When you’re looking to learn a new language, especially one that can be as complex and different from your own as Chinese, it’s important to find the best possible teachers and the best methods for keeping you studying. Online Chinese courses offer a great way for you to be able to study on your own schedule, at your own pace, and help beat back the frustration that can come from having to drive weekly to a different location as you struggle with the early basics.
When you’re sitting in the comfort of your home with a favorite drink in hand, suddenly it’s easier to stick with the long term goal of learning a new language. There are a wide variety of online Chinese courses, and one of the keys is to figure out your specific needs and also what will motivate you.
Option #1: Online Classes From A University Program.
This is a popular option for a variety of reasons. One of the most obvious is the idea of college credit, or at the very least the security of knowing that you have an instructor who is going to truly know the material inside and out.
This also has the added bonus of forcing you to commit daily or weekly to learning Chinese and not just slacking off. For individuals who need a little bit of a push, it’s a great way to go since you have an instructor, classmates, and a grade to hold you accountable.
Option #2: Free Internet Courses
This is a popular option for obvious reasons. Aside from the price tag, these are almost certainly courses for the pure beginner, designed to cover the very basics and help get you comfortable with speaking and writing Chinese.
However the drawbacks should also be obvious. The old saying “You get what you pay for,” usually applies here and free courses in general do cover only the very basics, without any support if you get confused or mixed up. Also add in the fact that most people have been shown to feel less pressured or invested when something is free, and you’re working against the psychology of motivation.
Option #3: Paid Specialty Classes
You’ll want to do your homework when looking at these options but whether it’s finding something with a well established language program, finding a Udemy course, or looking for a specialty online course, there are a lot of options. First and foremost is to make sure the course is teaching whatever form of Chinese you wish to learn. There’s a big difference between Mandarin, Cantonese, or any of the other Chinese dialects.
The next step is to make sure an online course has audio and video – in other words, methods that help you use all your senses to truly learn the language inside and out. Finally, make sure to look around for reviews if you can find them. Bad reviews can be as telling as good ones, and will help guide you to the actual online course that will do you the most good on your quest to learn Chinese.