I believe that the Radio D course is the most basic and easier course between the various courses available in the Deutsche Welle website. Officially, the course is designed for students with little or no knowledge of German, that is, for students who are in the A1 and A2 levels. And, is focused more on basic listening.
In the course Radio D we follow the routine of Phillip, a young reporter who starts working at Radio D. He works with the reporters Paula and Ayhan. But these are not the only characters. In the course there are also others important characters: Compu, a talking computer that does researches; Eulalia, a curious and talkative owl; and, Josefine, the woman responsible for cleaning the office. In the second part of the course, Ayhan no longer participates and another character enters the scene, the new intern in the editorial room: Jan Becker.
The course and its structure
The course is divided in two parts. Each part has 26 lessons with audio. Each audio has 15 minutes. In addition, on the site the manuscripts of the episodes and grammar exercises are available. After the story, in the final minutes of each episode, a teacher gives small explanations about grammar.
In the course, we follow the routine of the editorial room and the research on mysterious cases. During the cases, it is common to get to know the history and culture of Germany. Each case lasts some lessons, usually about 7 lessons. Some topics are more interesting, some less, depends on the taste of each one. I liked the episodes about King Ludwig of Bavaria, about Beethoven and the Berlin Wall. Others, like the episode on a mysterious laser in Jena were uninteresting.
Usually, the course is presented as follows: the narrator says what the characters will do and the dialogues will start, there are 3 or 4 dialogues per lesson. These dialogues are constantly interrupted by the narrator to explain a situation or vocabulary. The most important parties of the dialogues are repeated at the end of each episode, after the grammatical explanation of the teacher.
Despite these constant interruptions there is never a complete translation of the dialogues, neither in audio, nor in the manuscripts. Commonly, small words are explained along the course. The understanding of the course is possible thanks to the tips given by the narrator and the context. In fact, this is the aim of the course: to make students understand the German language through the ambient sounds, tones of the characters and the context of the story.
I think the idea of learning by the context is very good, but in this case did not work it, I barely retained any vocabulary of the course. During many parts I was a little confused about the meaning of words or even whole sentences.
The first part of the course is available in multiple languages, including Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, French, Spanish and English. I didn’t research deeply on the second part, but it is not available in Portuguese. I did not use the course book, because I don’t like to read on the computer and I found that the files were disorganized around the site. I would prefer a single file, well-organized. I believe that this would be easier for them as well, because apparently there is a physical course book that was scanned and made available online.
- The course is free.
- The first part is available in multiple languages.
- You learn more about the history and culture of Germany
- The voice of Compu is unbearable.
- There is a great deal of vocabulary that is not explained
- For me, the book course is not well organized on the site
- More Portuguese/English than German
The intention of the creators was positive, but unfortunately I found the course ineffective. I didn’t learn a lot from the course and I barely retained any vocabulary. This course was one of the first I did; hence, at that time I had a small vocabulary, which made it very difficult to understand the course.
There are other courses of Deutsche Welle that are better and most interesting (Check the review on the Mission Europe course here). Perhaps, the course can serve as a slight revision for students who are already in the B1 level, but I don’t think it’s suitable for someone who is starting German and want to progress quickly.