Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning) Review: My First Thoughts

  • Donovan Nagel
    Written byDonovan Nagel
    Donovan NagelTeacher, translator, polyglot
    🎓 B.A., Theology, Australian College of Theology, NSW
    🎓 M.A., Applied Linguistics, University of New England, NSW

    Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator. Founder of The Mezzofanti Guild and Talk In Arabic.
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A solid, multi-dialect Arabic course that uses a unique story-based method for building language comprehension.
Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning) Review: My First Thoughts

Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning)
Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning)
Pricing: $297 up front or 3 x $99 monthly installments
  • Multi-dialect approach
  • 100+ guaranteed hours of material
  • Detailed grammar explanations
  • Unique and innovative approach
  • Uses the Teachable platform
  • Primarily literacy-based (reading comprehension)
  • Dialect content could be better organized


The Arabic Uncovered course extends on the extremely popular StoryLearning method by Olly Richards, applying a story-based teaching methodology that comprehensively covers Arabic (MSA, Egyptian, Levantine, Moroccan and Saudi). The course is ideal for those who enjoy a grammar-heavy approach, but may not be as enjoyable for other types of learners.

Overall, Arabic Uncovered offers great value.

DepthThis is 'content' richness. How comprehensive is Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning) and does it take you far in terms of levels, or is it more suited to low level/tourist learners?
UniquenessIs Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning) innovative or is it just an imitation? Does it have a unique selling proposition (USP) that makes it stand out among competitors?
QualityOverall product quality indicator that covers everything from video/dialogue clarity, authenticity, explanations, and effectiveness.
CostIs Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning) acceptably priced and how does its pricing compare to market competition?

If you’re learning Arabic, you may have heard about Arabic Uncovered by StoryLearning (Olly Richards).

I spent some time using it and wanted to sum up a few thoughts for you today (I’ll expand on this in greater detail after I’ve had time to meticulously comb through each lesson).

Arabic Uncovered offers over 100 hours of content aimed at the absolute beginner, however I think higher levels could gain quite a bit from it as well.

It’s an impressively comprehensive Arabic course in scope, covering most pertinent topics of Arabic for new learners.

The course is developed by Arabic tutor, Diane Sbihi (I think she’s Moroccan).

StoryLearning has taken a unique approach to teaching based on literary comprehension. What this means is that you’ll work through a simplified short story in Arabic (each module is basically a chapter of the story), diving into the nitty gritty (grammar, vocab, etc.) of each one as you go, with the end result being that you’ll have read an entire story in Arabic by the end of the course.

There’s a big difference between Arabic Uncovered and the other Uncovered courses, however.

The difference is that while Arabic Uncovered moves through a short story in Modern Standard Arabic, there are dialect translations of the main story (Egyptian, Levantine, Gulf/Saudi and Moroccan).

Each module contains a lesson which looks at the dialect variations and how they differ in terms of grammar, words and so on.

I think this is an excellent approach (most courses only teach MSA or a specific dialect), but my only criticism is that it should spend more time delving into the differences (a 5 to 10 minute lesson covering 4 regional dialects just doesn’t do it justice).

It would also be more helpful to separate out the individual dialects into their own lessons within each module. Currently, each module has a lesson called Communication and Dialects where it’s all covered together, but it would be better to split them and focus on each one.

At the very end of the course, you have the ability to read and listen to the full story in each dialect.

The video lesson style is basically a digital whiteboard, where the teacher highlights and explains the text.

Arabic Uncovered Whiteboard

You’re quizzed at the end of each module.

This course style would definitely suit people who enjoy a literacy, grammar-heavy approach (Diane is very thorough with her explanations), but it may not be ideal if that’s not your approach to learning.

Many learners (myself included) prefer to learn through conversation/use, which this course unfortunately can’t provide.

The only other aspect of Arabic Uncovered that bothers me personally is the Teachable platform, but that’s more an aesthetic/UX issue. When you have a course like this one with lots of lessons, you’re forced to navigate using a long sidebar and this can be a bit tedious.

Overall, Arabic Uncovered is excellent value - somewhat pricey, but it’s a one-time payment ($297) rather than a recurring subscription (there’s also the option of 3 x monthly installments).

There are, of course, alternative online Arabic courses available too worth checking out.

Arabic Uncovered (StoryLearning)
Pricing: $297 up front or 3 x $99 monthly installments

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek


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