Looking for more ways your child can learn Chinese? There are several companies offering Chinese classes online, but which one is the best? I’ve created an Online Mandarin Class Comparison chart of four companies, Lingo Ace, Lingo Bus, Panda Tree, and Speaking Duck. The good news is all four of these companies offer a free trial.
Online Chinese Class Comparison Chart
Review of Online Chinese Classes
The four companies were selected based on how legitimate their website looks. All of these companies use their own proprietary software and do not require users to login through a third party platform. They all offer fun and easy one-on-one online Chinese lessons.
Lingo Ace is based in Singapore and is the only company offering 55 minutes classes. I had high hopes for Lingo Ace. They have a decent looking website and seem to be a good option for online lessons. I realized after several trial classes that my 5 year old can barely sit still during a 25 minute class.
Sadly we were not able to complete a trial class. From the start there was some confusion. The first confirmation email was sent in Chinese. I can only read a few characters so I replied asking for correspondence to be in English. The second email requested some information about my child and also requested my weChat ID. They did not send instructions on how to prepare for the class so I did not think to install the software. We missed our scheduled class and have not received a response to my request to reschedule.
Lingo Bus is located in China and owned by a large online education technology firm. Over the winter, Lingo Bus ran a promotion that offered complete access to their digital library, plus 2 free classes. No purchase necessary. All you had to do was create an account. When the month long rains arrived I finally remembered to make use of the trial classes.
The teacher was warm and engaging. The interface was well designed and the curriculum appropriate for my son’s level, which was assessed at level 2. Lingo Bus’ lesson was well planned out and focused on learning the same set of characters with 4 different activities.
Class User Interface
Lingo Bus users have full access to their extensive learning resources including books, printable worksheets, flashcards, and other goodies.
Lingo Bus’ library has hundreds of digital books in a wide range of topics. Each book has an auto play feature with audio and the option to turn Pinyin on/off.
Printable Chinese Character Worksheet
Help a mama out and use this Lingo Bus Referral Link. At no additional cost to you, we both receive free classes if you purchase a package.
Panda Tree’s headquarters are in California. I was excited to find a US company focusing on teaching Chinese. This was my son’s first online Chinese class. I had asked the teacher to call introduce herself as 姐姐 (big sister) instead of teacher. At first he was intrigued and curious about a stranger video chatting with him. Once he realized it was a class he lost interest. Panda Tree accepts students as young as age 2. The lesson was way too easy for my 5 year old. No Chinese characters we introduced and my son quickly got bored. This could be a good option for toddlers if you think your child can sit through a 25 minute class.
Panda Tree is a web based program using your internet browser. There’s no need to install software or an app. However, we had tech issues and it was glitchy. Some moments the screen is white instead of displaying image.
Class User Interface
Speaking Duck is another Singapore based company. There were lots of emails upon signing up. I completely missed the confirmation email so I didn’t know I needed to install software first. Installer instructions are in Chinese only. After downloading the software I was not able to get a code sent to my mobile to login. Support rep was asking me to enter my user name but the input field only accepts phone numbers. I eventually gave up and closed the install window but for whatever reason tried to open it again, this time I got a different login screen and was able to input my user name instead of a phone number.
With the software finally activated we could enter the classroom. By default the classroom uses my laptop’s rear camera. Neither the teacher nor I could figure out how to switch the cameras but we used a work around fix. The teacher seemed very experienced and was patient. She had no discernible accent, which I know is important to some parents.
I found the tools on the interface to be very small and not intuitive. My son didn’t know he could click on the pen icon to draw or change ink colors. Trial lesson was too complicated for my 5 year old. The text on the interface was very small. The graphics were very busy, and again not intuitive what each task required of him. For example, the class was about shapes – triangle, square, and diamond – which he already knows in Mandarin but we haven’t learned the characters yet. Since he didn’t recognize the characters, the teacher displayed pinyin, but he couldn’t read them as he is in Kindergarten and learning to read this year. I think their expectations are too high since most are just beginning to read at age 5.
Class User Interface
This blog post about Online Mandarin Class Comparison reflects my own experience and opinions. I work for a company that is affiliated with Lingo Bus. I was not asked to write this post for any compensation nor do I received any discounts for any other these products. Please use my referral links if you decide to sign up for a free trial or subscribe for online Chinese classes. In some cases I will receive a free class for my children if you purchase a package. Help a mama out with some freebies! Kids are expensive 🙂
Looking for more ideas to teach your child Chinese? Check out my Chinese learning resources page.