Have you ever found yourself in a situation where those around you are having conversations, but you’re not able to understand what they are saying? How about a scenario where you need to speak to someone, but a language barrier makes it impossible to communicate verbally?
Being bilingual or having a basic understanding multiple languages can be a critical skill in many real-life situations. Rocket Languages is an award-winning program, designed to teach you a new language, using practical conversation scenarios in short audio lessons.
Getting started with Rocket is simple and straightforward. Sign up for your account, choose your language, and dive right in. For me, I wanted to improve my Spanish comprehension, so in just a couple quick clicks, I was into Lesson 1 of Rocket Spanish. Rocket is also available in French, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian.
Using Rocket to learn language is based around the idea of vocalizing, repetition, and recall. Each lesson involves two people alternating in the lesson – Amy and Mauricio for me. As they walk you through the lesson, they consistently remind you of words you’ve been exposed to along the way, as well as new words. This forces the user to truly learn what certain words or phrases mean in conversation.
Aside from the functional aspect, the Rocket Languages app for iOS is a bit disappointing. Within the first lesson, I began attempting to use the recording feature to see if my pronunciation was accurate. After several attempts to record, I simply gave up. Being able to take the lessons with me on my iPhone is wonderful, but feeling like I’m missing out on a part of the training is disappointing.
One of the key features that makes Rocket motivating is the user ranking. Based on the number of courses you’ve completed and consistency of participation, your rank is higher or lower than other Rocket Languages users. For those that love a little competition, this can push you to truly work through the lessons, and ultimately improve your language skills.
Another great feature of Rocket Languages is their use of spoken lessons, flash cards, and testing to help different types of learners. This can also be useful in learning both spoken comprehension, as well as written comprehension of your selected language.
Ease of Use
As pointed out earlier, getting started with Rocket Languages is very simple. Using the web interface is also extremely user-friendly, using large, clear text, and a single-page layout for each unit in a module.
However, the iOS app is less easy to use. Many parts of the app are broken off into different areas, and require tapping small text targets to move through the app.
Rocket Languages does encourage web users to utilize Chrome as their browser for learning. According to Rocket Languages, it has to do with audio capture and speech recognition – specifically as it relates to pronunciation detection. For what it’s worth, I did all my testing in Safari on the Mac, and didn’t run into any issues, but it is worth noting that to truly master the correct inflections and pronunciations, Rocket Languages says Chrome works best.
- Short, simple lessons.
- Easy to learn while on the go.
- Web interface is full-featured and easy to use.
- iOS app seems incomplete.
All-in-all, Rocket Languages is a great tool for learning or refining foreign language skills. Unlike some other language learning tools, much of Rocket Language can be done hands free – perfect for learning on a commute or while doing housework.
If you’re seeking a more interactive, mobile-friendly way to learn a language, Rocket Language may not be the best option, but if you spend much of your day at a computer, or are willing to commit some time in front of the computer to learn, it is one of the most comprehensive and affordable language learning services I’ve used.