The following is our unbiased KoreanClass101 Review. Please note that there are affiliate links in this post, but we only recommend stuff that we’ve have tested and genuinely like!
Korean is the 15th most widely spoken language, with over 77 million speakers worldwide. The Korean language reflects the mutual history of the expansion of the Korean people throughout Ancient Manchuria and the mutual growth of the Korean, Han Chinese, and Japanese diasporas respectively.
As a written language, Korean uses a combination of its own alphabet and Chinese characters (known as Hanja) in its writing system and is similar in both intonation and grammar to Japanese.
So why learn Korean? Aside from the obvious reasons it is beneficial to learn another language, learning Korean has many benefits: it is the language of the worlds 13th largest economy, and it is the language of one of the most vibrant, diverse and beautiful peninsulas on the planet. Also, knowing Korean will help you to fully enjoy K-pop, Korean Dramas, and some of the best food in the world.
Like the other Innovative Language programs, KoreanClass101 is a language immersion program that features thousands of audio and video lessons, accompanied by detailed written explanations. The program is divided into 4 skill levels and a bonus level that goes even deeper into Korean language. Overall, the content is fun, interesting, and effective.
If you’ve already made up your mind and are just looking for our 30% Off Coupon Code, click here.
What we love about KoreanClass101
More than 3500 audio and video lessons are neatly organized into a dashboard showing your progress. Each lesson teaches useful, conversational language and the difficulty increases gradually.
Thousands of hours of learning
KoreanClass101 provides one of the most complete curriculums for learning Korean that we’ve found. As of June 2019, there are over 3240 lessons included in the program, which translates to thousands of hours of content.
The breakdown of the lessons is as follows:
- Absolute Beginner: 1390 video & audio lessons spread over 36 modules
- Beginner: 740 video & audio lessons spread over 23 modules
- Intermediate: 375 video & audio lessons spread over 13 modules
- Advanced: 155 video & audio lessons spread over 5 modules
- Bonus: 585 video & audio lessons spread over 6 modules
Build a foundation in Korean
The Innovative Languages team does a great job of helping students really understand the basics of a language, and KoreanClass101 is no different. The course starts off with the basics: how to count, how to introduce yourself, and order at a restaurant. Once the fundamentals are covered, the material starts to build on that by expanding vocabulary and understanding Korean sentence structure.
The most complete Korean language learning program we know of
With thousands of lesson plans, a user should have no problem finding new and exciting content to expand their understanding of the Korean language. The lessons also mimic real life scenarios such as ordering at a restaurant, or buying a train ticket in Seoul. You will not find any useless content in this program as everything has been tailored to address every aspect of social life on the Korean Peninsula.
What we didn’t like about KoreanClass101
This program is incredible, but we can’t advocate it 100% as a one-stop solution, for the reason that we can’t fully recommend the Chinese and Japanese versions of the program; the explanation and instruction of the Korean writing system is seriously lacking.
That said, the Korean system of writing is easier than Japanese and Chinese
The Korean alphabet — known as Hangul — represented the deviation of Korean away from the Traditional Chinese characters they had drawn inspiration from for their written language. That said, learning to read and write Korean may still be difficult for learners coming from a roman language.
The implementation of Hangul in the late 1400s reduced the number of characters from thousands to less than 30. In modern day Korean, there are 24 letters in the alphabet with 14 consonants and 10 vowel letters. The letters are organized into blocks which represent syllables. The blocks are organized in different ways depending on how many letters, vowels and consonants there are.
This writing system has a steep learning curve as a result and is very difficult to learn in the KoreanClass101 format. That said, there is a wealth of Hangul practice books you can find on Amazon.com or in your local book store.
What are the lessons like?
Throughout the 5 skill levels and the thousands of audio and video tutorials, there is a definite structure to the program. The dozens of different modules each represent individual themes, and each has an accompanying downloadable PDF with notes.
For example, the screenshots below show the “Must-Know Korean Sentence Structures” module. The 50 lessons from this module teach information that is relevant to everyday conversations that you would have in Korea if you could speak Korean. On the whole, the information contained in each lesson is useful for actual day-to-day Korean use.
KoreanClass101 vs. Competitors
The Korean language is worlds away from English, which makes it a language to be respected by new students. We believe any effective language learning program needs to address 3 critical areas to be successful:
- Korean grammar principles are taught clearly and succinctly. Korean has a complex system of verbs, politeness levels, and unique grammar.
- It doesn’t ignore Korean’s level of politeness in verb tense. If a course only teaches you formal Korean, you likely won’t be able to understand 90% of what’s being said in conversation. Unless you only speak Korean at fancy Gala’s that is. Effective Korean language software should address the different levels of honorifics.
- It teaches the Korean writing system. While the Korean writing system isn’t nearly as complicated as Japanese or Chinese, it is still fairly difficult. A good Korean course should effectively teach how to read — in addition to speaking and understanding.
We also suggest Duolingo Korean as a great option to learn the basics. Since it’s free, it is a great no-risk place to start learning the language.
KoreanClass101 has three tiers of membership; Basic, Premium & Premium Plus. Anyone considering paying for one of the paid tiers should consider their level of commitment to learning Korean before signing up.
The Pricing for the different levels (as of June 2019) is as follows:
Basic Membership: $4 per month
Premium Membership: $10 per month
Premium Plus Membership: $23 per month
Casual learners may consider the Basic plan while those who want to learn Korean quickly, and are able to make a serious time commitment in order to take advantage of the 1 on 1 instruction will want to purchase the Premium Plus option, as the included 1 on 1 instruction offers great value.
Use Our Discount Code for 30% Off
After trying KoreanClass101 and realizing we really liked it, we asked the company if we could get a discount code for our readers, and they generously gave us a coupon code for the maximum 30% off!
If you click this link, the 30% off will be automatically added to your order:
Or, if you want to check out the program for free first, you can click this link for a free trial:
Or you can check out the KoreanClass101 Podcast (also free) to get a taste of the lesson quality and style.
Conclusion: Recommended, But You’ll Still Need A Textbook To Learn Hangul
While Korean is an easier language to learn then Chinese & Japanese, it still requires a significant time investment to become fluent. The creators of KoreanClass101 have spent years structuring their program in the most efficient way possible and the work shows.
In conclusion, KoreanClass101 is a great program that we very much enjoyed reviewing and that, despite it’s small flaws, we are confident in saying it’s one of the best ways to learn Korean out there. We also recommend supplementing the program with a book that will teach you Hangul, so check out our guide to the best Korean textbooks.