The Top 15 Best Online German Classes (Learn German in 2020!)

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Many people have the misconception that German is an impossible language to learn, with its long, compounded words and noun genders. But fortunately, German isn't as hard to learn as you may think. In fact, German pronunciation is much more consistent than English, where the rules of letters and sounds change often. Let's take a look at the top 15 classes to learn German in 2020!

What are the Benefits of Learning German?

Have you been wanting to learn German, but aren’t sure if you should take the leap?

Learning a new language is a lot of work, so it’s wise to make sure your effort is worthwhile. Therefore, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of learning German.

Education

In America, college fees (including room and board) can cost as much as $50,000 per year

In Germany, tuition fees are basically nonexistent.

In 2014, Germany’s abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public German universities. 

Public universities receive money from the state, which is directly invested in higher education. 

The idea is that if more people are able to get an education, economic growth and a highly skilled workforce will be the result. Smart, right? 

In fact, 48 universities in Germany are considered among the very best in the world.

Unfortunately, opportunities to study in Germany in English are currently very limited.

The catch is that you must pass a test to prove that you’re proficient enough in German to gain admission.

There are two main tests you can take:

  • Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang or DSH- (meaning German language examination for university entrance)
  • TestDaF

Make more Money 

Learning a language has been shown to add between 10–15% to your paycheck

German, in particular, is an extremely lucrative language to learn. 

Here is a breakdown of a few secondary languages and their annual bonuses (as reported by The Economist).

Spanish — 1.5 percent bonus

French — 2.3 percent bonus

German — 3.8 percent bonus

Is German Easy to Learn?

Many people have the misconception that German is an impossible language to learn, with its long, compounded words and noun genders. But fortunately, German isn’t as hard to learn as you may think.

English and German share thousands of cognates. These are words that sound the same and have the same meanings. 

Both English and German belong to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. You might be surprised at how many German words are the same as English. Here’s just a few:

  • Baby
  • Ball
  • Arm
  • Basketball 
  • Computer 

The list goes on. In fact, 80% of common English words have Germanic origins.

Afraid of tricky pronunciations? The good news is that German pronunciation isn’t as hard as it seems. 

Once you learn how certain letter combinations and letters sound, you can count on this being consistent– making it much easier to learn. 

In fact, German pronunciation is much more consistent than English, where the rules of letters and sounds change often.

Should I Learn German Online? 

If you’re considering learning German online, you may be wondering if a virtual classroom is right for you. 

More and more companies are picking up on the benefits of learning online- German classes are no exception.

So whether you’ve never taken an online class before, or you’re a virtual learning pro, many people are skeptical about learning a language online. 

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of online language learning. 

Pros:

  • Learn at your own pace without feeling rushed or overwhelmed
  • Commute: if it takes you 30 minutes to commute to a physical classroom, virtual learning will save you a minimum of 26 hours per year
  • Learn German from a coffee shop, workplace, or from your cozy warm bed (no judgement!) Learning from your perfect setting will set you up for success and help calm your first-day nerves. Having an effective learning environment makes all the difference!
  • Cost: learning German online is almost always significantly cheaper than private in-person lessons.
  • Organization: it’s easy to achieve textbook level organization online (Color coding is the best!)

Let’s take a look at the top 15 classes (by category) to learn German in 2020.

Top 5 Classes for Business German (Geschäftsdeutsch)

1. Marktplatz

Marktplatz is a free (yes free!) online class designed to teach you the basics of business German. It comes with 26 lessons that can be downloaded for free as PDF’s.

If you’re more of an audio learner, the lessons can also be downloaded as podcasts. This is a great option if you want to learn the basics of business German without spending a dime.

2. Deutsch am Arbeitsplatz

Another free tool, Deutsch am Arbeitsplatz offers 122 different exercises that can be used in workplace scenarios.

The lessons are categorized by profession type, making it easy to find business German lessons that are related to your field.

3. GermanPod101

GermanPod101 is a German learning website that offers podcasts with lively hosts, spaced repetition vocab cards, detailed PDF lessons, and over 14,000 audio and video lessons. It’s not free, but the price is very reasonable. 

With the basic subscription you get access to all podcast episodes, lesson notes, and checklists. 

The price of this level can be as little as $4 a month for 24 months or as high as $8 a month for one month.

If you’re not interested in paying the monthly fee, GermanPod101 has a YouTube channel.

Their channel has tons of videos organized into helpful playlists (based on experience level and learning goals).

They’re definitely worth checking out if you want to learn business German in a more casual style.


4. Babbel

Babbel offers an excellent German business course where you can learn everything from applications and interviews to business trips and meetings.

Babbel has six different business German courses to choose from: On the Telephone, Emails, Conversations, Applications, Business Trips, and Meetings.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive business German course, this is a great option.

Their subscriptions start at $12.95/mo and fall to $6.95/mo if you were to purchase an annual plan.

5. MinuteLanguages

MinuteLanguages offers a completely updated 2020 version of their German Business Course. You can also exchange with other learners and people from Germany with their forum. 

The German Business course includes topics like writing business letters, making appointments with colleagues, organizing the assignment of duties, and more.

Their basic package consists of Business German 1, 2, and 3. It costs (US) $50.00

Their second package is $97 but contains much more content, including “Intermediate Business German”.

Whichever package you purchase, your course will be available to use for 10 years.

Top 5 Classes to Learn German for Beginners 

If you’re a total beginner in German, you’re not alone. There are many online resources for absolute beginners.


1. Udemy

Udemy utilizes the learning potential of video to learn German if you’re a total beginner. The course includes:

-2.5 hours of on-demand video

-34 downloadable resources

-Full lifetime access

-Access on mobile and TV

Listening to German through video will help to familiarize yourself with pronunciations and the way German conversation sounds.

It costs US $13, so it is definitely an affordable beginner’s course.

2. The German Project 

The German Project delivers French lessons for beginners in the form of a podcast. This is a great option if you’re a multitasker and enjoy learning through audio. 

The lessons include basic pronouns, how to pronounce German words, the bare minimum you need to survive, and more. 

They also have German children’s stories, which is great for familiarizing kids with German in a fun way

3. Lingoda

Lingoda offers beginner German courses with only three students at a time, so you can get plenty of time with your teacher. 

Classes are 60 minutes long and you can choose between group or private classes. Their course package also includes downloadable learning materials based on the European Framework (CEFR). 

CEFR is an international standard for describing language ability. 

It describes language ability on a six-point scale. A1 for beginners, all the way up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. 

You can choose your German learning plan from three different options: Walk, Run, or Sprint- depending on how quickly you want to learn German.

4. Transparent Language

Transparent Language uses science to make learning German easier. 

More so than other language learning companies, they rely on evidence from the experts in both linguistics and neuroscience to create products. 

These products are supported with proven best practices from the nation’s best in professional language learning and government agencies.

Transparent Language uses the Declarative Method to teach German to beginners.

Transparent Language explains the Declarative Theory as being “based on research about how the brain functions, and how best to take advantage of that when learning a new language. “

Neuroscientists have found that two brain systems – the declarative memory and the procedural memory are involved in learning German, and they have found a way to enhance learning.

 Memorizing a sufficient number of vocabulary words is an important part of language proficiency, especially at beginner levels. 

Transparent Language designed their course to facilitate declarative learning as the building block for successful language skill-building.

    5. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has been on the market for over 20 years, and has a solid reputation in the online language-learning community. 

Each lesson includes exercises that are practical and engineered to help beginner’s get a good head-start. 

Rosetta Stone also has an app that allows users to download lesson units and study on the go.

 Another cool feature is “Seek and Speak” where you can point your phone at an object and get a translation in real time.

Top 5 Classes to Learn German for Travel 

1. Fluenz

Fluenz claims to be better than Duolingo, because it is a more thorough method of learning German. 

Their lessons methodically break down the complex grammar and syntax in a way that makes sense.

Fluenz is used by Google, the UN, Apple, and the Navy’s Special Warfare Command.

You can use Fluenz on all of your devices, making it easier to learn on the go. 

Their German 1 course has been designed to prepare you for the most important and common situations you’ll face in the German-speaking world, so this is a great option if travel to Germany is in your future. Fluenz believes in using English to teach German. 

Other language learning classes (like Rosetta Stone) fully immerse students in the language, without using any English to explain phrases.

Fluenz believes adults learn best when they can relate the grammar and syntax of a foreign language to the structure of the tongue they already know.

2. Amazing Talker

Amazing Talker thinks that learning a language should be more than just grammar, and more like making friends. Students are tutored by someone who speaks German fluently. 

Knowing the benefits that conversation has on language memory and retention, it’s a no-brainer that a friendly tutor who puts you at ease (even as an absolute beginner) will help you learn more, faster.

You can buy one lesson or 100 lessons: you can pay as you go.

Their extensive tutor profiles make it easy to find the right fit. Each profile has a self-introduction video, resume, and student’s reviews.

Each tutor’s rating is broken down by category based on student’s reviews: satisfaction rate, attendance rate, and reply rate. 

Amazing Talker utilizes AI technology so that, if desired, you can enter your basic information, and their algorithm will pair you with a list of best-fit tutors based on your requirements.

3. Lingo Hut

Lingo Hut offers a free German class for those that are planning on traveling to Germany. 

Most of their 109 lessons focus on travel topics such as understanding directions, airport and hotel conversations, moving around town, sightseeing, shopping, ordering food at a restaurant, etc.

 Every lesson includes flashcards, matching, tic-tac-toe, vocabulary training, concentration games, and a listening game. 

Lingo Hut definitely tries to make learning German fun. Considering it’s 100% free, you really can’t go wrong. 

While it may not be nearly as extensive as some of the paid classes, it’s a good resource to learn the basics of navigating social situations before traveling to Germany. 

4. Living Language

Living Language is an online German course that is packed with vocabulary, grammar, culture notes, and games. 

The class also features videos of native speakers to help further familiarize with German pronunciation. 

You can book a free trial lesson, to see if Living Language is right for you. 

Their German Comprehensive Course is sold at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year. This package ranges from (US) $39-$150. 

They also have a speciality course called “Passport German” which has all the basics you need to travel abroad in Germany. It costs $50.

Know someone else that is interested in learning German too? For $75, a friend can join you in “Passport German” as well.

5. Language Trainers

Language Trainers has a course titled “German Beyond the Phrasebook” which is specifically designed with travelers in mind. 

Students will learn how to give and receive instructions, shop confidently, order food, exchange money, book hotel accommodations and many more necessary phrases that will help the student to get the very best out of their trip abroad.

 Whether you’re going to Germany for school, work, etc. Language Trainers can tailor each learner’s program to get them ready to travel confidently.

This course is designed as ten 1-hour sessions but This can be reduced to five 1-hour sessions when there is little time available before the trip.

They offer either face-to-face lessons or Skype lessons with your teacher.

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