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Wednesday, May 18th
When we think of learning a language, oftentimes it's because we want to have a conversation with someone. Rocket Languages has plenty of audio for you to get used to hearing and understanding German speakers. It also has a speech-recognition program to help you be understood when speaking German. Focusing on listening and speaking gets you ready to converse. These lessons also have reading and writing lessons and practice. A unique feature is Rocket's Survival Kit, which is a section with additional vocab and phrases useful for conversation. Rocket German does focus on communication and culture, and their videos offer a little humor as well.
The nuts and bolts
First you'll choose your level, from 1 to 3. The lowest level, for example, has 128 hours of lesson time, 33 interactive audio lessons, 2051 voice-recognition phases, 31 language and culture lessons, and 10 Survival Kits. Once you choose your level, select whether you want the Interactive Audio, Grammar and Culture, or the Survival Kit. Pretty simple.
Each lesson is themed
Since they are focused on communication, their units are, too. You can choose any lesson you want within your level, such as relationships, business, sports, literature, politics, German culture and more, to make it interesting to the many interests of learners. The scenarios they have are just like you'd find in local Germany.
Culture is the reward for learning the grammar
There's a Language and Culture tab where you first learn the grammar associated with the lesson. The grammar is presented, you practice throughout, and at the end of the lesson there's a cultural component.
Lots of grammar or none: your choice
You don't have to click on the Language and Culture tab and take the grammar lessons. If you are the kind of learner to listen to a conversation and catch on enough to how the sentences work and don't want the grammar, don't click on the Language and Culture tab. Or, just go to that tab for culture notes.
Helpful feedback on your pronunciation
Rocket Languages offers Play It!, an interactive listening and speaking activity. You listen to the word and repeat it. Their speech-recognition software will analyze your speech, give you a percentage score, and with the transcript of what they heard, mark both your accuracies and inaccuracies, in green and red fonts. We found this feature to be quite accurate and enjoyed using it. We all want to know if people will be able to understand us when we speak another language, and Play It! is a good indicator. Speech-recognition technology is fairly new in language learning, and with most technology, there can be imperfections. Sometimes the program thinks you're done with your sentence, and it stops listening. It's not the worst thing, but it can be frustrating.
Are you a bit competitive?
You can earn points for completing lessons, and there's a leaderboard so you can compete with other learners as you progress. If you want to keep up your motivation, or if you're losing motivation, this healthy competition might be the trick.
Which package should I choose?
In Rocket Languages' pricing, all packages include Level 1. If you're not a beginner and don't want to pay for Level 1, you can contact the company to purchase the levels individually. No matter which you choose, your cost can range from $100-$450, which can be pricey. The advantage of Rocket Languages is that there is no auto-continuation of monthly subscriptions like you'll find with some of the rival German providers we evaluated: with membership based-lessons, if you don't know how long you want to take German, your costs can keep going up as your subscription renews every month. With Rocket Languages, you will always have access with a one-time fee.
No cost trial
You can have a no-cost trial when you give them an email, but you'll get quite a few emails filling up your inbox. You can try their sample lessons at all levels, and there is no time limit on the free period.
60-day refund policy
Rocket Languages offers a full refund when you email them within 60 days of making your payment and creating your Rocket German account. That's much more generous than most German lesson platforms we've found.
We like Rocket Languages, but there's room for improvement
Rocket Languages has some great features: there are plenty of lessons; the speech-recognition software is better than other programs have to offer; and there are plenty of listening and speaking activities. Where Rocket German could improve is less repetition of format for all lessons. While we give this platform a good rating overall, there's still room for improvement.
Did you know that German is the second-most spoken language in Europe? Or that around 95 million people worldwide speak German as their primary language and that it is an official language in six countries? Perhaps you have German roots in your family and want to get in touch with your heritage by learning German?
If you study sciences, you may know that German is the most commonly used scientific language. Learning German can provide you with an insight into the German people's way of life and also broaden your horizons. Whatever your personal reason for wanting to learn German, the next step is to find your best way to study the language.
So much of our life now is digital, so it's natural to consider learning German online. There are many programs to learn languages: live, one-to-one tutoring; a real person teaching you through recorded video lessons; video-game-like lessons and practice; recording your voice and getting computer-generated specific feedback; getting feedback on written work by real people; or playing games and letting the time fly by while earning prizes and getting on a leaderboard. With so many different methods of learning and practice, we can help you narrow down what is best for you and your learning style.
The first thing to consider is how much German you may know. Have you had German classes in high school and want to brush up and continue to proficiency? Or is Gesundheit! when someone sneezes the extent of your German? If you are a beginner, choosing an online program will be easier, as most focus at least on the beginning German student. If you already know some German, some programs offer a placement test and others have you look at their curriculum and you select your own placement. If you are pretty advanced or your goal is to get there, only a few online German programs can help you get to advanced proficiency, while others fall short past the beginning German level.
How would you like to learn German? Would you like live one-on-one lessons with a tutor or in a small-class setting? Would you like to learn from a person, but via video so you can pause or review? Would you like to learn interactively with a computer program where you match phrases you heard with images, then record your voice speaking, and then have game-like practice exercises with awards and a leaderboard with a little healthy competition? It's all out there, and you get to decide which is for you!
Once you know your current level of German and how you might want to learn it, there are a few more aspects to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed, evaluated, rated, and recommended the best choices for learning German online or via an app. We're sure that with the information we have for you, you'll be able to make your best decision for learning German and becoming more proficient and fluent in this common and popular language!
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