screen. It still works, but I found it more convenient to have the dictionary on the same screen, like on the online platform, especially for the lessons where I had to look up a lot of the words.
Challenge #4: Making Language Learning a Routine
The GermanPod101 activities are easy to complete, even with a tight schedule. Most lessons are 10-20 minutes, and you can listen without having to look at the screen if you need to go hands-free. There's also an app, and you can easily switch between the online platform and the app without losing your progress.
GermanPod101 Review: Overall Learning Experience
In general, GermanPod101 is a solid way to learn German. The German course isn't as developed as some of the other languages that Innovative Languages offers, but there is enough content to achieve a conversational level in the language. There are more lessons for beginners and intermediate learners than for advanced.
The lessons are quick so you can do a few in one day. Each lesson incorporates a little bit about German culture, and I really enjoyed learning about the culture and how it affects the language. If you get tired of the lessons, there are tons of vocabulary practices and short bonus lessons that cover a wide variety of interests.
GermanPod101 Review: Areas of Improvement
I enjoyed learning with GermanPod101, but there are some things that could be improved. My biggest complaint is that almost the entire lesson is in English. I didn’t feel that I was being immersed in the language at all. I am at a beginner German level, so I needed the explanations in English, but it felt like I was wasting time by hearing so much English. Like I mentioned before, Pimsleur and Babbel would be much better options in this respect.
Because I’m a beginner, I don’t know what a good/bad accent sounds like. In the comment section in a lot of the GermanPod101 lessons, people felt disappointed because the lessons are taught by one native German speaker and one non-native speaker. Other users commented that his pronunciation is not very clear and that he's difficult to understand. Rosetta Stone and Busuu are two options that can help you improve your pronunciation.
The last area of improvement is that there are almost no exercises to practice grammar. After most lessons, there is a multiple choice quiz that reviews the different topics from the lesson. These are good to make sure you understand the topics, but they aren’t very thorough. Clicking on an answer doesn’t help me remember as well as typing out the word (although this can be tedious sometimes). For more helpful practice exercises, there are apps like Drops and Clozemaster.
GermanPod101 Review: Alternatives & Competitors
I liked using GermanPod101, but maybe it’s not for you. There are tons of other German language apps available. If you like using audio lessons, you can check out Pimsleur and Rocket German. If you want to watch videos, Yabla, Lingopie, and FluentU are by far the best options. For fast-paced lessons that you can quickly complete, you can try DuoLingo or MosaLingua. Mondly is another option that uses technology in a really cool way to help you learn.
GermanPod101 and Babbel have similar lesson styles. They use a dialogue between two native speakers to highlight different vocabulary and grammar topics. Babbel’s lessons are shorter and tackle less information per lesson. GermanPod101’s lessons are more extensive, but use a lot of English. GermanPod101 is the cheaper option because you can choose what subscription level you want. In general, you’ll probably learn more with Babbel. See if Babbel is right for you in this Babbel review.
GermanPod101 and Rosetta Stone both give you the option to interact with native teachers. GermanPod101 offers 1-on-1 feedback on assignments, and Rosetta stone has live classes you can join. Rosetta Stone has lessons that focus on one topic, such as listening, speaking, and grammar. GermanPod101 mixes all of this in one lesson. Both apps are similar in price when you pay for a monthly subscription, but Rosetta Stone is the better option if you want lifetime access. If you want to learn more about how it works, check out this Rosetta Stone review.
GermanPod101 and Rocket German are very similar. They both have audio and video lessons, along with lesson transcripts, flashcards, and quizzes. But Rocket German mixes its audio/video lessons with lessons where you read the information. It’s difficult to compare prices because on Rocket German you buy the level and have lifetime access, but on GermanPod101 you pay per month. In my opinion, Rocket German is better if you want to follow a guided course. You can learn more about Rocket German in this review.
GermanPod101 and Pimsleur both use audio-based lessons. Pimsleur offers more practice exercises after the lesson to help you really understand what you heard. Depending on your subscription, Pimsleur may be more expensive than GermanPod101. You’ll become conversational a lot more quickly though. While both have strong points, Pimsleur wins this comparison. You can learn more about the pros and cons of Pimsleur in this review.
Both GermanPod101 and Mondly have quick lessons. GermanPod’s lessons focus on listening to conversations and Mondly’s lessons use short practices like fill-in-the-blank or spelling words to help you learn vocabulary. Mondly is the cheaper alternative, even if you buy the Lifetime subscription which includes all of Mondly’s languages. I found Mondly’s lessons to be more engaging since you are constantly answering questions and not passively listening. If you think Mondly might be right for you, you can read more about it in this review.
Frequently Asked Questions
GermanPod101 is a series of audio and video lessons that teach German. There is an online platform or phone app so you can learn anywhere. They offer a wide variety of audio and video lessons. There are more lessons for beginners and intermediate level than for advanced speakers.
GermanPod101 offers a Free Lifetime Account, which is truly free and you don’t have to enter credit card information. With the free account, you get access to 100+ lessons, new daily lessons, vocabulary and phrase lists, and more. If you want access to all of the lessons and features available, you will need a paid subscription.
GermanPod101 is a good way to learn German. There are many audio and video lessons to complete. There is more content for beginners and intermediate learners than for advanced.
About This GermanPod101 Review
This is an independent GermanPod101 review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I signed up for the 7-day free trial and used the app for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the GermanPod101 website to verify my findings.