Learn Chinese Online: Review of eChineseLearning

Review of eChineseLearning

Review of eChineseLearning

New communication technologies have made the life of language learners easier than ever: anyone with a computer and a decent internet connection can now connect, at the click of a mouse, with experienced, motivated and professionally qualified language teachers from just about anywhere around the world. Indeed, chances are you’re familiar with platforms such as Skype or instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and many others. But have you, as a language learner, ever thought about leveraging these tools to your advantage, and save a lot of time and money doing so?

Learning Chinese with a private tutor online

I’ve been learning Mandarin Chinese for some time now, but one of the areas that I know I’ve always needed as much practice as possible (as I’m sure most of us language learners usually do) is when it comes to speaking skills. So when I found out about eChineseLearning, one of the world’s premier online Chinese language schools, I couldn’t resist their offer for a free live 1-to-1 30mn lesson with a professional Chinese teacher. I signed up right away (they only require your name, email, and phone number), received a call the same day from a well spoken customer service representative, and had my 1-to-1 lesson booked for the next day.

Should you be scared to take online language lessons?

So how did it go? Well, I’m not going to lie: I’ve always had a bit of apprehension before hopping on Skype, or some other kind of instant messaging app, and connecting with a complete stranger in a language I’m not too familiar with — in my case, Mandarin Chinese. In fact, I’m sure a fear of the unknown and related apprehension about taking language lessons online for the first time is one of the reasons why so many people hesitate to take the leap and give it a try in the first place (if they knew how much cheaper and convenient it was compared to group language classes at schools and universities, however, they’d probably sign up right away!).

But suffice to say, as soon as I connected with my teacher Julie, I was pleasantly surprised at how professional she was: right from the beginning she made me feel at ease, gauged my level in Mandarin, and began conversing with me in the language while also providing helpful explanations in flawless English. What made the experience particularly rewarding for me was that Julie wrote key words and phrases that we came across during our conversations on Skype in pinyin and Chinese characters, along with the English translation, something you simply can’t get with an in-person teacher or group classes.

Skype with Julie eChineseLearning

Every time I struggled to find a word or an expression in the language, she would write it for me and make me practice using the word of phrase straight away, which definitely helped with remembering things and putting them to use in context with a native speaker. This is also especially handy after the class ends, because you can then simply copy everything and paste it into a document or app for later review.

How much does eChineseLearning lessons cost?

At the end of the lesson, Julie connected me with one of her colleagues from eChineseLearning, who then made sure I was 100% satisfied with the lesson I had just taken. I was asked a few questions about my Mandarin learning plans, and I was given a link with a personalized, special offer for bi-weekly classes with eChineseLearning. Depending on your needs, availability, level, and plans, rates will probably vary, but in my case I was given a price of about US$180 per month to take up to 3 classes per week (12 classes per month) from highly qualified Chinese teachers directly from China, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

I don’t know about you, but this kind of price for professional language instruction (and individualized based on your own level, pace and learning style) is about as good as it gets. I was also given the option of using the Mandarin Chinese textbook I have for lessons, or using the teacher’s recommended one. Once you sign up, you will be assigned a primary teacher, with whom you will have the majority of your lessons. That teacher will also be responsible for designing a lesson plan for you and for adjusting the pace of teaching/learning based on your own abilities and needs.

Would I recommend eChineseLearning?

Overall, I have been very impressed with eChineseLearning and I will be continuing to take lessons with their teachers for the foreseeable future. What I have found especially surprising was the quality and dedication of their teachers. In fact, a few days after having completed my lesson with Julie, she sent me a personal email with a complete lesson plan she prepared along with a recording of useful words and phrases we went over during our Skype lesson to help me practice my listening. She definitely went above and beyond all expectations, and it’s nice to see this level of professionalism and dedication from your teacher.

email from Julie eChineseLearning

If you haven’t done so yet, sign up for a free live 1-to-1 30mn lesson with one of their professional Chinese teachers, and start practicing now. Think about it: what have you got to lose?

Oh, and one more thing: tell them Lingholic has brought you to them, and when you sign up for a package for at least 3 months, you’ll get one full week’s worth of lessons for free.

Happy learning!

By Lingholic

  • www.lingholic.com is all about the art of learning languages. Learn how to learn and dramatically improve your foreign language acquisition ability.

  • Show Comments (10)

  • carl guymer

    A good review of what is in the “packet”. It corresponds very closely to my experience. I have been with them since November. It is initially very daunting connecting on the internet with someone you do not know, but if you can overcome your doubts and fears, it becomes very enjoyable.

  • Sarah McClean

    Great to see a review of such a cool program! I took the free trial as well. I’ve always wanted to study Chinese but never had a chance, so I was pretty nervous about how I’d be able to communicate but my teacher Helene spoke great English so that wasn’t a problem.

    I was really surprised how much I learned in just 30 minutes. Since I didn’t really know any Chinese we started with the basics of pinyin (she even gave me some tips like thinking of the 2nd tone as surprised and the 4th tone as angry to get the proper sound) then moved onto key phrases.

    I can now introduce myself, say where I’m from, and ask the questions back to someone else. Essentially I could have a mini convo with any Chinese person I meet, which is really cool, and I feel really confident about my pronunciation since Helene was able to hear how I said things and correct me.

    Imagine how much you could learn with 50 minute lessons 2-3x a week? You’d be speaking Chinese in no time! Definitely worth the price–their lessons are cheaper than a trip to China (but you still get the native speakers) AND WAY more convenient than a school-type class or trying to study on your own. Trust me on that~~~~

  • Tatianna Wickey

    I didn’t think I would like learning on Skype, but I took the free trial and it was great! Thanks eChineseLearning! This review is good. I had the same experience. Julie is my teacher too 🙂 , She’s really great. I think it’s true that you can learn on Skype. I saw this review online and it made me want to try it. I think I’ll keep getting lessons.

  • Shema Wright

    I had a great experience with eChineseLearning. It is definitely a program I would recommend. I have been studying Chinese for 5 years, that’s 5 years I have tried different programs and had different teachers, so I have come into contact with a lot of different methods of teaching. As soon as the free trial started, I could tell it was an efficient and effective way. We jumped right into the lesson with no awkwardness and the teacher, Helena, was very engaging and funny.

    We spoke in Chinese the entire lesson, and aside from immediately being able to gauge my level and teach me something new, she also took a couple of minutes to correct some of my tones and word usage. This is a problem you come into after learning Chinese for a long time, you get into a habit of using something wrong and usually teachers don’t focus so much on correcting you. Yet, Helena was able to quickly correct my mistakes without making me feel dissuaded, and she did it in a way that helped me remember for the future.

    I was really impressed by how much we got done in just 30 minutes. Sometimes a class can feel like a waste of time when a teacher reteaches you something you have already learned, or spends too much time over-explaining. Yet I didn’t feel like a second of the class was wasted, and even though the time seemed to fly by, I still learned new vocabulary, grammar and worked on tones.

  • Jason. R

    Just wanna share with you guys my experience with them.
    In the ECL Trial, the teachers head is the focus; large and easy to see. I think it is important to clearly see the teacher’s mouth as they make the sounds, so ECL has the advantage here. My teacher Anna could show me how to put my tongue against my teeth.Anna was the focus of the lesson and she was very natural and able to improvise during the lesson.

    Skype, however, works very quickly and I had no problems with the connection when I had my free trial lesson with ECL today.
    My overall impression is that it’s easier to connect with the teacher. Each individual learner may have a preference for which style they like. When I teach English, I always encourage students to watch my mouth as I make the sounds, so I like the face-to-face style of eChineseLearning.

  • Ayden Lee

    My experience with eChineseLearning has been nothing but positive. I signed up two years ago for beginner lessons. I’m an older man, not retired but not too busy working, and I’ve always wanted to pick up a new language. Chinese interested me because China always seemed like an interesting place, and because I’m always hearing about it in the news. Figured it was a place I ought to know more about.

    After one year of lessons, I’d say that I was at a solid intermediate level. I could talk with my teacher, who was extremely patient, well enough for us to build a real connection. After that I traveled China for a month. I did the normal Beijing-Xi’an-Shanghai circle, but I also made it to some more far-flung places. It was truly an eye-opening experience, and knowing Chinese made the experience that much richer.

    When I came back I continued with eChineseLearning encouraged by my adventure. In the year since I’m pretty well on my way to being an advanced speaker. I owe a lot of that to how convenient eChineseLearning’s classes are. I have classes when I want, so I can keep the rest of my free time arranged how I’d like. It’s made it so much easier for me to continue with the classes. I also recommend eChineseLearning.

  • Mandy T.

    I’ve just been so overwhelmed with Chinese for the longest time–I married a Mandarin speaker and I’ve been playing catchup for the past 3 years. Mandarin isn’t easy. eChineseLearning has really turned that around, though. My teacher, Helena, is just so encouraging. She gives me that boost of confidence with speaking that I have been needing.

    After a year, I’m not as nervous when I attempt to use Mandarin while speaking with my in-laws (native mandarin speakers). They all have noticed the difference. And they comment on it now. I’m so glad I didn’t keep plugging away at online learning, without the one on one lessons. It’s the one on one that makes all the difference.

  • Randy Mincal

    eChineseLearning has been infinitely better than the other online subscriptions and chinese learning services I’ve tried. I’m in business/finance and have needed to take Mandarin to communicate better with Chinese partners. I’ve been with my teacher at eChineseLearning for over 2 years, and it has greatly improved my speaking ability as well as my reading and writing.

    Not only do I pickup more side conversation during business transactions (crucial), but I’m able to get around Beijing by myself and not need to rely on English speakers to aide me with directions. The biggest thing that makes their model work is that the teaching schedule fits my needs, instead of the other way around. I’m able to work and learn. Total win.

  • jf
  • Jon Petruch

    I tried eChinese Learning. The free 30 minute lesson was top notch, I learnt a lot through that. The next 30 minutes was a sales spiel to get you to buy into using their courses, which I did. Thinking that since the first 30 minutes was great, whatever else they had to offer must be great. I purchased the 3 lessons per week course over a year, and paid the first month fee. I was able to take the first week of classes before having to postpone for two weeks as I had some important meetings from potential Chinese partners coming from the mainland. The first week wasn’t as great as the free lesson. I was waiting for the textbook, which you have to buy, to arrive and so we spent those first three lessons learning the vocabulary from the textbook that had not yet arrived. Week 3 – textbook arrives and I am looking forward to the lessons in Week 4. First two lessons was with my designated teacher and the third lesson was with a ‘fill-in’ teacher, as there is no guarantee that you can get your designated teacher at the time that suits you. It’s a bit of a juggling act, on their part, with the teachers’ timetable. The long-awaited week 4 arrives, and we begin to learn from the textbook. Teacher was strict, but that’s ok. That’s what you need when learning something. However, the week after, I couldn’t get my designated teacher and got a substitute for two lessons. There always seems to be some kind of irrelevant small-talk at the beginning, which is much longer if you have a substitute teacher, and you just wish the class would start, and time’s ticking (you only get 50 minutes, which can be rather short). So, week 5 and I have a designated teacher/substitute split for the week. And as much as I indicated I wanted to get the lesson started, the teacher talks ad nauseum about other things. Granted I learnt a thing or two, but I need to learn as much as I can considering I’ll be doing business with the Chinese the following year. I need to get the vocabulary and the expressions down. And during week 4, I get a lot of messages prompting me to pay for the next month, which increased when I got to week 5. Now, I haven’t finished my month’s worth of lessons, which I had already paid for, and then they stop my classes. I asked them about this, and they tell me I have to pay more so that I can get my week’s worth of lessons and that they can’t do anything about it because that is policy. To sum up, I feel that use good teachers to sucker you in and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something in the free 30 minutes. To date, I don’t feel like I’ve learnt as much in two 50 minute lessons as I did in the free 30 minutes. The teachers are just not like the first teacher you meet. The teachers mean well, but they don’t have any amazing method to make learning Chinese any easier. It’s just luck of the draw as to which Chinese teacher you get, and perhaps there are good teachers there, but the only ones I encountered (and I had a lot of substitutes, thus breaking a sense of continuity) were ok, but not great. The teachers I encountered were all young (20-28) female teachers. Experience definitely wasn’t on their side and there wasn’t any kind of method unique to this that would make learning any faster. You can pretty much buy the textbook and get any native speaker of the language teach you it. The promised mp3 recordings of the lessons also were non-existent on the site. Their customer service is a little abrasive. What can I say? I would rate the concept of learning Mandarin with native speakers anytime you like a 10 out of 10 – the execution, however, leaves much to be desired. If anyone can tell me of an online alternative to eChinese learning I’m all ears.

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