More people are interested in learning a new language every day. Even more numbers of people want to learn Chinese. But the language is not only challenging to master by oneself; it is also boring to learn alone. Studies show that people that learn a new language with other people learn faster and better than those that learn alone. The latter sets of people usually drop out of learning after a few days or weeks. That is why you need a platform to learn Chinese.
But then comes the question – which one? There are thousands of online and offline learning mediums for the mandarin language. If you are not certain about the criteria for choosing a platform, you might find that learning is more difficult than you imagines. The wrong platform would also not be convenient for you as an an indivual. So what are these factors you should consider? This article will list the major things you should consider before choosing a platform to learn Chinese. But more than that, the article will also include some recommended platforms you can choose to start learning right away!
Which is Best: an Online or Offline Learning Platform?
This is the first question – should you choose an online or an offline learning platform? Choosing to learn from online Chinese tutors means that you would be mastering the new language from the comfort of your home via an internet connection. You would have control over the schedule and class timing, and you can access the notes and courses anytime, anywhere in the world. Online platforms also allow you to learn from native speakers without travelling to China.
Offline, physical, direct, or face-to-face learning requires you and the teacher to meet and see each other. You would have to choose a specific time and place where you both can meet to learn. This can either be a private class between you and the tutor, or you could join a class where the teacher tutors you and several other students. You would be limited to the scheduling since you must follow the teacher’s schedule. You would also be limited to full access from communication difficulties, inability to hear in class, an uncomfortable environment, and much more. Finally, there is a big possibility that your tutor would not be a native speaker and is only relying on notes.
So to answer the question, which is best? It is advisable for you to learn online with online Chinese tutors, then you can connect with a physical group to speak together and familiarize yourself with the language even more.
What to Consider Before Choosing an Online Platform For Learning Chinese
Now that you know which platform to choose, what are the factors to consider when looking for the best online Chinese teaching platform? Here are a few;
Age or Existence of the Platform
One of the factors to consider is how long the platform has been active. Some online platforms have been working for a decade, some more, and others less. While you might not care about the age of the online medium, it could be a pointer to how trustworthy or reputable the site is. Newer sites (especially when they are less than a year old) tend to have a shaky structure and no reputation. Hence might not be the best choice.
Another thing to consider is for whom the courses are provided. Are you looking for a Chinese learning platform for your kid or yourself as a teenager or working class? The platform would differ based on these requirements, and the best for you as a college student would be different from the best for a mom with three kids.
Thirdly, think about what formats you prefer to learn in and then match your preference with the provision of the Chinese learning platform. Some offer courses in video formats where you would have to download or stream the videos and learn. Others offer material filled with texts and pictures, while a few of the rest allow you to meet with your tutor live through zoom, skype, or other video call formats. Which is more suitable and comfortable for you? That would be your best pick!
Another very important factor for the best platform for learning Chinese is the kind of courses they offer. Look for platforms that offer general Chinese courses, spoken Chinese courses, daily Chinese, Business Chinese, Grammar, Conversational Courses, and so on. The best platform should also have beginner, intermediate, and upper levels courses.
Different Chinese learning platform tutor in different ways and feature several mediums for easy learning. Some offer flashcards, while others include storybooks and images for easier grasping the mandarin language. Some platforms allow you to self-learn while handing out quizzes, tests, and examinations for self-evaluation. Most live platforms allow you to connect and network with other students worldwide for conversation-inspired learning, group classes, and so much more. So the choice depends on your preference.
Teacher Qualifications and Requirements
Though most platforms would brag that their tutors are qualified, can they back their qualifications with certifications, years of experience, or even testimonials and reviews? It would be best if you were certain that a tutor truly knows Chinese. Native speakers are much more recommended than people who studied the language in college. But overall- it is best to go for a trained tutor instead of just someone who knows how to speak.
Also important is the scheduling. While online Chinese learning platforms already have a flexible schedule, you still need to show up online at a particular time. So the question is – will this time be fine for you? Some platforms ask students to report for live classes once a day, while others only need you to complete a course by the end of the month. Some have no schedule and completely depend on your ability to motivate yourself and stay consistent. All you need to do is decide what timing is best for you and look for a platform that matches your choice.
Price (trial, free, paid plans, pay for course)
Finally, match the platform to your budget. Some online Chinese teaching platforms are free (but not usually recommended since they don’t offer the best services). Others are paid but come with a free trial of 3, 5, or even up to 7 days. Then there are the paid platforms – with different payment systems. You could either pay for a course or subscribe to a plan. Whichever suits you is the best for you.
Choosing a single online learning platform for the Chinese language is a challenging task, but with these guides – it becomes possible and less of a hassle. But if all of these seem like a lot of work, there is one easy way out – reviews! So check for non-sponsored online reviews on any online learning platform, which should help you make a final decision. 祝你好运 (Good Luck)!