Editor’s Note: This honest IndonesianPod101 review is up to date as of February 15th, 2022. Whilst this article does contain affiliate links, please bear in mind that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe in.
Learning to speak Indonesian can be a great way to network for business, study a new culture, and even save money when traveling in Southeast Asia. Bahasa Indonesian is spoken by almost 200 million people who live on Indonesia’s nearly 17,000 islands. This makes Indonesia the fourth most populous nation on the planet, and the Indonesian language one of the most widely spoken.
In fact, Indonesia is one of the most geographically and ethnographically diverse countries in the world with unique customs and dialects throughout its territories. You will find Islamic, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist people living amongst urban, rural, tropical, and mountainous regions. Though most tourists visit areas like Bali and Jakarta, you can extend your reach and deepen your travel experiences by learning to speak fluent Indonesian.
Not only is speaking Indonesian language an impressive skill to have, it’s in actual fact one of the simplest languages to learn. There are no verb tenses, genders, or tones, and sentence structure is very similar to that of the English language. Finding the best way to learn Bahasa Indonesia is key.
IndonesianPod101 is one of the more popular programs for learning Bahasa Indonesian. Here is everything you need to know in our in-depth & honest IndonesianPod101 Review.
IndonesianPod101 Review: Summary
Overall Score: 4.2
The Pros: What We Liked About The Course
Pro #1: Logically Ordered Lessons
We love how the content begins with simple words and slowly incorporates more principles of the Indonesian language. The lesson structure makes sense, and this makes the whole learning process less intimidating for someone just starting out. From Absolute Beginners to Advanced Speakers, the lessons begin slowly and introduce you to the target language in context as you move forward through the syllabus.
Pro #2: Ability to Complete Lessons on Your Time
With both desktop and mobile access to your subscription, you can literally learn Bahasa Indonesian anywhere you are. Instead of zoning out on the drive to work, play your audio lessons over your vehicle’s sound system. Likewise, you can watch video lessons right from the app on your phone during your lunch break at work.
With lessons being on average only 15 minutes long and all the lesson notes being fully downloadable, there’s always the opportunity to squeeze in extra language practice whenever and wherever you may be – IndonesianPod101 is completely customizable and can fit to your lifestyle.
Pro #3: Language Learning Tools Galore
IndonesianPod101 offers a whole suite of additional learning tools to supplement your learning. We love the in-depth word and phrase lists that are available for every subscription level. Whether you want to tell your spouse to take out the trash (Bisakah kamu membuang sampah?), or order take-out food (Mari memesan makanan pesan antar), these lists are valuable for day-to-day communications. You will find word banks, flashcards, an Indonesian dictionary, most common word lists, and many more tools to help you master Indonesian (more on this later).
Pro #4: Cultural Focus
One thing that’s common across all the language programs by innovative language is the fact that the lessons have a strong cultural focus weaved into the lessons. Not only are all the language tutors native speakers but they go out of their way during lessons to highlight any cultural norms, traditions or unique Indonesian mannerisms that relate to the language being taught.
Furthermore, there’s a dedicated section in the lesson notes for explaining the culture and providing some more background into how the language fits into a wider cultural sphere. Personally, I love that the team at Innovative Language has taken the time to develop this part of the course as I believe that understanding the cultural references and really ‘getting into the head’ of the local people is essential to really grapple with the language, something that often lacks in many language programs. Studies have also shown that the language becomes far more memorable, and overall the lessons are far more interesting and enjoyable.
The Cons: What We Didn’t Like About The Course
Con #1: Little Feedback with Lower Subscription Plans
Unless you opt for the Premium PLUS subscription, there is little feedback on whether or not your pronunciation is correct. Though you can connect with an online community of other Indonesian learners through IndonesianPod101, it’s not a reliable method for practicing your speaking. These communities are often small, and eventually you will need to find a native speaker to converse with to maintain your language ability.
Con #2: The Syllabus Can Feel Disorganised
The platform’s biggest strength is also its greatest weakness. Being able to pick and choose which learning pathways to pursue gives you an awesome amount of flexibility to focus only on the skills you need to improve the most, or the topics that most interest you. Many traditional language programs will force you down a linear library of lessons without the ability to skip ahead, regardless of whether it personally interests you or whether it’s aligned with your personal needs. IndonesianPod101 is unique in this aspect and very attractive for casual, on the go learners.
However, there’s often a reason why traditional language courses have a set syllabus – so the grammar structures can build upon one another, following a logical sequence. By jumping around from topic to topic your motivation stays high but you run the risk of encountering holes in your knowledge or accidentally encountering confusing content that you’ve never seen before. For this reason, we recommend sticking to the official curated pathways for each level and using all the extra learning pathways as a supplementary tool only.
Con #3: Too much English Being Used
Although it does filter out at the higher levels, we felt that there was generally too much English being spoken in the lessons, with language being explained more than it was demonstrated in practice. I personally prefer a more immersive approach to learning a language, allowing your brain to make sense of the new patterns without forcing yourself to translate all the time. The use of English, however, does help to clarify all the nitty bitty grammar points, and dive deeper into the cultural background.
What are the Lessons Like?
As mentioned, lessons begin slowly and pick up speed as you go. For example, the first lesson for the Absolute Beginner begins by teaching you how to say “thank you” and its many variances, both formal and informal. You will then follow with “You’re Welcome,” self-introductions, and basic greetings. Each lesson is generally between 4 and 12 minutes long.
The native hosts speak clearly and enunciate while slowly moving through each lesson. They offer explanations about why certain words are used and what they translate to when needed. Even as a beginner, it can seem as if the lessons are drawn out, but keep in mind repetition is key to learning Indonesian.
Once you’ve progressed to the Advanced level, you will begin learning more about Indonesian customs and how to react in certain situations. Scenarios include Indonesian weddings, joining a gym in Indonesia, and what’s up with Indonesian movies. The lessons are both practical and relatable to today’s lifestyles.
After listening to the audio or watching the video, there’s usually a dialogue for you to see the language being used in an authentic context. The dialogue is broken down line by line, with added functionality built in to allow you to listen to the pronunciation of each line and record yourself for direct comparison. You are then provided with a vocabulary list of all the new terms introduced in the lesson, a grammar bank, transcript, cultural notes, and full lesson notes. As already mentioned, all these resources are fully downloadable for offline learning, including the lesson mp3 files.
Additional Learning Tools
Innovative Language has been offering language programs for years now and it’s safe to say they’ve got their learning platform down to a tee, with all the useful features and tools incorporated directly into the platform itself. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.
The word bank is your own personal way of saving any vocab term you encounter during any of the lessons, allowing you to return to it later. This way you’ll never lose a new word! Within the word bank you can add labels, categorise them, create flashcard decks, or export your entire list into an excel document.
Spaced Repetition Flashcards
For those who learn best through flashcards you’ll be glad to know that IndonesianPod101 has a built-in flashcard system, just like the more popular Anki or Quizlet. There’s many pre-made sets to choose from, otherwise you can make your own. Each word generally comes with many example sentences and you can listen to the pronunciation and record your own voice. When you are ready you can test yourself and track your progress. A great way for building up your memory bank of new vocabulary.
2000 Most Common Words List
Here you’ll find a comprehensive list of the most used words in Indonesian, allowing you to focus on only the most crucial and important words first. You can break the list down by category, or even into the most common 100 words, 200 words etc.
Still confused about the word order? Or perhaps you just want to double check a verb conjugation? The grammar bank allows you to search through hundreds of articles to find the specific grammar explanation you’re after.
Who Should Buy IndonesianPod101?
IndonesianPod101 is an optimal language learning program for individuals who:
Who Shouldn’t Buy IndonesianPod101
Language learning programs are not a one-size-fits-all system. Those who might not benefit from IndonesianPod101 include individuals who:
There are a few language programs that promise to help you learn Indonesian, but most cannot match the systematic structure and thorough lessons you will find with IndonesianPod101. Sometimes, they come with exorbitant price tags. Here are a few comparisons of the few Indonesian language programs we found.
Duolingo vs. IndonesianPod101
Though a free program, Duolingo is much more focused on building vocabulary rather than learning how the language is spoken. Very few lessons have any type of explanation as to why you may choose to use one word over another. However, when used in conjunction with IndonesianPod101, Duolingo can provide beginners with a light refresher course on many vocabulary words.
Udemy vs. IndonesianPod101
The Udemy Indonesian for Beginners: Level 1 (A1) costs just $10.99 (introductory rate) for a very basic lesson. It includes up to 3-hours of videos and one practice test. Rather than having all the lessons available at your fingertips as with IndonesianPod101, Udemy requires you to purchase all subsequent lessons. It can be difficult to determine which lesson is next, as they are not clearly labeled.
Is IndonesianPod101 Worth the Money?
Get 30% Off By Using This Link
It’s no secret that we love the Innovative Language programs and use them ourselves (I’ve been using the Japanese one for a few years now), so we’ve asked the team for a discount code to offer our readers. They were kind enough to offer perapera readers a full 30% off IndonesianPod101! Click the link below and 30% off will be automatically subtracted from your subscription:
IndonesianPod101 Review Conclusion
Our Verdict: Excellent Value if you’re serious about learning Indonesian.
Despite Indonesian being one of the world’s most widely used languages, Indonesian learning tools are few and far between. With all of IndonesianPod101’s lessons right at your fingertips with a monthly subscription, you do not have to concern yourself with finding the next successive lesson to pique your interest and get you that one step closer to fluency!
We feel that IndonesianPod101 is the most comprehensive program out there for the cost. You can easily incorporate learning Indonesian into your already busy lifestyle and work your way toward fluency quickly. If you want to invest into yourself, your business, and your connections, IndonesianPod101 is the way to go.
Michael has lived in Japan on and off for almost 10 years. He loves studying Japanese, and is currently working on going from N2 to N1 on the JLPT.