Spanish MOOC is a supplementary beginner’s Spanish course that I’m really impressed with, especially given that it’s completely free.

It’s centered around popular Spanish-language YouTube videos like music videos from Shakira and Juanes, and the interface they use (courtesy of Instreamia, an online language-learning platform) is excellent.  The primary strength I see in it is in improving listening comprehension.  You watch a video while simultaneously filling in the blanks in the subtitles provided, each sentence will have one word missing which you must select from 5 choices at the bottom.  Click the images below to see larger versions if you have trouble seeing them.

learn spanish course jaunes telenovela method

With a Juanes music video.

learn spanish alphabet telenovela method

With a basic video on the Spanish alphabet.

There aren’t really any lessons per se, so this won’t work as a comprehensive Spanish course that can be used on its own with nothing else to help you, it supplements whatever Spanish course(s) you might be using already (if you choose to use one, and as I’ve said before you don’t have to).

I didn’t see any grammar lessons but they do offer what looks like (I don’t know, I couldn’t test it) a superb flashcard system for reviewing vocabulary.  It automatically puts words in the deck for later review that you had trouble with (I believe you can also manually add them).  You’re given this lovely interface to work with that shows all your words…

learn spanish vocabulary telenovela method

…and which, when you click on a word and then click the symbol telling it to expand it, you get a more complete definition along with example sentences plus the original context that you learned it in (e.g. a music video):

learn spanish with spanish mooc

Vocab 2

Regrettably, I was unable to test the flashcard system as it didn’t work for me, I just got this page indefinitely:

errorTry it for yourself, odds are it’s a browser/plugin-specific issue and it’ll work for you.  Let us  know in the comments how you fair.

Again, you can go to their website here, at

Important (and quick) side note before we conclude!

If you’re reading this you’re probably learning Spanish at a beginner or intermediate level, and if so could I recommend you quickly check out a site called Yabla? They teach you Spanish using videos made by and for natives (e.g. TV shows, movies, YouTube videos, cartoons, news and documentaries originally made in Spanish-speaking countries for native speakers) coupled with a set of tools specifically designed for that purpose which are integrated into the video player:

  • Verbatim subtitles in Spanish shown at the same time as English subtitles (you can turn either or both on or off)
  • An integrated dictionary and flashcard system that both automatically looks up a word in the subtitles when you click on it as well as adds it to your flashcards for later review
  • Exercises and quizzes about what you just watched that make you apply the new Spanish you just learned.

Check it out here (discounts for educators and institutions, by the way, I know a lot of you are teachers) or read my full review if you’d like more information (and screenshots of the system) first.

Other than the problem with the flashcards I’d say this is a really good system, especially since it doesn’t cost you anything.  I’m particularly impressed with the learning interface around the videos, that alone justifies using it, I’m not even bothered that much about the flashcards.



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Learn Spanish from Popular Media (movies, TV shows, music videos, books, even comics!) Using Mostly FREE Online Resources - Here's How...

I tried to learn French with self-study books and then classes (4 years!) in high school and failed...I tried Spanish and Russian while in university and failed (and got kicked out of a French class but that's another story)...then, 10 years ago, I took another shot at Spanish using a simple method I picked up from a friend: studying (not just watching) Spanish-language TV shows: I was conversationally fluent in six months.

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