A1 Spanish for Beginners — Instructor-Led for Independent Learners


Spring 2024 registration is open now, and runs through January 16, 2024. Classes begin January 16, 2024. 


14 weeks of Zoom classes and online course materials. Less than $7.00 per class! 

Brand new beginning Spanish language and culture course designed for adult learners. This course is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference. Learners who successfully complete this course will develop an A1 proficiency level, which is the first of six proficiency levels that are internationally recognized. 

Participants can earn a certificate of completion if they meet the requirements. 


A1 Spanish for Beginners is an engaging online Spanish language and culture course developed specifically for adult learners. The course is aligned with the A1 beginning proficiency level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This course is designed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Modern Languages. 

Each lesson includes the following sections: objectives, language learning tip and weekly challenge, key expressions, grammar in context, cultural exploration, and quiz. Within each section, you will be exposed to listen and repeat vocabulary words recorded by speakers of Spanish from Central & South America, the Caribbean, and Spain. Video activities will help you to increase your listening comprehension while engaging with media including songs and interviews with native speakers. Lastly, a mini podcast in each lesson helps you follow along with Mariana and Eduardo, two adult learners of Spanish, as they discover the language and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. 

In the instructor-led course, you will have a weekly synchronous Zoom class (60-minutes) in which you will get the opportunity to practice your Spanish speaking, grammar, and vocabulary skills with your peers. You will also receive weekly emails from your instructor with suggested pacing for moving through the lesson materials. Additionally, you will be able to email your instructor with any questions you may have about the course.

Who should take this course? 

  • Motivated adult learners (aged 18 and up) comfortable with computer technologies and with a desire to learn Spanish.
  • Beginners. No previous Spanish learning experience is required. 
  • If you have learned some Spanish with apps, you may wish to put it into practice with your peers and instructor in this interactive course. 
  • Beginners wishing to learn Spanish for work or travel. 

If you have already taken beginning Spanish courses, it is recommended that you wait for A2 Spanish course, which will be launched in 2024. 

To receive a Certificate of Completion in this course, you will need to score at least 70% on each of the the end of lesson assessments. To be awarded a Certificate with Distinction, you will need to score at least 90% on each of the end of lesson assessments. Attending the weekly course meetings and doing the auto-graded exercises throughout each lesson will help prepare you for success on the end of lesson assessments.The time commitment will typically range from five to seven hours a week.

Click here for information on instructor-led language courses

Additional software or materials required:

You will be required to use videoconferencing software, such as Zoom, which you will be able to use for free with the link that your instructor provides you.

Topics covered:

Greetings and introductions, family and friends, likes and dislikes, talking about time, talking about routines, planning your trip, eating habits, at the restaurant, in the workplace, going to the hotel. 


Each lesson opens with a language learning tip and (optional) weekly challenge to get you in a learning rhythm and put your Spanish into practice with your peers. Learners can then listen to each individual vocabulary word and practice saying them aloud before watching videos where the vocabulary is used in context. Short grammar explanations are coupled with a variety of exercises before viewing videos and/or readings that put the grammar into context. Throughout the lesson, mini podcasts designed specifically for this course help learners to follow Eduardo and Mariana on their Spanish learning journey. At the end of each lesson, cultural activities help learners to understand the language in cultural context. Finally, a quiz at the end of each lesson with three attempts helps you to check what you know! 

Instructor-led course features

Instructor-Led Courses

$97per student
  • Instructor-led OLI courses enable independent learners to study a subject over a 14-week period with a weekly live class on Zoom with their instructor and peers. Courses are:

    • Taught by a Carnegie Mellon University Instructor
    • Not self-paced. There will be weekly deadlines and students will complete approximately one lesson per week.
    • Include a certificate of completion
  • Includes the learning materials and assessments, weekly live class on Zoom (60 minutes), weekly emails, and the ability to contact the instructor for questions

  • Certificate of Completion (70% or more on exams) or Certificate with Distinction (90% or more on exams) available to learners meeting the requirements

  • *If your teacher gave you a Course Key, do not use an Independent Paid course because your teacher will never see your work.

Important dates

You can enroll in Spanish 1 — Instructor-Led for Independent Learners at any time through January 15, 2024

  • Start date: January 16, 2024
  • End date: April 23, 2024

NOTE: Please visit the Zoom class schedule tab for information on your live Zoom meetings.

Zoom class schedule

Meet with your instructor and peers via Zoom:

  • Tuesdays from 1-2:00pm Eastern Time (ET)

Use a time zone conversion tool to convert this to your local time.

What students will learn

By the end of this course, students will learn to:

  • Talk about themselves, their family, and friends 
  • Describe their basic routine
  • Make plans to meet a friend 
  • Order at a restaurant
  • Check in at a hotel
  • Understand the forecast 
  • Ask for help when trying on clothes
  • Speak and write in the present and past 
  • Talk about their jobs
  • Describe their eating habits

Learning objectives by module

Lección 1: Start Here

  • Meet your instructors
  • How to use this course
  • Basic expressions


Lección 2: Saludos y presentaciones (Greetings and Introductions)

  • Greet people in formal and informal settings
  • Introduce yourself
  • Talk about where you are from and where you live
  • Discuss items that you have and what you do not have


Lección 3: Hablar de la familia y los amigos (Talk about your family and friends)

  • Describe professions and age of self, family, and friends
  • Explain people you know and what you know how to do
  • Count from 1-100
  • Use common verbs to describe what people do and do not do in the present tense


Lección 4: Gustos y disgustos (Likes & dislikes)

  • Talk about what you like to do on different days of the week
  • Use common verbs to describe what people do in the present tense
  • Spell words by using the Spanish alphabet 
  • Ask and answer simple yes and no questions 


Lección 5: ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?) 

  • Ask and answer what time it is
  • Talk about places you go
  • Offer, accept & decline invitations
  • Talk about what you are going to do


Lección 6: Hablar de la rutina (Talking about routines)

  • Describe your daily routine
  • Explain what sports you play and what instruments you play.
  • Accept and decline invitations
  • Ask and answer questions about who, what, where, when, why, and how


Lección 7: Planificar su viaje (Planning your trip) 

  • Use dates and months to describe when you will do things
  • Identify key information when viewing transportation tickets on Spanish websites
  • Describe the modes of transportation that you do and do not use
  • Talk about what you are currently doing


Lección 8: Vestirse según el tiempo (Dressing for the weather)

  • Discuss the seasons and the weather
  • Talk about what you wear in different seasons
  • Engage in common dialogue with a shopkeeper
  • Talk about some things that you used to do


Lección 9: Hábitos alimentarios (Eating habits)

  • Describe foods that you like and dislike eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Compare and contrast types of food eaten in different countries
  • Recognize the words to use when doing grocery shopping
  • Talk about your previous eating habits 


Lección 10: En el restaurante (At the restaurant) 

  • Order food and beverage, ask for the check, and discuss payment methods at a restaurant
  • Recognize types of food and diets
  • Talk about what you ate or drank in the past tense
  • Compare cultural elements of food in different countries


Lección 11: En el lugar de trabajo (In the workplace)

  • Describe what one currently does and used to do at work
  • Talk about what you did at work yesterday
  • Identify common forms used in email and work communications
  • Give someone your phone number


Lección 12: Ir al hotel (Going to the hotel)

  • Identify important information in order to make a reservation for a hotel, hostel or Airbnb
  • Understand common street signs and directions
  • Describe your last vacation
  • Plan the details of your next vacation

Other course details

This course will be taught over 14 weeks.

Course Authors:

  • Natalie Amgott, PhD
  • Keziah Olsen
  • Erin Zlockie

Voice Actors:

  • Leandro Durand
  • Ryan McEachern
  • Keziah Olsen
  • Karla Tejeda
  • Erin Zlockie

System requirements

OLI system requirements, regardless of course:

  • internet access
  • an operating system that supports the latest browser update
  • the latest browser update (Chrome recommended; Firefox, Safari supported; Edge and Internet Explorer are supported but not recommended)
  • pop-ups enabled
  • cookies enabled

Some courses include exercises with exceptions to these requirements, such as technology that cannot be used on mobile devices.

This course’s system requirements:

  • Videoconferencing software


OLI Website:
New look and
New student registration process

OLI’s website has undergone a refresh, and so has the student registration process. Watch the video to see how easily students can register with a Course Key.

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