"Offers a useful pronuncation and grammar tool, and flashcards."
Transparent Korean Review
The internet is transforming the way that we learn languages. One of the best examples is Transparent Korean. The program went from being a strictly CD-based course to the web-based format. In this review I'll look at what exactly this online course has to offer, how it works, and how much you will need to pay to get access. We will also explain the disadvantages and advantages of it, so you can decide if it's the right program for you.
What is included?
There are four main components:
- The Essentials Course - This is comprised of eleven units and thirty three lessons which cover the fundamentals of Korean. In the essentials course you cover basic vocabulary, reading skills, writing and speaking.
- Refresh System - The refresh system makes sure that once you have learned new words and phrase that you remember them. The learned items algorithm is designed to keep track of what you have learned and make sure that it is repeated frequently enough that you remember it.
- Byki Vocabulary Builder - The Byki Vocabulary builder is an advanced flash card system. It contains thousands of words and phrases which have each been categorized by topic. The flash cards include not only the words in English and Korean, they also include images, grammar tips, hints, and cultural tips. You can also listen to the words being pronounced and then compare them to your own pronunciation.
- Language Reference - The language reference helps you to take your knowledge of Korean beyond simply learning the vocabulary. Inside the language reference section there are a variety of different tools and topics. Included are videos which explain the basic principles of Korean, a grammar reference tool and an Alphabet Explorer that teaches you Hangul.
How much does it cost?
Transparent has three different billing options for its online course. If you pay for a full year of access up front it will cost you $199.95 or the equivalent of $16.66 a month. If you pay for a six month subscription up front it will cost $149.95 or the equivalent of $24.95 a month. Or alternatively you can opt to pay month by month which costs $29.95. Transparent claims that this is the largest online Korean language learning course in the world. If you have children you might want to opt for the Kid Speak Korean course for $29.95.
- Wide Range Of Tools - The package comes with a very wide range of tools to help you learn the language. The Alphabet Explorer allows you to hear the pronunciation of specific Hangul characters so that you can perfect your Korean. The grammar tool is also very useful for helping you to learn the sometimes challenging grammar structure of Korean.
- Access From Any Computer - Because all the course materials, quizzes, and games are web-based, you can access it from any computer. This means, no matter if you prefer a laptop, tablet, or a smart phone you will be able to use the course on whatever device you like. It also means that unlike a physical course you can't lose any of the materials.
- Scientific Basis - Spaced repetition is the foundation of the Byki flashcard system. New words and phrases are repeated at ever increasing spaced intervals. This is the optimal way to move newly learned information to your long term memory. In the past it was difficult to keep track of how frequently you should practice phrases that you have already learned. The Byki software takes care of this problem.
- Learn Anywhere - Transparent online comes with a Byki mobile app that you can use on Android or iPhone. This allows you to practice your Korean wherever you are. It is perfect for doing study on your lunch break or while commuting to work or school. The app features over 1000 words and phrases and includes audio pronunciation. This is a very good substitute to the Audio course that used to come with Transparent Premium language courses.
- Easy To Use - The system has a clean looking interface and easy to use navigation system. Accessing the different tools and lessons is very simple and you can learn how to use it in less than half an hour.
- No Physical Course Available - Once you've signed up, you can opt for the CD upgrade which allows you to get all of the content for a one off fee shipped to your home. Of course most people will be happy to access the material online, but there is no alternative for students who prefer to be able to access the course without the internet.
- Can Be Overwhelming - The course has almost too much content and options. It can be at times a little overwhelming trying to decide what you should access and use next.
- Its Relatively Expensive - Even the cheapest package will cost you $199.95 a year. This compares to a one off fee of $99 for lifetime access to the Rocket Korean online course. Both courses cover much of the same material so if you are on a budget choose the Rocket Korean course.
- Comes with a useful pronuncation and grammar tool.
- The flashcard system is done well.
- You can work from anywhere due to its web-basedness.
- The course requires an internet connection to be accessed.
- Missing context explanations in explorer mode.
- A yearly fee (of $199.95) is quite a downside.
Transparent Korean is a solid course built on scientific language learning principles. The Byki tool takes the well known language teaching method of spaced repetition and gives a technological update. Provided you follow the Byki advice to practice words and phrases that need refreshing you will find that you can remember a surprising large amount of Korean.
The main downside is the cost. Learning Korean properly can easily take several years to reach intermediate to advanced ability. Many people will not have the financial means to pay the relatively high monthly costs. If you are looking for a cheaper option - but equally comprehensive - then it is recommended that you try out Rocket Korean. The full Rocket Korean online course only costs the equivalent of three months access to Transparent Korean.