Best Foreign Language Classes

Updated December 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
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Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best foreign language classes

Are you thinking about learning a foreign language? If you are, you’re in luck. There now are countless foreign language classes available online, many of which are geared toward teen and adult learners.

With so many to choose from, you might be wondering how to find the right class for you. For one, there should be clear learning objectives. The curriculum should be organized in a logical manner that allows learners to progress naturally, whether it’s well-grouped vocabulary modules or a focused approach to verb conjugation. Many foreign language classes now incorporate speaking exercises in which learners are able to use and improve their conversational skills. In addition to these foundational elements, it’s important to take into account the user experience, too. Seamless navigation can help learners breeze through lessons, but a cumbersome interface can be distracting. More than anything, learning a foreign language online should be easy and enjoyable. 

If you’d like to learn more about foreign language classes, we invite you to take a look at this buying guide in which we introduce you to their basic structures and cover unique perks offered by some platforms. We’ve included a few of our favorites, too.

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Many foreign language classes focus on business conversation. These classes cover popular phrases and vocabulary used in professional settings for negotiations and presentations.

Key considerations

Your goal

It’s great to learn a foreign language no matter what, but your reason for learning a new language has an impact on the type of class that’s best for you. If you’re a traveler looking to brush up on conversational basics, an accelerated course that focuses on essential communication is ideal. If you need to become an intermediate or fluent speaker for business purposes, an immersive, highly structured, comprehensive course will be most helpful.

Individual vs. group

Learning online is much different than learning in a classroom environment or one-on-one with a tutor. Many platforms now offer options for individual learning as well as group classes. Neither one is necessarily better than the other; rather, it’s better to look at how each one satisfies your needs and goals as a learner.

Individual: Individual learning is ideal if you prefer focused, self-paced classes. You can dive into them as quickly or slowly as you prefer. If you have extra time on your hands, you might even find yourself completing more lessons or modules more quickly. Unfortunately, individual learning means you’ll have little interaction with native speakers, which can be somewhat limiting.

Group: Group classes are recommended for those students who prefer a traditional classroom environment. Even though the classes are online, you’re able to interact with the teacher as well as others in class. This structure also facilitates more conversation practice. However, one of the pitfalls of group classes is that many require a stricter schedule or firmer commitment.

Time commitment

Before you begin comparing foreign language classes, take a personal inventory of your level of commitment. The saying “Practice makes perfect” rings true here. You’ll need to dedicate a certain amount of time and effort to your studies, usually on a weekly basis. If you don’t, it can be exceedingly difficult to grow your understanding.

If your foreign language class uses video chats for conversation practice, it’s worth investing in a decent webcam, microphone, and even a halo light.

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Features

Levels

Foreign language classes are categorized into levels, including beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Beginner is ideal for first-time learners, while intermediate is for those with some experience with the language. Advanced classes are geared toward learners who would like to become as fluent as possible.

These levels are used across all platforms, but it doesn’t necessarily mean all classes have the same definition of “beginner” and so on. For that reason, it’s recommended that you read the syllabus or curriculum description carefully to determine which one is truly right for your level of understanding. Some platforms make it easier to help you find the right level based on a quiz or questionnaire. 

User experience

The user experience of the online learning platform is important to take into consideration. It should be easy to navigate, particularly to find new classes or search for information. 

A well-designed platform tends to have a user-friendly dashboard as well. With this, you’re able to track vital information, such as courses and activities completed, test scores, or milestones. Some dashboards even have interactive features that let you connect with educators or sign up for online conversation labs.

Course length

Course length refers to how long it takes to complete a single foreign language class. This normally takes into account the length of the instructional videos, along with any time dedicated to tests, homework, or other activities. Knowing this information helps learners make time for the lessons in their daily and weekly schedules.  

Conversation practice

Foreign language classes that include conversion practice are considered the most practical and valuable. With this activity option, you can chat with a native speaker to refine pronunciation, learn colloquialisms, or learn about culture. Chatting isn’t just done through video calls either; many platforms allow you email or text message native speakers to practice your writing skills.

Assessment

Assessment and testing procedures vary considerably among foreign language classes. Some courses simply show whether you’ve watched all the videos and completed all the activities. Others require a minimal test score to progress to the next level. Scores are sometimes graded on a numeric scale, while others are pass/fail.

It should be noted that foreign language classes don’t award degrees, certificates, or licenses. This is because these education companies are rarely accredited institutions. Except in rare cases, the classes don’t count toward degree programs, but some can be counted toward micro-credential programs.

With that said, certain platforms create digital certificates of completion that can be displayed on social media or employment networking sites. This aids in professional development, especially for learners looking to boost their skills as they prepare for a job search. Unfortunately, there’s usually an additional fee involved to receive this certificate.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Take advantage of the free trial that most platforms offer. It ranges from a week to a month of free access, which gives you plenty of time to determine whether you’ll enjoy using the platform.
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Foreign language class prices

The cost of foreign language classes can be difficult to compare between platforms and programs. Some charge subscription fees, whereas others charge per class.

Inexpensive: If you’re on a budget, there are some free foreign language classes. These are usually app-based, and once you reach a certain level you’ll need to pay to unlock more curriculum. Many paid platforms also offer limited access to a few classes at no cost.

Mid-range: The cost per class ranges from $12 to $300, depending on the platform and course offerings. This is ideal if you’re on a budget and need to learn something specific, but it’s not recommended if you require a comprehensive approach to a foreign language.

Expensive: To get the most bang for your buck, consider signing up for subscription-based foreign language classes. Most companies offer monthly or yearly pricing packages; however, yearly packages are the most cost-effective at $80 to $500.

If you plan on traveling with a partner or friend, sign up for foreign language classes together. That way, you’ll be able to help one another and discuss lessons.

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Tips

  • Compare programs. It’s great if one platform for foreign language classes appeals to you right away, but it’s important to examine others before making your final decision. You might be surprised by what each platform has to offer.
  • Check the languages offered. Some platforms specialize in Romance languages, while others focus on Asian languages. Make sure the language you intend to study is offered on the platform before you shell out money and learn the hard way that it’s not.
  • Take notes. Online learning is largely a paperless affair, though many learners still take notes, make outlines, and write flashcards. It’s especially helpful for reinforcing new information. 
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Prioritize your learning. One way to do that is to schedule time for foreign language lessons.

FAQ

Q. What happens if I run out of foreign language classes on the platform I use?

A. It’s unlikely, especially since many platforms offer hundreds of classes. New classes are frequently added, too. If you feel you’re reaching the point where you’re no longer acquiring new knowledge, it’s recommended that you explore what other platforms have to offer. Even if you take classes intended for a level lower than your current one, it might be one way to start plugging any gaps in your knowledge.

Q. Can kids take foreign language classes?

A. Most online foreign language classes are designed for adult learners who learn much differently than kids and even teens. With that said, many platforms have adapted some lessons for kids and teens. Some adults who are brand-new to learning a language often enjoy using these platforms to get their feet wet, especially if it’s been a while since they engaged in continuing education.

Q. Will I become fluent in a language if I stick to these classes?

A. It’s possible, though it takes a great commitment to do so. To work your way toward fluency, it’s recommended that you study on a daily basis. That doesn’t necessarily mean learning a new lesson every day; rather, it could mean practicing reading, writing, or conversation each day.

 

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