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Saturday, January 23rd
Innovative Language's ArabicPod101 program provides a wide variety of language instruction levels, from brand-new language learners to those looking to refine their understanding of specific Arabic dialects.
The salesy tactics used by Innovative Language might be a turn-off to some prospective customers. The main site promises a free account with lifetime access, but no further information is available until you enter your name, email address, and level of learning (beginner, intermediate advanced), and then activate your account once you receive the email. The confirmation page then takes you to a "limited, one-time offer" that includes the following:
In order to access this "one-time offer", you'll need to pay $1 as a "bandwidth fee". Otherwise, click on the "No Thanks" link and it will take you to your main account page. On that page, we got yet another "special offer", explaining that we had now been given a 7-day free trial with access to the entire lesson library and Premium tools, but we could get a 10% discount if we upgraded to a subscription plan that day. Fortunately, the sales pitch seems to finish there, as you can jump directly to audio Beginner Lesson 1, "What's his name?"
In that sample lesson, you will find a basic lesson explaining that the language taught in the lessons is MSA (Modern Standard Arabic), but that there is a separate section that can help you learn particular dialects if you wish. We particularly like that the audio speed can be changed right on the main screen if you need to hear the lessons more slowly (or more quickly!). Also be sure to check out the spot at the top of the lesson that says "Download PDFs". Here you'll find a transcript of the lesson, lesson notes (including the approximate pronunciation using the familiar English alphabet, or the "Romanization"), and checklists to help you track your progress through the materials.
Unfortunately, at that point, we found ourselves lost. We did see in the comments below the audio lesson that there are also video lessons, so we went to the series "Learn Arabic in Three Minutes". Those videos made more sense than the audio files, but we weren't sure if we needed to follow the instructions to "add course to dashboard". Below that video lesson, we found links to lessons called "Arabic Alphabet Made Easy", which would be very useful for those who need to master both written and spoken Arabic. We recommend that students go to the Lessons navigation at the top of the page, and select "Learning Paths": here you will find groups of lessons categorized as Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Additionally, the learning dashboard shows the recommended lesson progression under the "My Pathway" heading, access to flashcards and other tools, and access to the "My Teacher" feature included with Premium Plus memberships.
We were also confused by the pricing for Innovative Language's packages. On one page, it said that their packages were priced at $4/month for the Basic plan, $10/month for the Premium package, and $25/month for Premium+; however, on the main pricing FAQ page, the prices were listed as nearly double those amounts. The difference? The higher prices are for a 1-month subscription, and the lower prices reflect a 50% discount given for a 24-month subscription. Keep that in mind as you decide which plan meets your needs and your budget, and be sure to compare the features offered at each subscription level (interactive voice recording is included with Premium and Premium+ only, while printer-friendly lesson notes are included with all paid memberships).
Innovative Language does offer a guarantee. If you are unsatisfied with your membership at any level, you may request a refund within 60 days. Be aware that you will only be refunded for the unused time on your membership plan.
Because of the breadth of the content offered and the solid variety of teaching approaches (audio, video, MP3 downloads, mobile apps), we give Innovative Language's ArabicPod101 good marks. This rating would improve with fewer hoops for prospective customers to jump through in order to check out what the Arabic program has to offer, and less emphasis on the sales pitch.
As we move towards a genuinely global society, the ability to speak a language other than English can increase your chances in the employment marketplace as well as allow you to better understand people you encounter on a daily basis. If you are one of the nation's students or adults who choose to learn Arabic as your second language, you'll find yourself in very high demand for positions in education, state and federal governments, social work, and much more.
With more than 300 million native speakers, Arabic can be heard in more than 20 countries. Whether your plans include travel to Arabic-speaking nations or doing business with native speakers in your own country, modern technology will enable you to study the language according to your own schedule and even on-the-go, as most providers of Arabic lessons have easy-to-use mobile apps and audio files that can be used at your convenience.
As you decide which program will best help you advance your fluency in Arabic, keep in mind what your preferred learning style is. For example, if you find that you remember what you hear, select a program that delivers your Arabic lessons primarily in an audio format, such as MP3 or CD-based lessons that you can listen to while you drive, commute, or relax at home. On the other hand, if you need to see your lessons to learn best, you'll want to make sure your instruction program of choice gives you ample opportunities to read, watch, and see the lessons you're studying.
One critical consideration as you compare Arabic lesson programs is the written component. Will you need to be able to read and write in Arabic as well as understand and speak it? If so, it is important that your Arabic lessons include detailed instructions for how to understand the written Arabic language, as it is very different from the Roman alphabet you already know. For instance, Arabic is written from right to left in a cursive style and contains 29 letters; however, there are different letter variations depending on where the language is being used, and the best Arabic language programs will help you recognize the difference.
There are three key factors to consider as you choose the Arabic lessons that will be the best match for your learning style and goals. These include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Arabic lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right Arabic lessons to quickly learn this language right away!
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