Elementary lessons on android app

July 02, 2015, 08:15 PM posted in General Discussion

Hi all,

This could be the wrong place to ask---if so, please let me know a better forum.  I've been using the ChinesePod Android App for about 30 minutes a day for a few months.  I'm basically just interested in the audio part, because I listen during my commute, during which I can't really interact with my phone.  Separately, I also try to retain Chinese vocabulary with a flashcard program (Mnemosyne).

I pay for a Premium Subscription, but I've never used a teacher 1 on 1.

Anyway, here are my assorted questions:

1)  How can I just search for elementary lessons?  Despite only activating Elementary under "My Account"->"Feed Settings" at this website, I still see all levels of lesson when I hit "Library" on the Android app.  I can type "elementary" into the search box, but this is cumbersome, and it seems to only return a few results.  It's getting harder and harder for me to find relevant content.  By contrast, on this web site I can simply click "Library"->"Elementary".

2)  How do I select which courses I see on the Android app?  On the website I can see courses like "Daily Life 4", which don't match the courses on the app.  On the app, I just see two courses other than the free one: "Daily Life Elementary Playlist" and "Daily Life Newbie Bridge Course".  I liked both of these courses because I could just click on them and see a series of lessons at the same level.  Also sometimes the lessons were thematically linked.
3)  Have I gotten stupider, or have the Elementary lessons gotten harder?  The recent elementary lessons (by Fiona and Guillem (sp?)) are much harder than the lessons from the Daily Life Elementary Playlist (generally by Jenny and Ken/John).  Even after listening to the newer lessons twice (which includes 12+ repetitions of the dialogue), I still can't make out all the words.  By contrast, I thought the level of the older elementary lessons were perfect for me.

4)  Related to the above, is there a way to see the dialogue in pinyin on the app?  I can press "Dialogue" on the lesson menu, but unfortunately that doesn't help me because I don't know the characters.  The "Vocabulary" section does include pinyin however, and I find it very helpful.

5)  Am I doing it wrong?  I'm asking the questions above because they seem salient, but if I'm just approaching something the wrong way and should change my strategy, please let me know.

Thanks very much,

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July 16, 2015, 01:58 PM

Hi again,

It's been about two weeks since my previous post.  I thought my questions were pretty basic---I think any new student who's using Chinesepod on Android might have very similar questions.  If no one in the community knows, does anyone know how I can contact Chinesepod?  Although I've been a subscriber ($29/mo) for months, I don't see any link on the web page to get basic support from the staff of Chinesepod.

I do see an option to interact with a teacher 1 on 1.  That might be helpful, but I'm guessing the teachers just know Chinese and how to teach Chinese.  They may not know about the Android app, about which elementary lessons are available, etc.

Thanks for any info,


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Hi there bescoto, sorry for not getting back to you.

I have answered questions 1,2, and 4 on our support.chinesepod.com site. 

This article is tailored towards you and hopefully other confused learners. Let me know if these instructions answer your questions.

View Support Article

Regarding question 3, we would say that the level has gone up slightly, but they are more in line with what a student would learn if they were to study Chinese at an elementary level at a course in either China or Taiwan.  If they are a bit difficult initially, you can always study them a few more times and spend a little more time reviewing the material beforehand, or you can mix up some older lessons with some new lessons to get a more well rounder level of Chinese. 

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Hi Gwilym,

Thanks very much for the response! Here are some brief follow-ups about my individual questions.

1) The instructions on your page look very helpful, but unfortunately they don't seem to match my app. In particular when I hit Library->Search, there does not seem to be a "Sort by Channel" option. I don't think it's a version problem---I just tried reinstalling it from the App Store, and when I hit the slider icon, the app says that it's running v3.93.

2) Thanks, I think I had forgotten to hit "refresh" (or didn't realize it was necessary). Or maybe it was when I reinstalled the app. Either way, I can see the same courses on the app and website, so I'm all good now! Also getting more courses listed makes problem #1 above for me less important.

3) Thanks for the straightforward answer. It's fine if the level has gone up a bit---at least now I know it's not all in my head.

4) Wonderful, I can see the pinyin now! It never occurred to me to tap on the characters before---I guess I'm too old to be using a smartphone ;)


Thanks again,


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That is odd that you have no sort function with v3.93. Could you take a screen shot if possible. To do so on an androidphone try these steps:

  • Simultaneously press the power button and the volume down key. The trick is to hold down buttons at the exact same time until the screen blinks. ...
  • Swipe down on the notification to review and share the screenshot.

Feel free to send it to gwilym@chinesepod.com

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July 16, 2015, 09:07 PM

Hey Ben,

Im reasonably new. (A year on and off almost). What I would say is that the App has been promised to be updated this July. This is massive as the app hasnt been updated in a long time and needs totally remade and apparantly were getting this in July (as rumoured anyway!).

The app is pretty crashy and isnt well organised in its current state but hang in there. Mainly it is there for on the go listening and conveninece but hopefully we will see more features soon.

I believe the apple version is better just now but who knows?

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Thanks for the info.  it'll be interesting to see the new version of the app.  I'm more of a computer person, so for me the app is fine as long as I can find and play the sound files for appropriate lessons.

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December 08, 2015, 06:10 PM

Hi Again,

Sorry to resurrect an old conversation, but I have another question about the Android app.

First let me say that I've been enjoying Chinese Pod and the new app, which is more convenient than the old one.  Also, just to follow-up on something I said above, I eventually enjoyed the way the Elementary lessons started off easier, and then got harder over the years.  With so many lessons, it was kind of like having another level in between Newbie and Elementary.

Anyway, my question is how to use the app to find new lessons.  Is there a way to show un-studied lessons on the app?  I see the slider for "Studied Lessons", but that only seems to toggle between all lessons and studied lessons---it never shows you just unstudied lessons.

Why is this a problem?  For instance, Chinesepod says studying 120 Intermediate lessons is "Recommended".  If there's no way to show only unstudied lessons, does that mean users, even if they start at the top, will eventually have to scroll by 100+ lessons to find the next lesson?  On the Android app, it seems the lessons load in batches of 10 or so, so that's quite a few swipes.  Also, Android apps can be reset by the OS I believe, so if I switch out of the app sometimes I have to start over and swipe all the way to the bottom again, while I check to see if I remember each lesson.

There is a "bookmark" option, but it just seems to be a link to an individual lessons, rather than working like an bookmark in a book.  So it seems you can't just bookmark a lesson and then go to the next one.

Anyway, it's not too big a deal because the web page is very convenient: you can search for "Non-Studied" lessons.  Also the library is handily divided into pages, each of which contains a few dozen lessons.  So mostly I've just been using the web version on my phone.  But the Android app seems very good too, it's just not obvious how to find the next lesson.