Russian belongs to the Slavic language family and is the most widely spoken language of Europe. It is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and is also widely spoken in Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania.
If you are interested in becoming fluent in Russian, one place a lot of learners start is the RussianPod101. Read our review below to find out if this is the right course for you.
RussianPod101 Review: Summary
RussianPod101 is a language learning program brought to you by Innovative Languages. It promises a fast, fun and flexible way to learn how to speak Russian, and in our opinion it mostly delivers. It has one of the most extensive library of lessons out of the self-directed courses, and the lesson content quality is high.
All in all, we recommend it as a good course for beginner to intermediate students of Russian.
Signing up for RussianPod101
Once you sign up for RussianPod101, you automatically get a free 7-day premium trial and a lifetime account. After the trial period, you can decide between three different monthly subscriptions.
During your trial period, you are granted access to all RussianPod101 has to offer in its Premium Subscription. This includes:
- Access to the learning library with hundreds of videos and Russian podcast
- Access to lesson transcripts and assessments
- Learning tools including flashcards, word and phrase lists and interactive tests
- Choice of multiple learning pathways including the guided pathway aligned with CEFR, Level A1
- Access to RussianPod101 on your desktop, tablet or smartphone
Pros of RussianPod101
Pro #1: Self-Paced Learning
RussianPod101 provides all the tools you need to learn at the speed that is right for you and on your own time. You have the ability to repeat lessons as often as necessary until you are comfortable with the content. Since there is no dedicated schedule, you are free to complete lessons and study when it suits you. For example, you can easily listen to a Russian podcast while sitting in traffic, on the subway or over your lunch hour.
Pro #2: Extensive Lesson Library
RussianPod101 offers four levels of expertise including Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Each level contains hundreds of videos and audio lessons in their lesson libraries. On top of that, you will find vocabulary lists, common phrases, news, updates and more. There are even quick lessons you can complete if you need a fast refresher course or simply want to know how to order food in Russian.
Pro #3: Relevant Content
Forget about lessons covering outdated issues like sending telegrams. The lessons presented in RussianPod101 are useful and relevant in today’s modern world. Learn how to ask for the WiFi password or if a restaurant takes a credit card instead of learning phrases you will never use in real life.
Cons of RussianPod101
Con #1: Little Feedback
You will be able to figure out how well you understand Russian based on the completion and scoring of your assessments. However, unless you spring for the Premium PLUS upgrade, there is no way to have individual questions answered or to receive feedback on your pronunciation.
Con #1: Best Suited for Beginner to Intermediate Learners
The lessons move slowly to fully explain what you need to know. This is great for beginners to intermediate learners, but advanced learners may find the content lacking. If you are simply refreshing your Russian, this program should work well for you. However, for those seeking to further enhance fluency, an immersion class may be a better way to go.
Features of RussianPod101
Dashboard and Learning Pathways
Your dashboard serves as the main page that leads you to all aspects of RussianPod101. From here, you can access and save your learning pathways, access learning tools, keep track of your progress and study time and change your level of expertise.
There are a variety of learning pathways including the curated and guided pathway designed to lead you to fluency. You will also find pathways with 3-minute lessons, Culture Class, and Essential Russian for Emergencies. Add as many as you like to your dashboard for quick access whenever you study.
Audio Lessons and Russian Podcasts
Audio lessons are a great way to hear the way the language should be pronounced. They move slowly so you can follow along and English translations quickly follow Russian phrases. There are transcripts included with the lessons, so you can see what you are learning. Explanations are clearly given to explain the differences in tone or word choices for formal and informal settings.
Video Lessons are helpful in allowing you to see the way words are spoken along with hearing their pronunciations. Words are displayed on-screen for you to follow along as the speaker talks. All teachers are native Russian speakers so you are given a true version of the language. Like audio lessons and podcasts, you are also given explanations about cultural norms and behaviors to enhance your learning.
Other Learning Tools
Flashcards are a fun way to test your vocabulary knowledge. A Russian word is spoken aloud, and you have to try to figure out its English translation. You can click on “Show Answer” to see if you were successful. You can then choose whether you were correct or incorrect. Incorrect flashcards return to the stack for more practice.
You can review pronunciation at the end of all lessons and mixed within learning tools. Vocabulary lists often pronounce the words for you and then use them in sentences. This gives you a better idea of how the word sounds surrounded by other words.
Lesson transcripts can be found accompanying most lessons within RussianPod101. This allows you to follow along or to review what you have just learned. Often, you will find extra explanations about etiquette or social norms to further enhance your understanding.
Who Should Use RussianPod101
People who would most benefit from RussianPod101 include those who:
- Are highly motivated to learn Russian for personal or business endeavors
- Excel at independent study
- Enjoy the freedom of learning at their own pace on their own time
- Want to begin working toward fluency in the Russian language
Who Should NOT Use RussianPod101?
RussianPod101, like most other language learning programs, is not a one-size-fits-all. People who might not benefit from RussianPod101 include those who:
- Prefer the structure of a classroom schedule
- Need one-on-one help
- Are already fluent in Russian and want to delve deeper into the language
- RussianPod101 vs. Competitors
RussianPod101 vs. Competitors
There are a few programs out there designed to teach you the basics of the Russian language. Next, we will cover some of our top competitors and their methods of teaching.
RussianPod101 vs. Pimsleur
If you haven’t heard of the Pimsleur Method, it claims to teach you another language the same way you learned your mother language; simply by listening. It focuses not on grammar, but on listening and mimicking others speaking in their native tongue. There is a monthly fee of $14.95 and you can listen to these podcasts of everyday conversations in Russian as much as you like. Pimsleur promises to have you speaking at an intermediate level within 30 days with just 30-minutes of studying per day.
RussianPod101 vs. Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is still available in a book and CD format or a monthly subscription plan. Three months of access is $79. Most lessons are 10-minutes in length or less, and like RussianPod101, you can access them over multiple devices. It claims to advance you further in Russian by offering contextual lessons and interactive activities. It also offers voice recognition to assist with pronunciation.
$4/month $2.80/month (using this link)
- Access to audio lessons archive
- Access on smartphones, tablets and computers
- PDF downloads you can print
$10/month $7/month (using this link)
The Premium Subscription includes all the Basic Subscription features plus:
- Lesson quizzes
- Audio transcripts
- Interactive flashcards
- Extensive word lists and word bank
- Bonus content
- Russian podcasts
Premium PLUS Subscription
$23/month $16/month (using this link)
The Premium PLUS Subscription includes all the Basic and Premium Subscription features plus:
- Access to a native Russian-speaking teacher
- Personalized learning pathway
RussianPod101 Review: Conclusion
RussianPod101 is an extensive learning program for those who want to learn how to speak Russian.
With its comprehensive library of lessons and learning tools, it is a great stepping stone for beginner to intermediate Russian speakers seeking fluency. We feel confident in recommending the program to people wanting to learn Russian on their own.