There’s no substitute for a good language teacher… or is there?
Language immersion software programs fill the void when you’re learning without a teacher.
You get the structure, order and traditional framework that self-educators often find themselves craving.
Let’s look at six great language immersion software programs that can help you take the next steps in your learning!
- Rosetta Stone
- Mango Passport
- Rocket Languages Premium
- Tell Me More
- Advantages of Language Immersion Software
- How to Succeed with Language Immersion Software
Cost: As low as $229 for five levels or $184 for three, depending on the format (online, CD or download) or length of subscription.
The latest version of Rosetta Stone, perhaps the most widely known language learning software, caters to many different learning styles. The program engages students in listening, reading and speaking activities that exercise the brain and improve fluency. Beginners to advanced learners will find a Rosetta Stone program that suits their needs.
The Rosetta Stone canon offers a very broad selection of languages for any level:
The user experience design simply can’t be beat. Optional web tutorials give supplemental lessons with a live language teacher.
Cost: See the pricing page for info. A free trial is available.
FluentU uses authentic video content from 10 languages to immerse you in each culture and language as native speakers use it.
The videos each come with interactive captions and quizzes to take after you watch. When you find a new word while watching a video, you can hover over the word to find explanations, other videos where the word is used, pronunciation guides and pictures related to the word.
You can create your own personalized flashcards and use the contextual dictionary to find out more about each word. Then, practice the words using the SRS-based speaking, reading and writing exercises.
Cost: $218 for disc 1; $677 for all 5 discs
Appearing in a set of 5 discs, the Fluenz software CDs are geared toward new learners and aim for complete understanding of all course material. Fluenz is famous for its English-speaking Sherpa character who appears in videos throughout the program. The Sherpa guides learners along, introducing and recapping each lesson.
Currently offering six languages, the program is perfect for beginners—so new learners need not worry about getting lost (the Sherpa will help you find your way). The lessons move along at a natural pace and cover a wide variety of topics. There is more than enough content to build a strong foundation in the basics of grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary.
Cost: $79 for Journey 1; $132 for Journeys 1-2; $176 for Journeys 2-3
Update: Mango Passport is now known as Mango Languages, and offers a complete language learning program.
Ideal for travelers, Mango Passport covers what you need to know if you plan to spend time in a foreign country. Cultural information and travel tips are integrated within relevant and comprehensive language content. With rich screen displays and crisp, clear audio, Mango Passport is a pleasure to use.
Passport is modestly priced compared to its other software counterparts. The program is offered in 17 languages (including English). It comes with MP3 audio lessons that you can add to a mobile listening device for on-the-go learning. While Passport contains useful material and is user-friendly, note that there’s no scoring system that tells you how you’re progressing overall.
Rocket Languages Premium
Cost: Rocket Languages has different packages that vary in price according to language and content, but their Premium programs start at around a hundred dollars for a one-time payment.
Offering a very affordable, web-based portal for beginners and travelers, Rocket Languages Premium stands out for both its value and content. Rocket Languages is a go-to option for aspiring polyglots, as it offers a wide selection of languages, including:
The lessons also come on CD, if web-based learning isn’t your thing (though at a much higher cost).
Since Rocket Languages is primarily web-based, students can learn anywhere they have internet access. Additional downloadable content gives learners more content on the go. The website’s dashboard is easy to navigate. The content is well-paced, covering must-know information without being overly ambitious.
Tell Me More
Cost: $199 for 3 months of web access; DVD-ROM bundles from $299-$529
Many immersion programs are designed for beginners and travelers to get their footing on the path to fluency. If you’re an intermediate or advanced student in a language, Tell Me More may be more your style. With many activities and scenarios to choose from at different proficiency levels, Tell Me More provides a customized learning experience tailored to specific skill sets.
Like a Choose Your Own Adventure game, Tell Me More lets users select specific lessons and topics (like business and politics). This setup personalizes the learning process. The program is rich in content and offers assessments and games that challenge learners.
Advantages of Language Immersion Software
Language learning software programs take many different approaches to mastering a language. Some focus mainly on speaking and listening, while others incorporate reading and writing as well.
Are you a visual learner? Immersion software could be the best thing for you, as it includes images and videos to match the audio components.
Unlike in the classroom, where the pace is determined by the teacher, immersion software lets you go at your own pace and return to lessons you need to review. The best part is, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
Every language software program is structured differently. When choosing one, consider how you learn best, your goals and your current proficiency with the language. This list of the best language-learning software programs will help you decide!
How to Succeed with Language Immersion Software
Ready to start with a computer-based language immersion program? There are a few things you should know before diving in. Consider this section your life jacket.
Language immersion software does give a classroom-like experience, but it’s not the same as a classroom. There’s no teacher telling you what to do and when to do it. These programs require quite a bit of self-determination, so prepare to stay disciplined during the language course.
It may be tempting to skip around from lesson to lesson, but it’s better to resist and follow the lesson exactly. You might miss important content that’s required for lessons further down the road.
In the absence of classmates, seek out an online community of language learners that use the same software to ask questions and get feedback. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from other students!
Now that you’ve got these software recommendations, you’re all set to start studying. But don’t leave it all up to the program to teach you—there are still a few things you need to do for yourself!
Do a little bit every day to stay consistent, so you don’t forget what you’ve learned.
Set goals for yourself and reward yourself when you meet them.
With the right motivation and persistence, language immersion software can turn you into an A+ student!