What’s the best way to learn Mandarin? Many people have asked this question and are surprised to learn that studying Mandarin is possible regardless of someone’s circumstances.
There are several different ways to learn Mandarin, and each can be tailored to your personal situation. If you have a full-time job or a tight schedule, the best approach is to learn from online sources.
The availability and ease of online platforms makes it simple and convenient for students from around the world to learn Mandarin. It allows you to take Chinese lessons anywhere, any time.
To get the most out of your experience in taking online Mandarin courses, you could try any of the options listed below:
1. Video Lessons
This online platform was founded by Yangyang Cheng, one of the most popular online Chinese teachers today. She’s also the main host in many Yoyo Chinese online videos that teach pinyin, grammar and conversational Chinese lessons. Her online courses are designed for beginners and intermediate level learners. If you want to check out one of her videos, you can easily find them on YouTube.
Yoyo Chinese offers comprehensive courses such as Conversational courses from beginner level to upper intermediate. It will help you achieve conversational fluency.
One of the best things about Yoyo Chinese is that they offer several useful tools that you can easily download. These include a PDF copy of worksheets, lecture notes and e-books. They also have a Pinyin Chart of Chinese which contains videos for each letter.
Yoyo Chinese has clearly put a lot of effort in preparing useful materials for their students. Yangyang Cheng’s language background and hosting ability are superb and far better than many Chinese native teachers.
The comprehensive Chinese courses cost more than $100 while short courses cost about $29.
ChineseFor.us is a relatively new website but they have already earned the trust of students worldwide. This online platform was founded by Lili Hao, who is also the course designer and lead instructor. She has 9 years of teaching experience with a master’s degree in Chinese Linguistics.
If you are looking for the best way to learn Mandarin online in a classroom style format, ChineseFor.us offers just that. Its learning system is designed so that students will be fluent in Chinese, whether it be speaking, listening, reading or writing. All lessons are also tailor-made to match with HSK levels.
ChineseFor.us offers lessons that can be divided into three categories: Structured (lessons offered include Basic Level Chinese, HSK Level 1 and HSK Level 2); Skill-Based (lessons offered include Character Writing, Chinese Pinyin and Chinese Tones); and Supplementary, which includes mini-series lessons.
All these lessons are divided into small units, making them easier to digest and understand. After each video, students will have to answer an interactive quiz which is helpful to reinforce the learning experience.
The website is still growing and as of this writing, it has not yet released its videos for HSK3 and higher levels. Most of the current contents focus on beginner level.
Access to the materials on the ChineseFor.Us website is available on a monthly subscription:
1-month subscription – $24.99/mo
6-month subscription – $9.99/mo
1-year subscription – $8.99/mo
Udemy is a massive, open, online course (MOOC) platform with hundreds of Chinese courses. However, unlike other MOOC, their courses are not created by universities, but by individuals. Courses are available in varying levels, focus and teaching techniques. Please note the quality of courses varies as some videos are not created by professional teachers.
Some courses are free but most courses come with a fee. Udemy also offers discounts of up to 70 percent from time to time.
2. Online Audio Lessons
101ChineseClass offers audio lessons for newbies, intermediate, and advanced learners. Students have access to free learning resources, including:
- Downloadable lessons in MP3 format.
- The choice of over 1000 different lessons.
- Lessons on a wide variety of topics and situations such as work-related, social, directional, handling private issues, and more.
- Flashcard review system for storing flashcards on important vocabulary.
- Exercises, supplementary examples, and other review materials to help test your knowledge.
Each lesson comes with simplified traditional Chinese characters that you can read along to. That is in addition to the Pinyin, lesson notes, and translations that you get for each lesson.
Different subscription packages are available: Free, Basic, Premium and Premium+. The Free subscription has limited features but can give you an idea of how 101ChineseClass works. Only the Premium+ package gives you access to their personalized learning program and has one-on-one sessions with a teacher.
All subscription packages are paid for by month. The website also offers a $1 subscription for new members which works like a trial month to see if their program suits you. You may also skip the trial step and proceed to check out their free courses or upgrade to a paid subscription. Monthly subscription starts at $8.
3. Online 1:1 Live Lessons
The best way to learn Mandarin is to speak with native speakers. Touch Chinese bases their platform off that concept, offering 1:1 online classes. All classes are conducted by professional teachers who will converse with you and give feedback to help speed up the learning process.
TouchChinese offers customizable lessons to suit your needs. When you sign up for a lesson, they will evaluate your level of proficiency and learning goals so that your lessons will be tailored to your personal situation. The schedule is flexible as well, allowing students to take lessons depending on availability. You may also cancel or reschedule a lesson within a 12-hour notice without getting charged.
Professional teachers facilitate the discussions. Teachers, at minimum, possess a bachelors degree. They are also bilingual and are fluent in English. They undergo extensive training to maintain the high quality of teaching.
One-on-one classes are conducted via Skype or Zoom. Teachers typically present online materials via screen sharing and both student and teacher watch and discuss the topic. This technique helps students easily learn to write Chinese characters.
The cost of each lesson depends on the topic and the duration of the class. On average, you’ll spend somewhere between $13 and $18 per lesson.
There are three main ways to learn Mandarin in the comfort of your home and at your convenience. Comprehensive video lessons are a great way to learn new knowledge through systematic content. Audio lessons are ideal for practicing and for those who are always on the go. You could take your audio files on your trips and listen to them when you are free. Finally, one-on-one classes are the best way to learn Mandarin online as it allows for actual conversation with a native speaker. This helps speed up your learning process and helps create a natural sounding fluency. Overall, learning Mandarin isn’t as scary as a task as it seems, and can learned at one’s own pace through these different online platforms.