|Editor's Review Costs & Features User Reviews|
We have awarded Rosetta Stone (English) our prestigious Gold Award in this category, having reviewed 16 Teach Yourself English Guides. Read our review below to find out why...
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Rosetta Stone is undoubtedly the market leader of Teach Yourself English software and is, consequently, the best known. With a flashy website, rave reviews and an extensive marketing campaign it has somewhat become a household name. However, does the substance match the style? Or, can you get more language for your money elsewhere?
TOTALe is Rosetta Stone's newest language learning solution. Not only does it iron out many of the faults that users encountered with previous versions of Rosetta Stone software, it also builds a whole new dynamic upon Rosetta Stone's unique approach to language acquisition. This method, pioneered by Rosetta Stone, is based on the principal of 'dynamic immersion'. Users learn in context, making direct connections between words and their meanings. Words, with grammar, turn into sentences which become increasingly more complex as users progress through the continuous language learning process.
The software uses visual imagery combined with text, native speaker audio, voice recognition, games, activities and role playing to develop students' everyday proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and understanding English. Furthermore however, Rosetta Stone claim to teach you to think in a new language. They do this by teaching you English in the same way as you learned your native language as a kid; through constant interaction. This method does away with boring text books, vocab lists and grammar tables and attempts, instead, to make language learning a fun and enriching experience.
We found Rosetta Stone TOTALe simple, fun and rewarding. Users are initially given a set of pictures and a set of words. Then, without instructions and simply through trial and error, you link the pictures to their meaning. Within minutes we had learned a significant amount of vocabulary and could differentiate between relatively complex sentences. Users are not patronized and are expected to spot patterns and work out rules and meanings for themselves; check out their webstie to try it out for yourself.
Proven techniques such as adaptive recall, a spaced repetition algorithm that optimizes the memorization process, help users effectively consolidate what they have learned. Furthermore, the audio and mobile companion enable you to keep practicing your English while on the move; perfect for those pushed for time and/or serious about learning English. For these reasons Rosetta Stone's approach felt very natural; in fact, almost effortless.
Their unique language learning techniques make the process fun, yet they leave you with a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of English than other products in the category.
If it is Rosetta Stone's unique teaching methods that have set it apart from the competition in the past, what makes TOTALe unique today is their new feature - Rosetta Studio. This is an online space where users can connect with each other to share knowledge and play language games. You can also book into live, online sessions to allow you to practice what you have learned with native speakers. These online language tutors are well paid ($20 per hour) and trained to help you get the most out of the Rosetta Stone learning experience.
The human interface does not stop here, Rosetta Stone also employ a concierge team who help you get set up on Rosetta Studio, make courtesy calls to ensure you are making the most of Rosetta Stone and answer any questions you may have. Specifically with regards to support and customer service, there are many ways to get in touch including an instant messaging service as well as an extensive online knowledge base and download library in many different languages. We found it very easy to get in touch with the support team and found their advice and guidance useful.
You must keep in mind that when you buy Rosetta Stone you are not just buying their product but their way of thinking. It is not a two month crash course you can take before your business trip to New York, it requires practice, effort and commitment. For this reason some users may find the lack of translations or grammatical explanations frustrating either because they do not have time to 'learn like a kid' or they are experienced language learners with their own techniques. In this case, Rosetta Stone will still be useful but must be supplemented by different language learning tools. This may sting a bit considering the hefty price tag that Rosetta Stone carries but is unavoidable considering the fact that everyone's language learning needs are unique. In any case, there is always the six month, no risk money back guarantee to give you peace of mind when parting with such a large amount of money.
Rosetta Stone, therefore, takes top spot in our rankings of Teach Yourself English products because:
If you are willing to commit the time and money and don't expect miracles, Rosetta Stone certainly offers the most comprehensive language learning solution in its field. As the next best thing to actually living in an English-speaking country you will be supported from start to finish in mastering the English language.
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