Learning a new language can be both exciting and intimidating. But it's hard not to feel a strong pull to Korean. The world’s fallen in love with Korean pop music, cuisine and K-dramas. With the popularity of recent hits like “Butter” by BTS and “Squid Game” on Netflix, there's never been a better time to dive into the world of Korean culture.
And for those looking to take their love of Korean culture to the next level, KoreanClass101 is a fantastic way to start.
I’ve felt drawn to the language for a while. So I decided to try learning Korean with KoreanClass101. In this article, I’ll give you an overview of my experience from the perspective of someone with absolutely no prior knowledge of the language.
I'll detail its unique features, pros and cons, and various pricing plans. I'll also compare KoreanClass101 to other popular online Korean language sites and share what past students have said about their experience with the platform.
By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of whether KoreanClass101 is right for your language-learning journey.
Whether you're hoping to impress your friends with K-pop karaoke skills, understand the latest K-drama without subtitles, I’m here to help you figure out if KoreanClass101 is right for you.
So grab a tub of gochujang and a spoon, and join me as we dive into the world of Korean language learning with KoreanClass101.
- 800+ lessons and quizzes
- Free to join
- Tons of resources including: core vocabulary lists, flash cards, personal word bank, grammar worksheets, and drills for perfecting Hangul writing
- Multiple curated learning pathways focused on specific Korean language skills
- Downloadable audio lessons and an app that syncs with your progress
- Voice recorder tool to work on pronunciation
- Core lessons aligned with TOPIK standards (Test of Proficiency in Korean)
- 7-day risk-free trial with generous refund policy
- Diverse resources ensure learning stays fresh and engaging
- Simple, easy to navigate platform which tailors your learning journey
- Emphasis on listening comprehension quickly gets your ear accustomed to the language
- Bite-sized lessons are fun, incorporate cultural topics and are perfect for learning on the go
- The ability to record yourself and compare pronunciation with a native speaker
- Perfect supporting study aid for students preparing to take the TOPIK
- Not ideal for those wanting a more structured approach
- Limited visual materials may not satisfy visual learners
Best for: Those who learn by listening, whatever their level. The multiple learning pathways will suit students looking to explore aspects of the language that match their learning objectives. And for those already familiar with Korean, the platform can be an excellent tool to improve listening skills. Great for students who want to learn on the go
Cost: KoreanClass 101 can be used with a free account. For access to more resources, you can purchase a 24-month subscription for as little as $3.50 per month.
Overall: KoreanClass101 is engaging, affordable, and provides a range of resources to ensure success for all levels of learners. Interesting and easy-to-follow lessons provide an effortless way to learn Korean that you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. With the free membership account, free trial options, and generous refund policy, sampling KoreanClas101 is totally risk-free.
What is KoreanClass101?
KoreanClass101 is an online language course that has been making waves among Korean language learners of all levels for years.
Boasting 800+ audio and video lessons, its wealth of resources helps students master the language wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. From in-depth grammar lessons to practical vocabulary lists, KoreanClass101 promises to be the ultimate guide for anyone looking to become fluent in Korean.
The platform was developed by Innovative Language Learning, a company that specializes in creating language-learning resources for students around the world.
KoreanClass101 offers a range of courses and resources, including lesson quizzes, interactive flashcards, cultural insights, and grammar worksheets that help students learn the language in a fun and engaging way. It’s accessible from anywhere and is great for both independent learning and as a study aid complementing a classroom course.
How does KoreanClass101 work?
KoreanClass101 works by providing students with a comprehensive curriculum that includes audio and video lessons covering a huge number of topics for navigating everyday conversations in Korean. The lessons are structured in a way that makes it easy for learners to follow along and track their progress.
The core lessons are categorized by the following five proficiency levels:
|Level||CEFR Level | TOPIK Level*||Lessons & Assessments||Length of Content|
|Absolute Beginner||A1 | TOPIK I (Level 1)||126 Lessons & 63 Assessments||25hrs 16min|
|Beginner||A2 | TOPIK I (Level 2)||157 Lessons & 78 Assessments||35hrs 33min|
|Intermediate||B1 | TOPIK II (Level 3)||100 Lessons & 50 Assessments||25hrs 39min|
|Upper Intermediate||B2 | TOPIK II (Level 4)||105 Lessons & 51 Assessments||15hrs 31min|
|Advanced||C1 | TOPIK II (Levels 5 & 6)||124 Lessons||10hrs 55min|
The platform also offers a range of other features, such as flashcards, quizzes, and a community forum to help learners to practice and reinforce what they have learned.
Students can access it through their web browser or through the KoreanClass101 mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. The app allows students to access the platform's resources on the go and makes it easy to study Korean even when offline.
What a lesson is like on KoreanClass101
The platform's lesson structure is meant to be flexible and adaptable, allowing students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.
Outside of the standard learning pathways for specific levels, there are hundreds of other learning pathways. Each has a focus on topics such as listening skills, grammar, the Korean writing system (Hangul), or themed vocabulary words. Students can choose the type of learning pathway they want to focus on based on their individual needs and goals.
From my experience with the Absolute Beginner pathway, the lessons were almost always audio-only and lasted from 3-10 minutes. The lesson hosts would introduce some words and phrases and then let you listen to what they sound like in a native conversation. The lessons include pauses for the listener to try to repeat the keywords.
After three or so lessons, KoreanClass101 gives you a short quiz on content. I found these to be very easy if I did the quiz right after listening to the lesson, but they were much harder the day after!
What is the method behind KoreanClass101?
The method behind KoreanClass101 is based on the concept of “spaced repetition,” which is a learning technique that involves reviewing material at increasingly longer intervals to maximize retention. The platform uses this method to help students learn Korean more efficiently and effectively.
KoreanClass101 also incorporates a range of other learning techniques, including audio and visual aids, interactive exercises, and cultural insights. These techniques help students learn the language in a way that is engaging and enjoyable, and they provide students with a range of tools to help them succeed in their language-learning journey.
How I reviewed KoreanClass101
I started this course with almost zero knowledge of Korean. I'd come to recognize Korean writing thanks to all the “bubbles” in the character blocks, but that was about it.
I explored several interesting learning pathways, but focused the majority of my time on the recommended core Absolute Beginner pathway. It includes 126 lessons, 63 assessments, and 25 hours and 16 minutes of audio content.
You just need to click “study now” and you're on your way.
I started with the Absolute Beginner core pathway for a while, but I felt like I was missing a crucial piece of Korean: the writing system.
Understanding the writing system of a language will give you a huge boost in your learning journey. Korean’s writing system is known as Hangul, and it’s actually based on a 24-character alphabet.
This makes learning Korean Hangul much easier than other Asian languages: Compare those 24 characters to Japanese’s 2136 characters, and Chinese’s 8,000 unique characters.
Thankfully, KoreanClass101 offers an Absolute Beginner level learning pathway called “Hana Hana Hangul” (Step-by-Step Hangul). I took a bunch of lessons in this pathway, giving myself a solid base in the writing system before moving back to the core learning pathway.
I was also having a tough time getting the pronunciation of Korean words down. Again, KoreanClass101 delivered. I took an informative Absolute Beginner learning pathway called “Ultimate Guide to Korean Pronunciation.”
Beyond following these learning pathways, I also used the app to listen to some lessons during my commute and while doing some chores around the house.
There’s a lot to love about KoreanClass101, but here’s my take on some of the platform’s best qualities:
The platform is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, and students can learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. This makes it an ideal choice for students who have busy schedules or who want to learn Korean in their free time.
I see KoreanClass101 being extremely useful for any level. From my perspective as a veteran language-learner, I feel that it can be an excellent supporting tool to supercharge your listening skills, vocabulary knowledge, cultural understanding, and speaking skills (using the voice recording function)
I found the interface of the app very simple and easy to use. They limit the number of extra resources that you can use on the app, which I actually appreciated because it made the app very easy to navigate.
You can even download lessons through the app if you want to work on your Korean even when you don't have internet access, like during a flight.
I loved the app for its podcast-like lessons while I was on the move. My favorites were the “Culture Class: Essential Korean Vocabulary” Absolute Beginner series (see screenshot below). It was nice to get a better idea of what life in Korea is actually like. (Somehow I was surprised that it didn’t perfectly line up with what I’ve seen in K-dramas and K-pop.)
A huge advantage is the range of resources and tools beyond the audio lessons to help students learn Korean efficiently and effectively with a focus on:
- Vocabulary: Personal word bank, survival phrases, lists of most common words (see above)
- Hangul help: The writing system is a bit intimidating, but KoreanClass101 makes sure to take you through it step-by-step
- Test of Proficiency in Korea (TOPIK) practice: Tests and quizzes designed for TOPIK students looking to get certification of their knowledge of Korean
- Grammar: Verb conjugation charts, overview of basic grammar structures
I only speak Romance languages fluently, so I don’t have much experience with the pronunciation of Eastern languages. Because of that, I have had quite a tough time getting my lips and tongue to make the shapes necessary to orally produce native-sounding words.
This has been a source of frustration for me, but I was pleasantly surprised when I came across an Absolute Beginner learning pathway called “Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Guide.”
This learning pathway was absolutely key to getting me on the right track with speaking reasonably accurate Korean words. I feel way more confident with some of the sounds in Korean thanks to this tutorial. So huge kudos to KoreanClass101 for making that learning pathway.
The lessons are not only educational but also entertaining! I probably cracked a smile at least once every lesson while using KoreanClass101. The platform does a solid job of making sure that the lessons are both fun and funny. I particularly loved all of the tidbits of cultural lessons and fun facts that were included in most of the lessons.
As in all things, there are downsides to using KoreanClass101:
Unstructured learning environment
One of the biggest cons of KoreanClass101 is that it may not be suitable for students who prefer a more structured learning environment. The platform's lesson structure is designed to be flexible, which may not be ideal for students who thrive in a more traditional classroom setting.
I was also never quite sure whether I was getting the most that I could out of KoreanClass101. There's just so much you can do on there that it was frankly a little overwhelming. I did a number of the “Hana Hana Hangul” lessons, listened to all the audio “Culture Classes” on the mobile app, and practiced my pronunciation with “Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Guide.” But I spent the majority of my time on the recommended Absolute Beginner core lessons.
And just sticking with the absolutely beginner core learning pathway got a tad stale after getting about 20% of the way through it.
I definitely could have branched out more or tried using some of the supplemental material, but I got some paralysis analysis from the sheer number of options!
Not a ton of visual materials
Another potential con of KoreanClass101 is that it may not be suitable for students who are more visual learners. While the platform does offer some visual and written resources, such as vocabulary lists and grammar explanations, the focus is mostly on audio materials.
I found my time on KoreanClass101 to be a bit heavy on passive learning — most of the lessons are 5-10 minute audio clips. While the lessons are fun, the lack of dynamic learning is a blind spot for the KoreanClass101. Listening and repeating will only get you so far.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know that I ~stan~ active learning techniques. In other words, you need to use your brain to create using a foreign language. That could mean you’re writing original thoughts or patching together your limited vocabulary to communicate during a spoken conversation on italki.
That said, passive learning has its place in a learning journey. An opportunity to increase your time with a language is an opportunity you should take. The more Korean words you hear, the more Hangul you see, the more words you repeat and repeat and repeat, the better off you’ll be.
So definitely use KoreanClass101 as a supporting resource. Make sure to supplement your learning journey with other resources, but KoreanClass101 can still be an invaluable learning aid for you in your journey to getting fluent in Korean.
Speed of words and phrases
This is maybe a bit nitpicky, but I wish the lessons were more intentional about saying words a bit more slowly and more clearly. I’m totally new to Korean, so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt, but I wasn’t satisfied with the listen-and-repeat portions of the audio lessons.
If you add words and phrases to your personal word bank, it lets you replay them at half speed. But the words are digitally slowed, so they almost end up even more garbled than at normal speed.
KoreanClass101 seems to acknowledge this issue by providing a voice recording function that lets you compare your pronunciation to a native’s. You can use this tool with lesson notes to make sure that you’ve got a handle on the vocabulary presented in each lesson.
I also found that going through the “Ultimate Guide to Korean Pronunciation” was really useful for getting my ear accustomed to understanding Korean. Once I had a foundation of all the types of sounds in the language, I started to recognize them more easily even when they were spoken rapidly.
(I have to say, though, I’m still having a hard time with the “rieul” sound. Super tough to balance the “R” sound with the “L” sound!)
Who is KoreanClass101 for?
KoreanClass101 is best suited for:
- Beginners with some basic knowledge of Korean
- Students looking for a study aid to bolster listening comprehension
- TOPIK candidates
- Intermediate and advanced learners looking to maintain proficiency through passive studying
Let me explain this a bit.
As a complete beginner with no knowledge of Korean at all, I was hoping for more visual learning aids. Approaching a language as different from English as Korean without much visual aid is a tall order.
There are definitely some video lessons available in the Absolute Beginner level. But I think there’s room for a few more. KoreanClass101 uses visuals for several aspects of the Korean language (reading/writing Hangul, diagrams for pronunciation, etc), but absolute beginners need a bit more visual engagement and hand-holding.
That said, I think this is a fantastic tool to work on your listening skills. The more you listen to a foreign language, the better your ability to distinguish individual words becomes. This is one of the most important skills to develop when learning a foreign language.
The core learning pathways for the Absolute Beginner to Upper Intermediate are designed with TOPIK preparation in mind (scroll up to see how KoreanClass101 levels correspond to TOPIK levels). If you’re getting ready to take the TOPIK, then KoreanClass101 is going to be an invaluable resource.
More generally, if you just want to learn Korean by using KoreanClass101 on your commute to develop your listening skills, I think this is a great tool for you. Just be sure to continue working on the other skills (reading, writing, and speaking) with other Korean language-learning resources.
How much does KoreanClass101 cost?
KoreanClass101 offers a range of pricing plans to suit different budgets and learning needs. The platform's pricing plans range from a free plan to PremiumPlus.
The pricing options are a bit complicated, so I put together this table to give you a better idea of the pricing for different subscription options:
|Basic||$3.50 pm||$5 pm||$6 pm||$7 pm||$8 pm|
|Premium||$8.71 pm||$15 pm||$20 pm||$22 pm||$25 pm|
|Premium+||$16.63 pm||$26.33 pm||$36.67 pm||$41.67 pm||$47 pm|
Here’s a breakdown of what you get with each plan:
- Basic: Access to all lessons and in-depth lesson notes (over 800 audio and video lessons)
- Premium: Tons of vocabulary resources and study tools, including spaced repetition flashcards, multiple choice assessments, Hangul study tools, and much more
- PremiumPlus: Everything in Premium, plus 1-to-1 access to a teacher, hand graded assessments, and guidance and personalized assessments.
*Prices for the 24-month subscription are based on a deal offered by KoreanClass101. I checked every day I was using the platform and the deal was always offered to me (even though it says it’s expiring in 9 hours exactly every time I checked).
Is KoreanClass101 free?
It is completely free to join KoreanClass101. Subscribing with a free membership can be a great way to try out the platform before paying any money for extra content.
With a free membership, the newest lessons released by KoreanClass101 will be available to you for three weeks. After that, they get added to the lesson archive, which you need a paid subscription to access.
Here's everything you get with a free account on KoreanClass101:
- First three lessons in every learning pathway
- New lessons every week
- Korean Word of the Day
- Top 100 Korean words list
- Korean vocabulary and phrase lists
- Survival phrases learning pathway
Heads up! When you register for a free membership with KoreanClass101, they'll give you a 7-day free trial for Premium. You don't have to provide any payment details, so this is a great risk-free way to try all the features of KoreanClass101.
KoreanClass101’s core 100 Word List
On top of the 7-day Premium trial, when you sign up for the free membership they'll offer you 30 days of Premium for just $1. You have to provide payment details for this, but you can simply go to your account and click “cancel auto-renewal” in the payment section to avoid renewing for $25/month (the month-to-month fee for Premium).
Aside from this sign-up deal, KoreanClass101 will offer frequent deals to its members. I was learning with KoreanClass101 during the first week of May 2023, and in my dashboard the platform offered a bundle of “free gifts of the month.” What was included in that goodie bag?
- PDF cheat sheet for context-based conversations (this one relevant to mall shopping)
- Simple themed worksheet for practice writing Korean Hangul characters
- Several vocabulary lists for everyday scenarios
- Phrases to practice speaking skills using the voice recorder
And, last but not least:
- Coupon code for 25% off Basic, 30% off Premium, and 35% off PremiumPlus subscriptions of all lengths
If you don't like your paid version of KoreanClass101, you are guaranteed a refund within 60 days of purchase.
Just email contactus@KoreanClass101.com that you want a refund, and they will get back to you quickly.
Features of KoreanClass101
KoreanClass101 offers a range of features that make it an ideal choice for students who want to learn Korean. These features include:
- Engaging lessons: KoreanClass101 provides a curriculum that includes fun audio and video lessons, interactive quizzes, and informative worksheets
- Cultural insights: Almost every KoreanClass101 lesson includes fun facts on Korean culture to avoid making rookie mistakes when interacting with a native speaker
- Flexible learning: The platform is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, and students can learn at their own pace and on their own schedule
- Mobile app: KoreanClass101 offers a mobile app that allows students to access the platform's resources on the go, even when they are offline
- Personalized learning: The premium plus plan provides access to one-on-one tutoring and personalized learning plans
What languages can you learn with KoreanClass101?
As the name suggests, Korean is the only language you can learn with KoreanClass101. But if you like the way KoreanClass101 works and want to learn another language, the creator of this platform (Innovative Language Learning) offers 33 other languages on similar platforms.
All you have to do is search Innovative Language Learning with your target language and chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to create a separate account on each new -Class101 or -Pod101 website.
Alternatives to KoreanClass101
There are a number of online Korean learning websites available, and it can be difficult to know which one is the best fit for your needs. Here is a comparison of KoreanClass101 to other popular online Korean learning websites:
Rosetta Stone vs KoreanClass101
Rosetta Stone provides a more structured and interactive environment than KoreanClass101, but KoreanClass101 offers more creative lesson topics and a more flexible learning environment.
It also features the Dynamic Immersion feature that has made it so successful. With KoreanClass101 it’s easier to fall back on a more passive learning experience.
KoreanClass101’s biggest advantage is that it is cheaper than Rosetta Stone. Beyond offering a free account (which Rosetta Stone does not), its Basic and Premium accounts are cheaper than Rosetta Stone.
Duolingo vs KoreanClass101
Duolingo is mostly focused on reading and writing, and encourages learning through translations. It also gamifies your learning journey in an attempt to “hook you” on foreign language learning.
KoreanClass101 focuses on learning through listening and repeating. It doesn’t gamify learning, instead focusing on making its lessons fun, funny, and interesting. KoreanClass101 also offers lessons at a more advanced level than Duolingo.
Using Duolingo is a great way to learn how to write in Korean, and KoreanClass101 is excellent for training your Korean ear.
If you’re deciding between the two, you should determine which skills you want to focus on and decide based on that. But why not use them side-by-side?
Babbel vs KoreanClass101
Like Rosetta Stone, Babbel's Korean course is a more structured and interactive course compared to KoreanClass101. Babbel's courses offer more active learning opportunities such as grammar exercises and writing activities, while KoreanClass101 mainly offers passive listening activities. Babbel's lessons are also longer, which can be more beneficial for learning the language.
However, KoreanClass101 offers more creative lesson topics and a more flexible learning environment. Additionally, KoreanClass101 is cheaper than Babbel, with a free account option and a more affordable Premium account than Babbel’s.
What others have said
To make this the best KoreanClass101 review possible, I headed over to Reddit to see how some past students felt KoreanClass101 impacted their learning journey.
"I liked Koreanclass101. I used it on an intermediate level for a few months and it was useful. It has pretty much everything you need, casual Korean dialogue, [spaced repetition software] flashcards, native pronunciation, grammar explanation, etc. Not sure how good the absolute beginner stuff is though." - Comment from Reddit
“I think KoreanClass101 gets you used to listening much earlier than [other platforms] because there are short dialogues at the beginning of each lesson... So you could just listen to the dialogues on their own for added listening practice. Once you get into the lower intermediate lessons they start to remove English little by little and start explaining more in Korean. Until eventually there's no more English in lessons.” - Comment from Reddit
Yes, as many former students mention, KoreanClass1001 definitely has an emphasis on developing listening skills. Not being an auditory learner myself, I found it a little tough to develop listening comprehension before developing reading and writing skills.
But this doesn’t have to be an issue! Instead, lean into this characteristic and focus on it as a strength. Not only can you use KoreanClass101 at the same time as other Korean language platforms, you should be using it at the same time as other platforms.
Lean into the teaching strengths of each platform to give yourself the best chance at gaining fluency in Korean!
Conclusion: Is KoreanClass101 worth it?
KoreanClass101 is an exceptional online resource for those looking to learn the Korean language. With its extensive library of over 800 audio and video lessons, interactive flashcards, and grammar worksheets, the platform caters to learners of all levels and provides a fun and engaging way to study Korean.
The course's emphasis on practical usage and real-world scenarios, combined with its cultural insights, makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking to explore the fascinating world of Korean culture.
I personally found KoreanClass101 invaluable for getting up to speed on Korean as an absolute beginner. I’m really thankful that KoreanClass101 taught me how Hangul works (I was surprised how easy it was!) and how to say some basic conversational phrases.
Whether you're a die-hard K-pop fan, a Korean drama addict, or simply a lover of Korean food, KoreanClass101 can help you achieve your language learning goals and deepen your appreciation for this vibrant and rich culture.
There are different pricing options for KoreanClass101 based on access level (from Basic to PremiumPlus) and subscription duration. Prices range from $3.50/month for 24 months of Basic access to $47.00/month for month-to-month PremiumPlus access. KoreanClass101 constantly offers deals for 24-month subscriptions, so if you are going to pay for a subscription I recommend going for that option.
KoreanClass101 works mainly by listening and repeating. Its desktop version offers many extra resources, like voice recording to practice your pronunciation and worksheets to test your knowledge of Korean’s Hangul writing system.
Yes, within 60 days of purchase.