Best Chinese Courses Online

.Since more and more people become interested in learning Mandarin, the number of available online courses for this language also increases. For this reason it might become quite a huge challenge to choose from so many different learning programs.

In this article we provided a list of some of the best courses for learning Chinese. We listed these programs based on our experience, other user feedback, offered features and material, price and other criteria.

#1. Recommended Mandarin Online Course – Rocket.

rocket-chinese-mandarin-courseWhen it comes to Chinese courses it can be said that Rocket offers one of the most dynamic online programs for learning this foreign language. The material in this course consists of audio lessons, different tools for practicing listening, speaking, writing and reading skills, Chinese culture lessons, grammar explanations, games, quizzes and more.

Due to so many different features in Rocket course, learners are able learn more efficiently and most importantly they don’t get bored while doing so.

One of the main reasons why we listed Rocket Mandarin course in the first place is because it has very positive feedback from users, reviews online rate it highly and it is also quite reasonably priced.

Main Pros:

  • Rocket Chinese teaches learners Mandarin, which is the most widely spoken dialect in China;
  • New users of Rocket Chinese can register for free 6 days trial lessons. This means that you can test all features included in this Mandarin course and make sure it is the right studying program for you;
  • By using Rocket program you can improve all aspects of Chinese – listening, speaking, grammar, writing and etc.;
  • Different learning tools in this course (Write it, Know it, Hear it, Say it and etc.) will make your learning experience less monotonic. As a result you will be less likely to get bored while studying Mandarin;
  • Rocket program has some great features for keeping your motivation to study Chinese. These include self-rating system, quizzes, badges and etc. Furthermore it has one of the most advanced tracking features so that you would know your progress;
  • Rocket program has a very positive feedback from most learners. It is a good proof that it is an effective and fun way to study Mandarin;
  • Audio lessons from Rocket course can be downloaded and transferred to any device. This enables users to study Mandarin while on the go;
  • Rocket Record tool is very useful for practicing Chinese speaking skills since you can compare your pronunciation with a native speaker. Also one of the speakers in audio recordings is native so you can learn how to speak in Mandarin with good accent;
  • Audio lessons in Rocket program come together with a transcript in both English and Chinese. Furthermore, they are broken down into smaller parts so it is very easy to follow them and understand everything;
  • This program offers one of the best Chinese culture lessons. It can be a great additional benefit for learners who want to know more about native Chinese people and their culture;
  • Rocket is a great choice program for travelers since it includes the most essential Chinese vocabulary & phrases. As a result Rocket users are able to learn how to communicate in real life situations fast;
  • There are even 3 parts of Rocket available for Mandarin. This the most parts that Rocket Languages offers, hence you can advance quite a lot with Chinese;
  • Considering all the material and features provided by Rocket program, it is quite reasonably priced ($99.95 for Premium course). Also it is possible to use this course for an unlimited time (with all upcoming future updates).
  • Rocket Chinese is risk free for 60 days since it comes with money back guarantee;

Main Cons:

  • Since part of this course can be accessed only online, you will need an internet connection in order to study via Rocket program. While there is a possibility to purchase physical copy of Rocket Chinese course, it is very expensive ($299.95 for one level);
  • While Rocket includes material for learning all parts of Mandarin, it is not at a very deep level. Hence learners who are studying Chinese for academic purposes might need supplementary resources;

>>Official site of Rocket Chinese.<<

#2. Pimsleur Audio Lessons.

Pimsleur Chinese Mandarin Premium CourseLearners who are not interested in learning more complicated parts of Chinese like writing, reading and grammar can greatly benefit from a course like Pimsleur. This course offers learners to learn how to speak and understand foreign languages via audio lessons. Hence this course offers a particularly good way to study Chinese for audible learners.

It can be said that Pimsleur method for teaching languages is very well tested throughout the years. Hence you can be sure that it will help you to improve your Chinese skills.

It is also worthwhile to mention that Pimsleur offers to learn not only Mandarin dialect (5 levels), but also Cantonese (1 level).

Main Pros:

  • In case you want to see how Pimsleur Chinese lessons work you can register at the official website of this course. There you will get access to one free lesson (no credit card required);
  • Pimsleur is one of a few courses that offers to learn both Mandarin and Cantonese. Although there are less levels available for the second dialect;
  • It is very convenient to study via Pimsleur course while on the go. This is due to the fact that studying content comes in a form of audios. Also it is a great course for busy people since it is enough to dedicate 30 minutes of your time daily to complete one lesson;
  • Speakers in Pimsleur Chinese lessons are native. Hence you will be able to learn how to pronounce Chinese words correctly and with a good accent;
  • Pimsleur can be a great choice Mandarin course for those who need to learn essential traveling phrases and vocabulary;
  • It is not necessary to repeat each lesson of Pimsleur many times, because all vocabulary is repeated in further sessions. Also speakers talk not too fast so it is not too difficult to understand them. Furthermore more difficult words are quite commonly spelled by each syllable. Consequently you can learn how to pronounce them correctly;
  • Pimsleur is available for many years already so it well-tested and effective method for learning foreign languages;

Main Cons:

  • Considering features & material included in Pimsleur course it can be said that these audio lessons are very expensive (~$120 for one level);
  • This course is not suitable for learners who want to learn grammar properly, how to write and read Chinese characters;
  • Due to the fact that Pimsleur Chinese lessons are mostly structured in question-answer bases they might be too monotonic for some learners;
  • Pimsleur offers audio lessons with little visual content. Hence it is not the most suitable course for visual learners;

>>Find Pimsleur Chinese Audios on Amazon.<<

#3. Living Language.

Living-Language-ChineseLooking for a Mandarin course that would offer books for studying? In this case Living Language courses might be a good choice for you.

The main material in this course is 3 coursebooks. They contain a total of 46 lessons, grammar explanations, some culture notes, exercises and more. Furthermore there are also 9 audio CDs included (audio exercises, dialogues and vocabulary), which should be used in combination with books.

Learners who purchase one of Living Language courses also get a free access to online features. These include learning games, flashcards, quizzes and etc. So it can be said that Living Language offers quite a dynamic and interactive course for learners who want to improve all aspects of Chinese language.

Main Advantages:

  • It is possible to choose from 3 different Mandarin courses offered by Living Language – Platinum, Complete and Essential. They vary in price and offered features so different learners can select more suitable course for their studying needs;
  • It can be said that Living Language course is suitable program for both audible and visual learners. This is because it offers different multimedia  for studying – books, audios, games, flashcards and etc. It is also worthwhile to mention that learners are usually able to learn more efficiently when studying from different kind of material. Furthermore there is less chance that they will get bored as well;
  • One of the biggest benefits of Living Language courses is that they include additional guide for learning basic Chinese characters. So you will not need to spend money on buying additional books if you want learn how to read and write in Mandarin;
  • With Living Language courses you can learn all aspects of Mandarin. You can improve your skills in speaking, listening, reading as well as writing. Also this program includes sufficient material to learn grammar properly and understand how this language is structured;
  • Platinum version of this course includes some advanced features for more needy learners. These include personal e-tutor online, mobile apps and access to online community;
  • Living Language courses contain phrases and vocabulary that are essential while going to Mandarin speaking country. So it can be said that Living Language Chinese courses are suitable for travelers;
  • Living Language offers some of the most affordable courses for learners with limited budget. Complete and Essential editions of this course can be bought for less than $50.

Main Disadvantages:

  • Living Language courses are not ideal for busy people since the main material comes in a form of books. Despite that it is possible to learn part of the material while using a mobile app (Platinum course) or listening audios that are included;
  • One of the main disadvantages of this course is that it lacks advanced features for practicing Chinese speaking skills. For instance courses like Rocket include Rocket Record and Rosetta Stone Speech Recognition features;
  • I found Living Language online features (games, flashcards and etc.) are a bit less engaging when compared with similar courses reviewed in this article. Also these online features don’t have advanced tracking, which means that you have to remember where you left the program last;

>>Find Living Language Mandarin Courses on Amazon.<<

#4. Michel Thomas Audio Lessons.

Michel Thomas Foundation Chinese MandarinMichel Thomas also offers a great course for audible learners who want to learn Mandarin language. At the moment there are 2 main parts of Michel Thomas course available for Mandarin. Consequently learners can achieve a bit more advanced level with this language.

Despite the fact that this program comes in a form of audios too, it can be said that it is quite different from Pimsleur lessons. The main difference is that this particular course is based on a classroom situation and there are two students participating in the recording together with instructor. Due to this it can be said that this course is less monotonic when compared to Pimsleur.

Also Michel Thomas lessons are more focused on teaching you how to construct sentences from separate words and provide key points on Mandarin.

Main Benefits:

  • Michel Thomas Mandarin course is ideal for busy people since you will be able to learn almost all material while on the go;
  • These audios do a great job at explaining tones of Mandarin, which is one of the most essential parts of learning this language;
  • New concepts and vocabulary are being introduced not too fast. Consequently it is not difficult to follow these lessons;
  • In case you tend to get bored quickly while studying, Michel Thomas audio lessons are a better choice course for you compared to Pimsleur since they are less repetitive;
  • These audio lessons promote a very relaxed learning atmosphere. You can listen to them without worrying that you need to remember new vocabulary and etc. Also instructor of these recordings quite commonly provides useful tips on how to remember certain words easier;
  • Quite recently Michel Thomas course started to offer a computer program, which includes different exercises. This is a great additional learning tool for visual learners and can help to improve learning efficiency;
  • Instructor of this course explains quite well how to construct Mandarin sentences from separate words. Also he highlights key points of this foreign language;
  • Pimsleur lessons constantly prompt listeners to say different words and sentences in Mandarin. Consequently learners are encouraged to think in the target language. This in turn can greatly enhance Chinese learning efficiency;
  • Quite commonly instructor of these audios stresses pronunciation of more difficult Mandarin words by a syllable. Hence you will know how to say them correctly;
  • Most of the vocabulary and phrases that you will learn in Michel Thomas lessons will come in handy while traveling to Mandarin speaking country.

Main Drawbacks:

  • Studying features and resources in Michel Thomas program are quite limited. Since it is mostly audio based course, you will need additional material to learn Chinese writing, reading and learn grammar properly;
  • There are no native Mandarin speakers in Michel Thomas recordings. Hence it is not the best choice course for learners who want to learn how to speak in this language with a good accent;
  • As it was mentioned previously, there are two beginner Chinese students in these audios. As a result this course can be too slow for faster learners;
  • Computer program provided in this Mandarin course could use some improvement. Exercises in it are quite basic and not very engaging to follow;
  • It can be said that Michel Thomas course is quite expensive considering features that it offers (~$125-$150 for one level);

>> Find Michel Thomas Mandarin Courses on Amazon.<<

#5. Rosetta Stone Program.

Rosetta Stone Chinese ProgramEven though Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular software’s for learning foreign languages, in this article we only listed it in the sixth place. This is mainly because Rosetta Stone follows complete immersion method and doesn’t provide any explanations in English. While this approach can work great for some languages, in our opinion it is not very efficient for more complicated languages like Chinese.

Despite that it can be said that Rosetta Stone can be a great learning tool for learners who are already familiar with Mandarin. It can help to expand vocabulary greatly, improve your pronunciation and listening skills.

Main Advantages:

  • In case you want to test all the features of Rosetta Stone Mandarin software, you can do so by trying a demo version (at the official website);
  • There are 5 levels of Rosetta Stone available for Mandarin. So it can be suitable learning program for complete beginners and a bit more advanced users;
  • This course includes some of the most advanced features for learning Mandarin. These include mobile app, games that can be played individually or with other learners and also live sessions with an online tutor;
  • Rosetta Stone program includes different exercises that can help to improve all aspects of Chinese (speaking, listening, writing, grammar and reading). Also the software allows you to complete whichever exercises you want so it useful when you want to improve a particular area of Chinese;
  • Rosetta Stone offers some of the most engaging learning exercises and games. Hence you will definitely not get bored while studying via this Mandarin program;
  • All recording in exercises are made by native speakers so you can learn good Mandarin pronunciation with this program. Rosetta Stone also has a great TrueAccent speech recognition feature. It will give you feedback on pronunciation, which will boost your confidence while speaking Chinese;

Main Disadvantages:

  • Rosetta Stone teaches a new language through picture-word association (without any English language). Hence sometimes it is difficult to tell what exact word in Mandarin a picture is trying to portray;
  • This course is not very useful for learning Chinese grammar. This is because there are no explanations provided in English language. Also you are supposed to learn and understand grammar by only completing different workouts;
  • Rosetta Stone program is created the same way for all languages (same pictures and templates). Also there are no Chinese culture lessons that could make learning more interesting and engaging;
  • In case you are learning Mandarin for traveling purposes, Rosetta Stone is not the best choice course for you. This is because this program teaches quite random vocabulary. As a result it can take time to learn necessary Chinese vocabulary to communicate with local people properly;
  • Even though Rosetta Stone online offers some great features for studying, it is not a cheap course. Lifetime subscription (all 5 parts) costs ~299 USD so you will need to make quite a large investment on your studying;

>>Find Rosetta Stone Chinese Courses on Amazon.<<

#6. Fluenz Mandarin Software.

fluenz-chinese-mandarin-softwareEven though Fluenz is still quite a new foreign language learning program, more and more learners are interested in trying this interactive course. Fluenz program provides users with a video tutor who guides them through the lessons by explaining how Mandarin works in English.

In addition to one on one tutoring this course also includes different exercises. They will help you practice speaking, listening, writing and reading skills of Chinese language.

In order to learn on the go this course also offers learners some useful studying features. You will be able to use audio CD’s, podcasts, mobile app and Phrase Book Navigator.

Main Benefits:

  • Demo lesson of Fluenz Mandarin is available at the official website of this program. Hence before buying this Chinese learning software, you can test it first;
  • Explanations provided by instructor of this course are very useful for understanding Chinese language structure, key points and grammar rules;
  • Fluenz includes material (audio CD’s and podcasts), which will allow you to study Mandarin while on the go. Hence it can be a great Chinese learning program for busy people. By using iPhone App you will be able to access all lessons and study via your phone as well;
  • This course teaches essential Mandarin vocabulary and phrases from the first lesson. Due to this it is a suitable Chinese program for travelers;
  • Unlike Rosetta Stone software, Fluenz is designed not the same for different languages. Also instructor of this course quite commonly provides learners with some interesting culture notes;
  • Fluenz includes a lot of different multimedia for studying Chinese – video lessons, audios, podcasts, workouts. Due to this you will be able to learn this foreign language more efficiently and also you will not get bored so easily;
  • Fluenz provides learners with explanations on how to pronounce different tones of Mandarin. As it is an essential part of learning this foreign language, it is useful to have it in this course;

Main Drawbacks:

  • Quite a lot of workouts in Fluenz program require you to type a lot. This in turn can slow down the whole Mandarin learning phase. It can be also said that these exercises are quite basic when compared with other courses – Rosetta Stone or Rocket.
  • In case one of your aims is to learn how to write or read Chinese characters, Fluenz is not a suitable course for you. Other courses like Rocket or Living Language at least provides characters along with the dialogues (Fluenz only uses Pinyin);
  • It would be useful to have some written material on grammar since explanations are provided only in the videos. This is because once you progress with these lessons it becomes quite difficult to remember where something was explained.
  • In the first two levels of Fluenz, the instructor of this course is not a native Mandarin speaker. This can be seen as a downside by learners who want to hear native accent. However in the third level an instructor is changed to Yi Wei who is a native speaker.
  • It can be said that Fluenz is one of the most expensive courses for learning Chinese. Depending on the current discount, three levels of this course are priced between $288-$519. So it can definitely be too expensive for some Mandarin learners;