So you’ve decided to start your language learning journey. But what road will you take? There are so many options: websites, videos, audio, apps, tutoring, software… In my experience, it’s best to try several different methods in order to figure out what fits you best. Sometimes you only need one resource to learn a new language. Other times, a combination of tools fit someone’s learning style.
I’ve learned I like variety. I want options for where and how I learn a new language. One day, I’ll complete a few activities in a workbook, and the next, I complete a couple lessons online. The good thing is that most language learning tools don’t lock you into a plan, so you can experiment.
Today, I’ll cover two language learning platforms. Hopefully, this help you decide if you’re interested in one or both.
Rocket Languages offers 12 languages to learn: German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, French, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, ASL, and English. They offer a website and an app, which you log into each time you want to practice. Both interfaces are very easy to use.
First and foremost, the amount of modules you get with Rocket Languages is amazing! Rocket Languages breaks the language into three levels with modules broken into lessons. Audio lessons are about 20-30 minutes, followed by interactive exercises. Throughout the program you follow a story involving a few characters.
One of the best features, includes roleplaying where you choose which character to play in a conversation. The program plays one side of the conversation and you respond, recording your responses to the other character. The grading scale relies on a voice recognition system, which isn’t perfect but the activity gives you practice.
Rocket Languages also gives you flashcards, and as you use them, you can rate difficulty. Based on the rating you give, the flashcards are sorted. The ones you mark as difficult are shown to you again, while the ones you find easy, aren’t. You can make your own flashcards also. As you progress through the program, the lessons become more and more difficult.
Additionally, you have access to a forum where you can chat with tutors and other learners. Lessons are downloadable as audio or PDFs. There are also cultural and grammatical lessons you can choose to take.
Downsides: The narrator isn’t a native speaker, but still it is still great to learn with. You can supplement with YouTube videos of native speakers. Secondly, you’re scored on your pronunciation but don’t focus too much on this, because it is a voice recognition software.
Rocket Languages is a great alternative to Rosetta Stone or any other major language learning software. If you progress through the three levels, you will be able to speak and understand a great deal of the language of your choice.
iTalki Languages offers more than 100 languages: German, Chinese, Arabic, and more! Unlike many of the other language learning services, iTalki is more like student-teacher matchmaking service. Students join and search for a tutor that meets their goals and needs. After choosing the language you’re interested in learning, you sort through tutors based on availability, price, other languages they speak, if they’re a native speaker and category. You can find tutors for general language learning, business, test preparation, kids and conversation practice.
After you find a teacher or a few teachers you like, you can schedule a trial lesson to start. Trial lessons are generally 30 minutes and discounted. These short sessions will give you a good idea if you and tutor are a good match.
iTalki is a website and an app. Video lessons can be completed in the iTalki classroom, on Google hangouts or Skype. Prices vary by teacher. There are “community teachers” and “professional teachers”.
When you’ve scheduled a lesson, the app gives you a countdown until your scheduled session. You have an option to rate the lesson. After completing a lesson, you are given the option to book another lesson at various lengths. You can save money and by a lesson pack at a discount.
Consistent users of iTalki love it! You can find very specific tutors to prepare for a school exam, travel, or conduct business. Interfacing with a live tutor may make you uncomfortable and push you outside your comfort zone, but if you do, it’s very effective. With iTalki you receive: One-on-one time and customized lessons.
Lessons are very reasonably priced! You can find lessons as low as $5/hour.
Make you check out my other article on iTalki: Talking iTalki
|Price||$99.95-259.90 for life or $47/month with coupon RocketDeal||As low as $8/hour.|
|Free Trial||Yes!||30 minute trial lessons are available for most tutors at a discounted rate (about $1-$5)|
|Listen to the Language||Yes!||Yes!|
|Speak the Language||Yes!||Yes!|
|Read and Write the Language||Yes!||Yes!|
|Mobile Learning||Yes! Downloadable lessons and a mobile app||Yes! Complete your tutoring lessons where ever you have service or the internet|
Rocket Languages and iTalki are very different but would compliment each other nicely. You will receive the structured language learning program and practice with Rocket Language, while receiving customized tutoring sessions with iTalki to strengthen and hone your skills. Honestly, the more resources you employ, the better.