Review of: Hebrewpod101
Use: Immerse yourself into the language of Hebrew through audio lessons designed like podcasts.
Engaging podcasts help you learn words in context. But you'll have to practice speaking on your own
Free content and monthly plans at $4 to $47 per month
Each podcast is around 15 minutes long.
Ease of Use
Digital immersion without the tedious work
Podcasts are sorted by level of difficulty and subject.
- 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: With Hebrewpod101 you get access to over 700 audio based podcast Hebrew lessons for a monthly subscription fee.
Hebrewpod101 functions as a full on Hebrew course divided by learning level. You can either go through each lesson in order, or skip around the site if you want.
The course is ideal for beginners and useful for intermediates, but advanced students of Hebrew will probably find the content lacking. The majority of lesson material is dedicated to beginners.
The podcasts are a good way to listen to native Hebrew speakers and compare your pronunciation. The episodes also introduce new vocabulary and grammar and are, for the most part, pretty engaging.
Hebrewpod101 is available on their mobile app so that you learn on the move. The site offers a free account along with a free all access 7 day trial. You don’t to give your payment information so it’s good idea to try out the site before you commit to anything.
Subscription plans starting at $4 per month (Free plan available too)
Is Hebrewpod101 right for you?
Advanced Hebrew students will find a lack of more difficult lessons, but beginners and intermediates have a lot of podcasts to choose from. For whatever reason the focus of Hebrewpod101 seems to be toward the low and mid levels of Hebrew students.
If you want to practice understanding native speakers or maybe work on your accent then Hebrewpod101 can be a useful tool. Each podcast episode is organized around a scripted conversation between two native speakers. By using the slow playback feature and lesson scripts they can be a powerful tool for listening to spoken Hebrew.
The lessons are also good for learning grammar and vocabulary. The hosts of the lessons do a decent job of sharing important content without being boring or dry.
You can get Hebrewpod101 on your phone through the site’s app, making it a great choice if you want to practice your Hebrew on mobile. The app is available for Android, Iphone, and Ipad.
Each podcast episode is introduced by two hosts who introduce and breakdown each lesson. At the core of each lesson is a Hebrew dialogue that usually illustrates a particular point of grammar, culture, or maybe just a useful Hebrew phrase. Episodes are typically between 5 and 15 minutes long.
The Hebrew conversations are written to take place in real life situations. This keeps the grammar and vocabulary interesting and useful. This way you’re more likely to learn Hebrew that you could use if you met another Hebrew speaker in the real world.
Episodes feel like a Podcast not a course
The podcast episodes feel more personal than your standard input/output Hebrew audio course. The hosts usually do a good job keeping you engaged by bantering back and forth and sharing facts or tips relevant to the lesson.
Tools & Resources
Hebrewpod101 supplies a bundle of add on materials to help you study Hebrew. These bonus features include phrase lists, pronunciation helps, grammar charts, and a dictionary.
A lot of these features are generic and can be found on other free Hebrew learning sites, but there are 3 others that can be quite useful: the flashcards, playback, and transcript features. Regrettably, you only get access to these if you pay for the premium or premium plus subscriptions.
Similar to Anki or Memrise, Hebrewpod101’s flashcards run on a Spaced Repetition System, and are easy to make. You simply pick any word from an episode and Hebrewpod101 will create a card for it and put it in your deck. This can be a nice time saver when compared to making flashcards in other apps.
In Hebrewpod101 you can pick any word from a dialogue and play it back at either slow or normal speed. Needless to say this will a big help if you have trouble pronouncing or understanding spoken Hebrew. Playing a word back slower allows you notice the intricacies of a native accent.
The site also has full transcription of their podcast episodes. Using the transcripts you can read along to the Hebrew conversations or read transcripts as a review.
For a monthly subscription to Hebrewpod101 there are 3 options: basic, premium, and premium plus. You also have the option to buy multiple months upfront. The more months you purchase at once the less you’ll be charged per month.
If you purchase the basic level you will get the podcast lessons. A single month will cost $8. The monthly rate will be lowest ($4) if you buy 24 months.
Should you buy the premium level you’ll receive the podcast and all the tools and resources (most valuable probably being the transcripts). A single month here will run you $25. You’ll pay $10 per month at 24 months.
The premium plus level is the most costly and is $47 for one month ($22.88 a month for 24 months). The premium level comes with the podcasts, tools and resources, and pointers and help from a Hebrew teacher.
Which is the best value?
The basic subscription, hands down. In reality you won’t need more than the podcast episodes to practice or improve your Hebrew. The premium subscription is next on the list. The added tools are great if you are sure that you’ll use them.
To me the lesson transcripts make it a tempting offer. At the bottom of the list is the premium plus subscription. The price is just too questionable considering what you’re getting. I’d rather pay for the basic subscription and then book a Hebrew lesson (maybe two) on Italki before paying for the premium plus level.
The Cons of using Hebrewpod101
Lack of advance episodes
Hebrewpod101 has significantly more beginner and intermediate lessons than it does advanced. Though there are some advanced episodes on the site, it would be great if they updated it with more.
Lack of speaking practice
Because it’s purely audio based Hebrewpod101 can’t help you practice your spoken Hebrew, other than maybe in your pronunciation. The site can be an effective tool but remember that if you do decide to use it you’ll still need to set aside time to practice using Hebrew with other people.
Lack of community
Hebrewpod101 would benefit greatly by add some way to connect their community of Hebrew learners. A language exchange, blog, discussion board...something.
Best way to use Hebrewpod101
Study & review
Hebrewpod101 is great when you use it in addition to a Hebrew course or lessons with a Hebrew teacher. Listening to at least an episode each day will help you remember the Hebrew you’ve learned elsewhere and it will expose you to new words and phrases you haven’t yet encountered.
The in site flashcards can also be a good if you spend a few minutes after each episode making and reviewing your deck.
Listening & pronunciation
If you take each Hebrew word from an episode, or maybe just the ones you have trouble with, you can play them back slowly and try to mimic the sounds you here.
This is a simple yet effective way to help you better understand spoken Hebrew. Also try listening to the dialogues with and without the lesson transcripts to help strengthen your listening skills.
Milk your time for all its worth
Because it's a podcast you can listen to Hebrewpod101 anytime and pretty much anywhere. You take short moments of 10 or 15 minutes from each day and use them to practice Hebrew. Every little bit will help further your fluency in the Hebrew language.
Alternatives to Hebrewpod101
30 minutes a day
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 the only audio course I know of that helps you practice speaking Hebrew as if you were having a conversation.
5+ minutes a day
Duolingo is the best known language app, and for good reason. It's proven to be an affective way to learn basic grammar and vocabulary in a game like setting.
Their Hebrew course is great for getting your wet feet, and best of all it's free!
$6+ per hour (varies between teachers)
30 minute or 1 hour lessons
An intro video from one of Italki's Hebrew teachers.
Italki is an online market place that connects language learners with language teachers for one-on-one language classes via video or audio chat.
You can connect with language speakers from around the world and practice your speaking skills. Italki is one of the only sites out there that provides lessons with professional Hebrew teachers.
*with a purchase of $20 or more. After your first purchased lesson a credit of $10 will be added to your account
With an affordable basic monthly subscription and an effective lesson format Hebrewpod101 is a valuable Hebrew learning resource.
While it doesn’t provide enough direction and structure to be considered a true course or class, it can help you a lot with vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar. Just remember to practice with native speakers to develop your speaking skills.
Hebrewpod101 has a one week free trial offer (you don’t need a credit card). Give it a shot for yourself and tell us what you think!