Searching the internet for the best and brightest French immersion software?
The immersion part is key here—you’re not just looking for any old software.
You’re looking for something that’ll totally plunge you into the deep end of French language learning.
But you still don’t know how to tell which programs are the cream of the crop.
You’ve landed on the right page.
With so many programs out there that promise to guide you on the path to fluency, how do you know where to get started?
Most importantly, how can you combine your desire to learn French with the hectic daily routine that modern life has imposed on you?
Fear not. If you don’t have time to take a gap year in France or to attend weekly language classes, you’ll find solace in these great programs.
We’ve found the most complete, comprehensive and effective French immersion software deals out there. Each program is designed to help you with your language goals.
The best thing about them?
All you need is 30 minutes a day with any program to become immersed in French!
How to Choose a French Learning Program
There are many French language programs on the market, so you won’t be wanting for choices.
However, you want to pick the right kind of learning program for you, one that caters most directly to your learning needs and wants.
Here are some things to keep in mind before making your decision.
Some learning programs may have certain requirements, such as an internet connection, an account or downloaded content. Other programs may not even need you to be online and can be used anywhere.
Make sure that the French learning program you choose is one that won’t have any technical hindrances to you.
For example, maybe you won’t always have a reliable internet connection or enough disk space in your computer for extra software. In that case, you’d want a program that has offline capabilities and is lightweight, or perhaps has an app version you can download to your phone.
Most immersion software programs come with a price tag, so figure out early on how much you’re willing to pay for your learning.
While many programs just require a one-time payment for full access, others may have separate prices for different items. A learning program may offer individual products for different levels or topics of the French language, and each can be priced differently.
Different programs will have different time expectations from learners. Some may have lessons that expect you to dedicate a set amount of time, while others may let you start and end your learning whenever you’d like with no time commitment.
Gauge how much you can fully commit to your French studies before you make your choice of a learning program. Think of when you’d like to get your learning done. You’ll want a program that conforms to your schedule and study habits.
Of course, you should also take advantage of any free trials. Getting a firsthand experience will be the best way to figure out if a program works for you.
Take some time to research and find the French learning program that addresses most of your needs. Doing so will save you a lot of stress down the road because you’ll be learning in as comfortable a manner as you can.
French Immersion Software: 7 Stellar Programs for Language Learning
Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular language immersion tools in the world, boasting use in thousands of schools, businesses and government organizations. The program works by using interactive software packed with images and sounds—giving you an experience that imitates the way in which a child learns their mother tongue.
This method means that there are no instructions or translations, just pure immersion.
The learning process is broken down into units and levels. Within each level, there are numerous topics.
Each core lesson lasts up to 30 minutes, with booster lessons in between lasting anywhere from five to 15 minutes. This gives a great variety of options to those with busy schedules, allowing you to study French in as few as five minutes per day!
The software alone is great, particularly for beginners. But the French immersion doesn’t stop there.
Rosetta Stone is also host to an online world of language learning experiences that uses innovative methods to increase immersion. In the online branch of the program, there’s a variety of games, tools and resources. You’ll have the ability to speak with other learners around the world. The online feature also allows you to schedule 20-minute lessons with an expert, remotely!
Is Rosetta Stone for You?
If you’re a beginner and wanting to build a foundation in the language, Rosetta Stone is definitely for you. I recommend signing up for online access, as this will offer you a multitude of unparalleled immersion techniques to pique your interest and encourage you further along the path to fluency. For intermediate and advanced learners, Rosetta Stone a program specifically for you, aiming to push you to a C1 level proficiency.
If you’re a busy person, the best thing about Rosetta Stone is that it offers various activities all under 30 minutes so there’s no reason not to find the time! No more excuses.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
Is FluentU for You?
Learners who enjoy studying with authentic material can find great satisfaction in learning with FluentU.
Native content is a critical resource for language learning. It’s what gives you real exposure to the language as it’s used naturally. That’s why FluentU’s vast video catalog compiles all kinds of French-language media snippets, which is great if you prefer a more interactive, engaging approach to your French studies.
FluentU is primarily based on audio and video materials, but there are plenty of text-based tools for active learning, so this should complement many distinct learning styles. If you need to be really interested in the content of your learning materials, this is perfect for you: the diversity of content ensures you’ll find something you love to learn with.
The clips are relatively short, between one and 10 minutes in length, so this is perfect for sneaking French practice into your daily schedule. There are also longer mini-series and movies broken into installments. Due to the fun, casual nature of the learning experience, FluentU is a particularly engaging way to practice French.
You can also make learning more structured and rigorous by focusing on studying French with the vocabulary lists and multimedia flashcards, all of which you can personalize to sync with your language learning.
Try FluentU with the free trial and see if it’s the immersion program you’ve been looking for.
Assimil is a language course that was founded in 1929 by Alphonse Chérel.
The course includes both audio and an accompanying book for a complete learning experience. The book pairs the audio lessons with activities to further reinforce your language learning. Each track is only a few minutes long, so the course will easily fit into your daily routine with no hassle.
The Assimil audio lessons are 100% in the target language so this is a huge bonus as it creates a total immersion experience. The book includes translations from French to English, so don’t worry about not understanding anything!
The method places great emphasis on learning sentences, which facilitates the development of the French learner’s ability to approach grammar and vocabulary in the way it’ll come across in everyday situations. This mimics the way in which we all learn our native languages—listening, repeating and then using prior knowledge to make educated guesses as to what the new vocabulary means.
Is Assimil for You?
The best thing about Assimil is that it comes in various series.
There are specific sets designed for children and others for those needing to learn Business French. The New French with Ease series is perfect for beginners and aims to give you a great foundation level of French by teaching grammar rules and up to 3,000 new words.
For advanced users who want to perfect their French, Assimil also offers Using French, a series designed to help learners further develop their French by covering the grounds of complex grammar skills and idioms.
If you like a mix of audio and textbook activities, then Assimil is definitely worth checking out.
You can test out your knowledge by completing the activities and follow your progress as you continue with the course. The use of audio and textbook means that all areas of your French skills, including reading and writing, are developed efficiently. Let’s not forget that the audio being completely in French is a huge benefit of Assimil, which really helps simulate a total French immersion experience.
Pimsleur is a very popular language learning method based on the teachings of Paul Pimsleur, a linguist and a professor of French. The Pimsleur approach focuses on teaching the core vocabulary of the language through context, conversation and, like FluentU, spaced repetition.
The use of spaced repetition is a serious pro factor about this course. The vocabulary you learn is repeated throughout the duration of your Pimsleur experience. No word is ever forgotten!
All the words you learn will reappear at specific intervals to help your brain retain the new vocabulary in your long-term memory.
The course is audio-based and you’re presented with native speakers pronouncing a sentence or having a discussion. Then, an English translation follows. As with the Assimil method, this facilitates the learning of language through sentences and situations, making it a much more rounded experience.
The software does come with a booklet for a few sessions that use reading. However, the emphasis is on learning through the audio provided.
Is Pimsleur for You?
Learners who thrive with interactive audio learning methods are sure to benefit from the methods of Pimsleur.
With each lesson being up to 30 minutes long, it’s easy to slot into your daily schedule. And since it focuses on core vocabulary, you’ll be assured that you’re learning efficiently.
Of course, learning takes time and effort, but with the science of spaced repetition and the focus on the most commonly used French vocabulary, completing your language goals will be only a matter of time!
Michel Thomas was a celebrated polyglot linguist who used his talents in language learning to develop what’s now known as the Michel Thomas Method.
The Michel Thomas Method is based on listening rather than using books and memorization techniques. Thomas believed that by creating a relaxing environment and combining it with exciting and enjoyable classes, any language student could retain more information naturally.
The course is entirely audio-based, in both French and English, so auditory learners rejoice!
The course follows Thomas and two students as he teaches them sentence structure, verbs and vocabulary. Like the other audio-based immersion software, grammar is presented in conversation practice rather than through long-winded explanations. This creates a perfect method for picking up those tricky verb forms.
The method allows the listener to feel as if they’re a part of his classroom and encourages the student to repeat the words and recall certain things touched upon before. It’s all about listening and repetition, repetition, repetition.
Thanks to this, there’s no need to force yourself to memorize anything—you’ll naturally learn and remember the content.
Is Michel Thomas for You?
If you’re one of those people who can remember the tune of a song after hearing it once, then Michel Thomas is definitely for you.
Even if you’re not, it’s worth a shot. If you’re a beginner and are feeling weighed down by the vast number of things you need to learn, then Michel Thomas may provide you with the helping hand you need, as these lessons have you speaking from track 1.
The course comes in various levels, including (among others):
- Start French, which is a basic course with 50 essential French words
- Total French, which is the ideal beginner course providing 12 hours of audio
- Perfect French, which is geared toward elementary/intermediate learners
- Masterclass French, which provides two hours of one-on-one French lessons with Michel Thomas.
This is great for learners who don’t have much time to set aside for language learning, and each lesson is under 10 minutes long so there’s no reason you can’t pop the CD into your car on the way to work or transfer the files onto your mobile device and learn French while you go for your daily run!
OUINO Languages offers a French learning program that’s divided between computer software and a mobile app. Through them, you can get a learning experience in which you have a surprising amount of freedom and control.
The program doesn’t employ a linear-based approach to learning. It runs with the idea that learners may not enjoy learning based on a level system, since the whole matter can be quite subjective. With OUINO, there’s no strict order to your French lessons. You can learn in whichever order you want, but you have the choice of taking up OUINO’s “recommended learning path” that can give you a flexible map of where you may want to start and end.
OUINO’s primary method of teaching relies on audio and visual content. You can expect most of your lessons to encourage you to practice French reading, listening and speaking.
Understanding the subtleties of different accents, OUINO admits the difficulty of creating a reliable voice recognition system in its software. However, OUINO does still implement in-depth modules that help you improve your pronunciation and conversation skills.
Is OUINO for You?
OUINO can be a good choice if you find that you learn best when you create your own lesson plan, or if you typically feel stifled with a pre-planned study agenda.
The program’s lack of a linear approach can be liberating and make for a more personalized learning experience. OUINO also includes adjustable settings that let you further customize your lessons, such as changing voice playback options or switching on and off subtitles.
Plus, OUINO does have a lot to offer (over 440 lessons and 1200 exercises) for French learners.
Fluenz has offered language teaching programs for over 10 years, and while it currently only offers six languages (including French), its thorough method of instruction has made it a popular choice among learners.
Fluenz’s French edition is split up into different levels. Each level provides an arranged agenda of lessons taught by a dedicated instructor.
Fluenz is primarily video-based. Once you learn the concepts from the video tutorials, you can then immediately start on some review exercises (called “workouts”) that test you on your French writing, reading, listening and speaking. There’s even a nifty anti-distraction measure that pauses videos as soon as you leave the window, thereby discouraging you from engaging in other non-study tasks.
Repetition is also a big matter in this program. Any new material you learn will be repeated often, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ingrain your learning deep into your memory bank.
The program also has extra resources for learners who want to slip in more practice throughout their day. Flashcards are instantly available so that you can review previously learned terms and concepts. There are even supplemental audio lessons that you can download and listen to on your device, wherever and whenever.
Is Fluenz for You?
Fluenz works best for beginner learners who want to learn the material they expect to use right away.
Much of the material is topic-based, meaning that the French taught per session hones in on a certain context. Each level consists of about 30 sessions, and a lesson can last about 45 minutes. Because of their predictable nature, you’ll probably find it easy to fit a Fluenz session within your day or week.
However, keep in mind that Fluenz is a bit pricey—at the time of this writing, Fluenz French 1 and Fluenz French 2 are each $187 when purchased separately. Bundle packages that include French 3 and above are over $300.
Have fun learning!
That’s all for now—get out there and enjoy learning French!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.