GermanPod101 Review (Features & Shortcomings) - Live Fluent

GermanPod101 Review (Features & Shortcomings)

Germanpod101 was one of the first courses I came across while searching for German learning resources. The site has a reputation for being both an affordable and effective way to learn German. 

In this post we explore the ins and outs of Germanpod101 and give some practical tips on how or if it can be used to increase your German abilities. Enjoy!

Review of: Germanpod101

Use: German learning podcasts in the form of audio lessons along with in site study tools and resources.

Effectives

Engaging podcasts help you learn words in context. But you'll have to practice speaking on your own

Price

Free content and monthly plans at $4 to $47 per month

Time Commitment

Each podcast is around 15 minutes long.

Ease of Use

Digital immersion without the tedious work

Structure

Podcasts are sorted by level of difficulty and subject.

I Like

  • Over 1,200 podcast lessons
  • Free content and affordable price
  • Lessons are fun and interesting
  • Built in flashcard system

I Don't Like

  • No speaking required
  • Limited community features

Summary: Germanpod101 features German learning podcasts at a monthly subscription price. The site’s content is organized so that you can go step by step through each lesson as your ability in German increases. 

For beginners and intermediates Germanpod101 is an excellent choice. It’s real strength lies in building up your German vocabulary via listening to and understanding real native speakers.

The podcasts are also a great way to improve your pronunciation as well.  

Germanpod101 offers it’s content on the web and also on their app for mobile (you get access to both with a subscription). The site’s free content is pretty substantial, so you can give it a test drive before decide to buy.

Subscription plans starting at $4 per month (Free plan available too)

Is Germanpod101 right for you?

Beginners and intermediate German learners will get the most out of Germanpod101. More advanced students may also find some value in the site. However the bulk of the podcasts are for beginner and intermediate students.

Germanpod101 is primarily an audio based course, so if you want to practice listening to native German speakers then this product is a good option.

The site is also a great tool if you are still learning German grammar and vocabulary. The lessons are set up so that you learn new words and concepts in the context of a scripted but natural conversations.

If you’re looking for a way to practice German while on the go, then Germanpod101 is great for that as well. All site content is available via their mobile app which you can use at no additional cost. Their app is available on Iphone, Ipad, and Android devices.

Features​

Podcast episodes

The mainstay of Germanpod101 are its podcast lessons. Each episode is about 15 minutes long and features a German conversation involving a particular topic. The topics range from grammar, culture, to conversational phrases (like how to say hello).  

Germanpod101 provides well structured lessons around difficulty level and subject

Lifelike situations

The folks behind Germanpod101 try to make the podcasts relevant to real life situations, and so far they have done a decent job. Each episode has one or more “hosts”.

 At the beginning of each lesson they give you a summary of what the lesson will be about. They may also include some interesting info on the German that will be used.

Conversations are natural and interesting

The hosts share personal stories and anecdotes to keep the episodes personal and engaging. This helps keep the mood light, especially when you’re in a very grammar heavy lesson. Germanpod101 stands in contrast to other dry and more matter-of-fact audio courses.

​Tools and Resources

Germanpod101 has an interesting selection of extra tools & resources to help you learn German. A lot of them can be found free elsewhere on the net but some are useful. 

My 3 favorite are the flashcard system, pronunciation review, and the lesson transcripts. Just a heads up: you need a premium or premium plus membership to get these features.  

Flashcards

Germanpod101 offers their own spaced repetition flashcard decks. They make it easy to build your own deck using words you learn in the podcast. You can literally make a new card with one click which is a lot easier then making your own Anki deck.

Pronunciation & accent review

Germanpod101 also has a cool feature that lets you playback words at slow or regular speed and compare your pronunciation to the native speaker’s.

Lesson transcripts

If you have the premium or premium plus subscription level then all podcast episodes come with a transcription of the lesson and German conversation. This is one of the most useful features even though it’s probably the least exciting. 

Other features

Other features include word lists, conjugation sheets, and a German dictionary. As I said before some of these you can find on the internet for free. Even so, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have them in one place.

Price

Subscription levels​

There are three subscription levels for Germanpod101: basic, premium, and premium plus. Like most subscription sites the longer your subscription, the lower the price is per month.

With basic 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 a $8 a month for 1 month. 

Premium gives you all the content in the basic plan in addition to the majority of the extra tools & resources such as flashcards, pronunciation help, and lesson transcriptions. Premium prices start at $10 for 24 month and run up to $25 per month for 1 month.

​Premium plus offers everything in the premium and basic levels with the added benefit of a professional personal assessment, lesson plan, and instruction from a teacher. Premium plus goes from $22.88 per month for 24 months to $47 per months for 1 month. 

Best value​

Unless you want lesson transcripts the basic level is probably your best bet. The premium level isn’t bad either and I think it’s worth it just for the lesson transcripts. The premium plus is steep and you’re better off saving your money and finding a tutor on Italki.

Germanpod101's shortcomings​

No speaking required​

As a learning tool Germanpod101 works well, really well even. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you use to learn German. Their content is good but listening to a podcast will never be better than talking with actual native German speakers.

You can use audio to learn all the German words there are, but without using them in real conversations your ability in the language will stagnate. 

No community​

​Language learning is by nature something best done in a community of other learners. It would be great to see Germanpod101 add some sort of feature to connect its students.

Best way to use Germanpod101​

Study and review

​Germanpod101 is used best if you work through each podcast episode practicing the meaning and pronunciation of any new words. Then you can use their flashcard deck to review them and make them stick. 

Listening & pronunciation​

Using the the dialogues, lessons scripts, and slow playback can really help improve your German pronunciation. You can use these features to make note of any sounds or words you have difficulty with, and then focus your efforts on mastering them. 

Extra German learning time

You can use Germanpod101 on your phone or tablet. Take full advantage of this. Use the app to fills the cracks in your daily schedule with more German practice. Whether you're on the way to work, at lunch, or in line at the store; if you have some headphones and your phone you can practice German pretty much anywhere. ​

Alternatives to Germanpod101

Rocket German

Price

$150

Time commitment

20+ minutes a day 

Summary:

Rocket German is built around recorded audio in the form of dialogues. The dialogues have English explanations and usually teach the language in "chunks" or phrases versus individual words.

The Rocket German approach is more structured and comprehensive than Germanpod101. It also features more in depth help with writing and reading German. 

Price

Starts at $15 per month

Time commitment

5+ minutes a day 

Summary:

Fluentu is a site that helps you learn a language through native videos. Use in site flashcards, captions, and games to learn new words in context while watching German TV shows, movies, commercials, and more. It's a great way to push your listening skills and German vocabulary. 

Price

$150

Time commitment

30 minutes a day 

Summary:

Pimsleur is probably the second most popular language course behind Rosetta Stone. Pimsleur is entirely audio based and is specifically designed to develop your conversational skills.

They use a unique and effective question/recall/respond technique to get you on your feet in your new foreign language. With Pimsleur You'll learn a limited but functional vocabulary and have a good sense of pronunciation.

PImsleur is one of the only audio courses that helps you practice using the language, much like the way you would in a real conversation.

Conclusion

Germanpod101 more than holds its own as a German learning tool. It’s effective and is affordable with cheap monthly subscription options. Its strengths lie in its ability to help you with your pronunciation and teach you grammar and vocabulary. However, it shouldn’t be the only resource you use to learn German. It’s best as a complement. 

With a free week trial it’s at least worth trying it out for yourself. 

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

Leave a Comment: