Monday, June 28, 2010

Language Learning Rosetta Stone Alternatives

My kids are learning Chinese. My husband and I are learning Spanish. I was using Rosetta Stone until they pulled the plug their online library program apparently putting the money instead into marketing. My husband being the pragmatic guy he is, just went out and bought Rosetta Stone instead of mounting an online search for alternatives. All searches point me to Live Mocha. It's just about the same as Rosetta Stone, with a little more complexity in set up.
I haven't tested it with a microphone so I'm not sure how it teaches pronounciation and I haven't tested the Chinese but if anyone has, please comment.


sue said...

You know, I have had the devil's time trying to get a preview of Rosetta. I have heard really great things about it, and wanted to see for myself how great it was, before spending $600 on it! They have a free preview, that I requested, and got ZERO response from the company.

At the same time, I discovered Livemocha, for free!

I understand they are very similar, and both are pretty weak on the grammar...being from a very grammar centric learning background, I find it impossible to communicate without being able to manipulate the grammar.

Since I need to find that grammar someplace else with either...I figure, might as well do livemocha for free!

I've been really happy. It's not enough to become fluent, but I'm skeptical about the fluency with RS.

sue said...

Since I received zero response to my request for a preview of Rosetta Stone, I decided to go with the free Livemocha. I understand both are really weak on the grammar, so, as long as I'm going to have to find the grammar elsewhere, anyway, I might as well go with the free program.

I like the learning partners, too. Nice to have help right there when you need it.

AnnieSuzanne said...

I'm using both Rosetta Stone and LiveMocha to learn Italian. I haven't tried LiveMocha with a microphone yet so can't really comment on that part. I think they both have strong points.

Rosetta Stone has been great for learning vocabulary. LiveMocha is OK in this aspect, and the flashcards people upload help, but I have learn far more words through Rosetta Stone's pictures and context clues. The program also prompts you to take mini-review lessons, which reinforces the words you've learned. But I do agree the grammar side is weak. I'm happy with the product, and yes it is expensive, but it's nice to have a program that grades me, tracks my progress and guides me through lessons. Plus Rosetta Stone is continually offering package deals, and you can buy used ones on Amazon. I've contacted their customer service twice now and they have responded within 24 hours. Not sure why Sue never heard back!

LiveMocha is great because of the user feedback. I've taken a few of the Italian "extra practice" quizzes and have been blown away with how helpful the feedback has been. I think LiveMocha is helping fill in the missin grammar aspect of Rosetta Stone. Things that I didn't understand in Rosetta Stone have been made clear to me by the user feedback in LiveMocha. I've had about 10 different people review my quizzes, and each of them have been very thorough and explain my mistakes quite clearly. The one complaint I have with LiveMocha is that I've noticed a few errors on the flashcard sets uploaded by users. If there was some sort of QA check on what users upload, that would be more helpful and less confusing to beginners.

For me, I need something a little structured so Rosetta Stone is working right now. LiveMocha is complementing it by adding in grammar and additional help... but both are great. LiveMocha just requires you to be a little more proactive :)