How to Learn Chinese Online – 22 Killer Tips

The internet allows us to learn significantly faster and conveniently than before and you should definitely make sure you use these opportunities.

Learning Chinese online has become a very popular world-wide method for getting your Mandarin skills ahead without coming to China itself.

We have taught Mandarin to students from more than a hundred countries. The convenience of being able to study Chinese without having to travel to China or even a Chinese course in your own country and the ability to have access to the world’s best native teachers wherever you live are amazing.

How to Learn Chinese Online – Follow our YouTube

First things first, following our YouTube channel is a good way to start learning Chinese online – we cover a plethora of topics from ordering food, to shopping and much much more.

Here’s three useful videos for starters… if you like it, why not subscribe?

22 Steps to Success – How to Learn Chinese Online

We have been doing this for a long time, so here is some advice from us how you can maximize your studying results.

Before your Online Lessons

  1. Prepare and get ready for an online class the same way as you would for any other class. For you to be in the right mindset and not distracted during class is essential for maximum progress.
  2. Be in a quiet environment that does not distract you and allows your teacher to hear your voice clearly without interferences.
  3. Have your IT equipment ready before class. Make sure your microphone and headset work, you have all other programs switched off and your internet connection works and is stable.
  4. Bluetooth is the enemy of online classes. Make sure all your blue tooth devices are turned off as they might access your speakers or microphone without you noticing it and therefore make them non available for your class.
  5. Be ready on time and allow yourself a few minutes to start your computer and check your equipment before the class to make sure you don’t loose valuable studying time later.
  6. Have paper and pen or a word document ready where you can take notes.
  7. Prepare yourself a list of questions you have and do not be shy to ask your teacher about them.

During your Online Classes

How to Learn Chinese Online - Do it with a smile!

How to Learn Chinese Online – Do it with a smile!

  1. Tell your teacher what you want. All classes are individually made for you and your teacher will be able to adjust the teaching content to your needs. However as you and your teacher live far away (s)he will need your help to know what kind of vocabulary and sentences are useful for you at the moment.
  2. Give your teacher feedback. If there is something you would like to focus more on, an area that you feel you need more help with or anything else that you would like to change, do not be shy to tell your teacher about it. Your feedback will be very welcome and helps him to do what he wants to do: provide the best Chinese lesson possible for you.
  3. While you do not have to, we recommend to have your webcam open during the lesson so your teacher can see you. A teacher relies on a student’s body movement, tone etc. to assess whether the class is going into the right direction, learning should be slowed down or sped up etc. and it is much harder to do this when you do not see the student. Also make sure you do not have a bright light source like a sunny window or light behind you as your face will appear very dark on the screen. Try to have light sources shining on your face and not from behind you on the screen.

After your Online Class

  1. Depending on your time availability your teacher will give you homework. Make sure you complete the tasks you were given. If you would like additional tasks, currently do not have the time for homework or other opportunities to practice, make sure you let your teacher know.
  2. Use the recording function of the classes. One amazing thing about online classes is that they can be recorded and then viewed again. That means you can later watch your class again, which is a great way to revise what you learned. You can also fast forward through parts that you find easy and stop and rewind sections that you need to listen to again to get it right, like for example pronunciation of specific tones.

Immersion when learning Chinese Online

Students who study Mandarin online often do not have a very immersive Chinese language environment around them and opportunities to practice what you learned might be much fewer than when living in Beijing or Taipei for example.

However for progressing fast with your Mandarin repeating and utilising what you learned is essential.

There might be Chinese restaurants or communities around you that you can tap into – try out the WeChat “look around” function.

If there are not, then you can create that environment. Put Post-It notes on furniture in your home with their names in Chinese characters and Pinyin.

Try changing your mobile phone language to Mandarin.

Put a list of current vocabulary where you often will look at it, for example in front of your toilet.

Most importantly make sure you review and revise often. When you don’t get to speak Mandarin in daily life you have to revise vocabulary more often to make sure it sticks.

Finally once you have the time, plan a trip to China to study at one of our schools there, live with a Chinese homestay and be fully immersed into a Chinese only speaking language environment.

How to Learn Chinese Online – Free Online Learning Tools

There are endless options online and many of them are very good, though there are also some bad apples.

Have a look at our blog for recent reviews of Chinese online learning software. Here the essentials you should definitely look at:

  1. Pleco: Pleco is by far the best Chinese dictionary app available. Install it on your phone and use the hand writing function for practice when looking up characters instead of just copy and paste. The dictionary is the main function and it is free of charge, but there are useful pay for add ons like flashcards available too.
  2. Anki: Anki is our favourite free flash card system around. Use it to create your own flash card decks, test yourself and keep revising vocab whenever you have a few minutes with nothing to do.
  3. Chinese-Forums: The best forum for Chinese language learners there is. If you need advice on how to learn Mandarin, this forum is the place to get it.
  4. Zoom: It’s the best, fastest and most reliable online video conferencing software available today – and for you it is free of charge as well.

What Our Students Say

Jessica Testimony for LTL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Doing the online class was a fantastic experience! My teacher Ruth was kind, patient and encouraging. She helped me so much! I would highly recommend LTL Mandarin School for anyone who is learning Mandarin.

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Jason Testimony for LTL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Our online Zoom lessons allowed for plenty of speaking practice and my teacher used the online whiteboard to give lots of support in both characters and pinyin. I highly recommend these online lessons.

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Aya Testimony for LTL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Overall, my experience was good and I would recommend. I like how their lessons are structured and I can say that my experience with them contributed a lot to my improvement, especially in hanzi reading.

Read More

Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi, Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Mandarin School!

    How can I help you?