KoreanClass101 Review: An Honest Look at Features, Cost + Alternatives
KoreanClass101 teaches the basics all the way to an advanced level. The audio lessons are helpful to hear a native accent and practice listening, but there are no speaking exercises. The cultural insights are very interesting and help to understand Korean language.
- Access to tons of lessons
- Learn a lot of vocabulary
- Easy and fast lessons
- No speaking practice
- Limited teaching of Korean writing system
- Not a lot of grammar practice
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There are many reasons to learn Korean. For example, Korean is the one of the most spoken languages with over 80 million native speakers. The Korean language and culture are also influential around the world, especially in the arts. Korean pop music (K-Pop) has brought the Korean language to fans all around the world!
And one of the most popular apps to learn Korean is KoreanClass101. There are thousands of lessons broken down into 5 different levels: absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced. All lessons use audio or video so you are always hearing a native speaker. The lessons focus on a dialogue, and then break it down to learn different vocabulary and grammar topics.
KoreanClass101 is a useful app for learning the language naturally, especially for beginners. The beginning levels use English to explain everything you hear in Korean. They also teach interesting cultural topics. It is not necessary to know Hangul, the Korean alphabet, either. KoreanClass101 offers videos and practices to help you can learn it.
Less English is used as you advance through the levels too. By the time you reach the advanced level, all lessons are taught in Korean without English explanations. This will help you become fluent in Korean quickly!
KoreanClass101 offers free lifetime access to some of its content. This includes some lessons and other resources such as the Korean dictionary and vocabulary lists. There are 3 levels of paid subscriptions. A Basic subscription costs between $4.00 and $8.00 per month depending on how many months you buy. A Premium subscription costs $10.00 and $25.00 per month, and a Premium+ subscription costs $23.00 and $47.00 per month.
So which subscription is worth it? The Basic subscription gives you access to all the lessons, but not to a lot of the extra resources and practice material. The Premium subscription gives you access to all content available on the platform, but you do not get the 1-on-1 access to a teacher who gives you feedback and guides you through the course. This is only available with a Premium+ subscription.
In my opinion, the Premium+ subscription is not worth it. If you want to learn with an online Korean teacher, you can try other sites like Preply, italki, or Verbling. The Premium subscription price is more expensive than some of the other apps too. Memrise and Drops are less expensive options for learning vocabulary, but don’t teach much grammar or cultural topics. Lingodeer is similar in price to KoreanClass101 and offers an excellent amount of value.
KoreanClass101 offers a free, 7-day trial. During the trial, you have access to all of the features and content available with a Premium subscription. You do not have to enter any credit card information to start the trial.
KoreanClass101 offers many discounts. When you create an account, you will be offered 2 separate discounts. The first is a special promo that gives you a month-long Premium subscription for $1.00. I was also offered a 10% discount to upgrade my account during my free trial.
There is also a student discount available. Students can receive a 20% discount on all yearly subscriptions. You do not have to have a student email address to receive this discount.
It was very easy to start learning with KoreanClass101. It took less than 5 minutes and I did not have to enter my credit card information. After confirming my email address, I had to answer a few questions and then started learning.
You don’t have to take a placement test either. There are 5 different levels available: absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate, upper-intermediate, and advanced. You choose the level that is right for you based on some criteria. It is easy to change your level if the one you originally chose turns out to be too easy or too hard.
When you select a level, a learning “pathway” is added to your dashboard. This is a series of lessons you can follow in a logical order. Each pathway begins with a diagnostic test to see if you should start from the beginning of the pathway or if you should skip some of the lessons.
Getting started with KoreanClass101 is easy, but language learning in general can be difficult. In fact, it can seem like a constant uphill battle! There are a lot of challenges language learners face, no matter what level they are. So to help you figure out if KoreanClass101 can help you overcome the most common challenges, let’s take a look at how it deals with them.
KoreanClass101 is very good for beginners. The Absolute Beginner Pathway starts from zero and slowly introduces you to the Korean language. They don’t even bring up grammar points until the second pathway. Because most of the explanations are in English, it’s also easy to follow along.
Although you don’t have to learn Hangul, the Korean writing system, it’s highly encouraged. The Absolute Beginner Pathway gives you resources and checkpoints to help you learn Hangul as you progress through the pathway.
KoreanClass101 has a strong focus on learning vocabulary. In addition to the vocabulary they teach in every lesson, there are tons of other resources to help you learn vocabulary, such as flashcards and a Korean dictionary. The free account includes these tools too!
Because all of the lessons are audio or video-based, you will hear Korean spoken by a native speaker, not an automated voice. This is useful for training your ear to understand Korean speakers. However, there aren’t any exercises for you to practice speaking. You can try another app like HelloTalk to connect with a language partner to practice speaking. The italki platform is another place to find native Korean speakers who are actually tutors too.
Getting in the routine of learning a language can be really difficult, especially when you’re just starting out. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming to fit studying in between work, friends and family, the gym, and all your other commitments.
With the mobile app and online platform, it’s easy to study with KoreanClass101 though. I like that the lessons are usually under 10 minutes so I can just do one or two if I don’t have much time. KoreanClass101 doesn’t use games and points/badges that other apps use, but it does display your progress to see how you are advancing.
Overall, I really enjoyed learning with KoreanClass101. Since my level of Korean is very low, I started with the absolute beginner level. I did not feel overwhelmed by the lessons, like I have been with other apps (like Rosetta Stone). KoreanClass101 provides a good amount of explanation and practice material to help learn.
I also like the additional resources it has. After I had taken a couple of lessons, I was ready to try other activities, so I explored the other practices such as the lessons to learn Hangul and a list of 100 Most Common Korean Words. These resources are nice for beginners, but might not be that helpful for someone at an advanced level.
I liked using KoreanClass101, but there are some areas that could be improved. Korean grammar is very difficult, but there are not enough examples or practice activities to really understand the topic. There are a few multiple choice quizzes, but if you get an answer wrong, there is no explanation why. Other apps such as Talk To Me In Korean or Duolingo have a much larger focus on grammar.
There is also not a way to practice speaking. During the lessons, you listen and repeat some vocabulary words after the teacher, but there is no feedback. Even the Premium+ subscription, which comes with access to a 1-on-1 teacher, does not let you talk to the teacher in person. To practice speaking, there are free language exchange app like Tandem or HelloTalk that can connect you to a Korean language partner.
If you don’t think KoreanClass101 is right for you, there are many other alternative Korean apps. Because the free access is limited, there are other apps like Duolingo or Viki that are free. Other apps, like Pimsleur and Lingodeer, place a larger emphasis on speaking. If you want to learn a lot of Korean vocabulary quickly, you can try Drops or Memrise. Rocket Korean is one of the best apps for an all-around approach to learn Korean.
KoreanClass101 and Pimsleur have similar lesson formats. Both include a dialogue between native speakers with a breakdown of the vocabulary and grammar topics from the conversation. Pimsleur’s explanations are done by a recorded voice that gets monotonous, but KoreanClass101’s lessons are taught by the same two speakers that do the dialogue. This makes it more of a conversation. Pimsleur includes more practice activities to make sure you understood the subject though. Try a lesson for free on both and see which one you like more. You can also read more about Pimsleur in this review.
Lingodeer is more of a flashcard style app that uses quick lessons centered around one specific topic. Because of this, it is easy and fast to complete a lesson, but you don’t get the in-depth explanations that KoreanClass101 lessons have. Depending on what subscription you get, the prices are pretty similar, with Lingodeer being slightly less expensive. If you are a casual learner, Lingodeer might be the better choice, but if you need an in-depth look at Korean, then KoreanClass101 is better. If you are interested in Lingodeer, you can read more about it in this review.
Rocket Korean uses audio lessons based around a conversation, just like KoreanClass101. But Rocket lessons are much longer, usually 20-40 minutes. Rocket is also cheaper because you buy the whole package upfront. However, there is less advanced content than on KoreanClass101. Rocket Korean only goes to the intermediate level and KoreanClass101 goes up to advanced. You can read more about Rocket Korean in this review. You can also try a free lesson to see if you like the format.
Like KoreanClass101, Memrise also uses audio from native Korean speakers. KoreanClass101 has longer lessons with more explanations and Memrise uses the short, flashcard-style lessons. Memrise is the cheaper option if you get a monthly subscription. I like Memrise more to learn the basics, but if you want to become an intermediate or advanced speaker, KoreanClass101 is definitely the better option. If you think Memrise might be right for you, you can read more about it in this review.
KoreanClass101 is a language learning platform that teaches Korean language and culture. It is part of the Innovative Language company.
KoreanClass101 is a good option for learning Korean. The lessons are easy to follow and explain different vocabulary and grammar points. There are also additional resources such as vocabulary lists and a dictionary to help you practice.
KoreanClass101 offers free access to some lessons and other resources. You can access the first 3 lessons of every pathway as well as new, weekly lessons. There are 3 levels of paid subscription if you want to access more content.
Yes, KoreanClass101 has an app. With free access and any paid subscription, you can use the online platform or mobile app. Your account is synced across both platforms so you can use either and pick up where you last left off.
This is an independent KoreanClass101 review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I used the 7-day, free trial to the app and used it for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the KoreanClass101 website to verify my findings.