4 Great Ways to Learn German Online

Learn German Online

So much learning takes place online these days. Have you considered taking an online German class? Sure, English speakers can get by in many parts of Germany without getting too “lost in translation,” but if you’re planning to stay in Germany for more than a couple years, it’s always a good idea to learn the language.

With so many options for learning German online, there really are no good excuses for not learning the language. Even if you spend just 20 minutes per day learning German online, you’ll start feeling more comfortable with the language no matter what level you’re at.

Learning German online can be an excellent place to start for those with absolutely no experience with the language. Simple online tutorials offer the basics for getting through your day-to-day routine. Learning how to greet people or order a meal at a restaurant is an excellent start. Online language instruction can give you a foundation to help you feel more confident if you do eventually enroll in an in-person German class.

German learners at more advanced levels will also find online language portals helpful. There are a variety of ways to improve your language skills or practice them by taking online quizzes, listening to spoken dialogue, and reading simple texts.

We scoured the internet to find the best websites for learning German online. Here are our picks for fun and interactive ways to learn German online.


VHS-Lernportal – A Free Platform for Learning German Online (A1-B2)

VHS German Classes

The online German learning portal for the Volkshochschule (People’s High School) is a user-friendly website that’s great for learning and practicing German.

Once you register, you can either start at the beginning with A1 or jump into a more advanced level (up to B2).

Beginners starting with A1 level German will get to know the characters Frau Nasrin Fani and Herr Rafael Ortega. Nasrin hails from Afghanistan, while Rafael is Spanish, reflecting the diversity of a typical in-person classroom at the Volkshochschule. Follow the dialogue between these two classmates as they teach you how to introduce yourself.

Recordings of the characters speaking are followed by comprehension exercises as well as word order tasks. Through these exercises, you’ll start getting acquainted with the German grammatical rule of “verb in the second position.”

The VHS online German learning portal also includes the handy “Vokabeltrainer” (Vocabulary Trainer) and “Phrasentrainer” (Phrase Trainer). Click on the boxes to see translations of common words and phrases in a variety of languages, from English to Italian, Arabic, and Albanian.



DW Deutsch Lernen – Free German Lessons From a Respected News Site

DW German Classes

Deutsche Welle, a website that offers German news in 30 languages, also offers free online German lessons.

Begin by taking the 30-question quiz (https://learngerman.dw.com/de/placementDashboard) to find out what level you’re at (A.1-B.1). Once you’ve discerned your proper level, click into the portal for that level.

DW packs in a lot of different ways to learn, which makes the website feel a little bit cluttered. But don’t get overwhelmed. Just click around and find the learning tools that work best for you.

Each portal, from Deutsch A1 to Deutsch C offers various options for learning and practicing your German skills. If you’re just starting to learn the German language, you will naturally begin with level A.1.

The A.1 portal features a few multimedia courses where you can learn German online through videos and exercises. You’ll meet characters like Harry who likes to drive fast and loves penguins, as well as his girlfriend Julia, a radio moderator who prefers to holiday on the North Sea.

After getting acquainted with the colorful cast of characters, check out the instructional pdfs that lay out the wonderful rules of German grammar.

The DW website lets German learners navigate their way through each level, while exploring a variety of different ways of learning. The B2.2 portal, for example, links to a page about German idioms, where you’ll have the chance to learn the phrase “Jemanem die Daumen drücken” — which is what Germans do to wish someone luck, instead of “crossing their fingers.”



Goethe Institute Online Courses – Fee-based German Classes From a Renowned Institute

Goethe Institute

German learners who prefer a more structured lesson plan, should take a look at the Goethe Institute. While these online courses come with a fee, they also come with a designated instructor who will hold you accountable for the work you put in —something many of us require when it comes to learning.

While we haven’t personally tried the courses at the Goethe Institute, the German school is world renowned and gets good reviews online. Since there are Goethe Institutes located around the world (159 of them to be exact), they offer a convenient way for students who have already started taking their classes in their home country to continue a familiar lesson plan upon arrival in Germany.

The Goethe Institute also provides the option of joining a group course or taking private German lessons.



smarterGerman – Fee-based Lessons with Alternative Learning Methods


Another popular online German course is smarterGerman. Developed by Michael Schmitz, a German instructor who got tired of the standard method for teaching and learning German, the online courses work well for German learners seeking an alternative way to learn the language. Online lessons are broken down into “mini-steps” that focus in on things like learning the German articles, making sense of Akkusativ and Dativ cases, and mastering irregular verbs.

You can try the first class for free and if you like it, sign up for the full package (approximately €400). Unfortunately, classes only go up to B1 level.





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