A Native Online French Course for Beginners

May 20, 2016

native online french course beginners

The following french language learning resource is FREE and involves native French speakers from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

It is part of the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) which offers online courses to anyone who wants to learn or teach. The aim is to create high-quality courses and contribute original research to improve learning and transform higher education.

Two levels are available:

Elementary French I

Elementary French II

An emphasis on creating an interactive experience

The French courses are introductory, interactive video-based courses intended for use by university students and independent learners on the Internet. We have found it to be a great resource for starters or those wanting to refresh their basics. Numerous games and challenges help keep interest high and induce a student to sit up straight and pay attention!


Each course is divided into five thematic modules, with three lessons within each module. Each lesson is designed to take approximately one week to complete so working through an entire course will take the average learner approximately fifteen weeks. Completing both courses will require two semesters or approximately thirty weeks.

The New York Times had the following to say:

“French II, the second half of elementary French, begins with a video of a conversation between two oh-so-French people that flies fast and furious; it can be overwhelming, even dispiriting as the meaning passes you by. Next, the student is asked to reconstruct the conversation by putting a random series of clips in the right order.”

“I can do that, one might think, it’s not like I have to understand it or anything.”

“Stitching the clips together requires that a student — or at least this humble student — listen to the clips and the conversation many times over. And carefully. Intonations suggesting, say, a question, an answer or a scoffing response become important clues — all before the conversation’s meaning is crystal clear.”

“Only later is key vocabulary introduced (harder French words defined by simpler French words); then the pronunciation; then the tests. Suddenly all that listening hard pays off and the dialog begins to make sense.”

“This approach can seem arbitrary, but, in fact, it represents the best ideas on how to teach French online, as determined by the Open Learning Initiative.”

At Dominiques we believe courses like this are a great resource to help students keep studying between lessons and refresh their learning. Our tutors direct students to the best resources that complement their face-to-face lessons, with the aim to help the students to progress and enjoy their learning.

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, a global research university with more than 11,000 students, 86,500 alumni, and 4,000 faculty and staff. Recognized for its world-class arts and technology programs, collaboration across disciplines and innovative leadership in education.

If you want to learn more about the open learning initiative, watch this video: