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Sunday, December 5th
Fluenz' online program is similar to a traditional classroom setting, but in the comfort of your home, office, or any setting you choose, at any time you like. Through videos of a real person explaining how Spanish works, it adds a perceived personalization and comfort to learning, rather than just reading a textbook or studying written, textbook-type grammar explanations, like some other online Spanish lessons might offer. Their pricing is straightforward, you can click a tab to watch your progress, and if you really want, you can add the option (for a fee) to take live classes in Spain or Mexico.
Instruction by a real person
Fluenz has instructors teach you via video (recordings, not live). You can pause and repeat to better catch the information. If you're watching the video a second time for review purposes, just skip ahead to newer or challenging information, if that's what you need. These lessons are taught from the perspective of the English-speaking learner. The videos are helpful for learning pronunciation, as you can see the person's face and mouth as they model. When they teach you Spanish grammar, they compare it to what you know in English. They also do the same for vocabulary and Spanish phrases. This is helpful since you already know and understand English: the comparison for a new language can be quite beneficial. At the end of the lesson there are activities to help you test yourself to see how well you learned the material.
It's quite simple. Which levels do you need, and how many do you want to purchase? That's it. Other Spanish lessons we've reviewed have subscriptions, where you decide how long you want to study, and do you want to pay per month, pay for a year to get a cheaper rate, or get lifetime? In addition, do you want one plan where you have to read the descriptors of what you get, or do you want any of the other plans, and again, more reading and studying of the differences of the plans. None of this confusion comes with Fluenz, and it's quite refreshing. Once you decide your subscription plan, you have 30 days to decide if you like it, as there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. Be sure to practice quite a bit in those 30 days, as there isn't any free trial period to choose instead.
One-time payment, not subscription
With a busy life, subscription programs might not be right for you. If you purchase a month-to-month program and can't fit regular study sessions into your schedule, you'll either not get your money's worth or you'll consider ending the subscription and move on. With Fluenz, you pay the one-time fee and can use the program whenever you want.
Exercises called Workouts
The practice exercises are called Workouts and have dialogs. You can listen with or without the English subtitles, depending on your current comfort level with the material. These words and phrases in the dialog are used frequently in the exercises that follow, working on your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. In between activities, a video will appear to break down usage and meaning of the key words and phrases.
In your Fluenz Spanish lessons, there's a section where you can see how well you're doing: how much time you are spending on each lesson, how many tries per answer, and more. But, if that kind of information overwhelms you, just ignore it!
Repetition and more repetition is a good thing
Research says that one needs 17 exposures to a word or phrase in order to remember it. Fluenz will repeat its vocabulary many times. Some users find it frustrating to have the program repeat words that were easy to learn.
In the writing activities, Fluenz isn't forgiving with mistakes. The sentence must be perfect, accents and all, and doesn't give hints as to where an error might be. It's right or wrong. It would be great if Fluenz would update their technology here.
Best for beginners
There's no placement test for Fluenz. If you're a beginner, start at the beginning. If you have experience with Spanish, you need to look at the outline of each group of lessons to decide where you want to start and what you want to skip. We see that the classes end at "Lesson 5" , where the material seems to be at an intermediate level. We would prefer they use definitions of "level" on par with that of the European method or with the College Board's method of determining fluency, not self-determining which "chapter" you left off at in high school.
Wouldn't it be great to take intense Spanish lessons in Spain or Mexico? Fluenz offers that! There are short-term classes on site and it is a wonderful way to not only learn Spanish, but to practice your Spanish where it's spoken every day.
Watch recorded videos
Fluenz offers Spanish classes with a real person, but isn't live. In live classes, you have to commit to attending at a specific time, where with Fluenz, you can watch the videos at any time and repeat when necessary. The lessons are straightforward and have clear explanations of grammar and vocabulary phrases, taught with an English-speaking learner in mind. The activities offer quite a bit of repetition, which can be tiresome, but is often necessary for language acquisition.
Room to improve
Fluenz has it all: lessons with a real person, explanations from an English-learner's perspective, plenty of practice, and opportunity to learn and practice abroad. Our suggestions for Fluenz to earn a higher rating would be to add a placement test, make lessons more fluency-based rather than grammar-based, and offer Spanish lessons that continue to a more advanced level.
Have you always wanted to learn Spanish? Or have you learned some, but really want to improve your skills in order to be able to read Spanish newspapers or talk with native speakers? Do you have business associates or neighbors who speak Spanish, or have you wanted to talk in Spanish with the locals on your next trip? There are 460,000 people who are native Spanish speakers right here in the US, and 20 countries that have Spanish as their official language. No matter why you want to learn it, the question is which Spanish lessons are right for you.
With so much of our life going digital, from many of us doing our job remotely, to video chatting with our family or internet shopping, it's natural to want to explore online options for learning Spanish. There are many programs available online and through apps, and we can help you sift through them.
The first thing to consider is how much Spanish you already know. If you're just getting started, there are many programs whose focus is on the beginner, with lessons chock full of grammar, vocabulary, and practice. At the same time, the concentration is so heavy on brand-new students that many programs offer little to nothing for the intermediate or advanced learner.
Another important factor is your learning style and preference. Some learners like to go in the order that the experts have the lessons set up so that they can meet their language acquisition goals. Other students know that they want to pick and choose their lesson order based on their needs. For example, if the learner is going to travel in the near future, they want their first lessons focused on related vocabulary, like asking for directions and checking in at a hotel. Others are in the medical or business field, so they want to follow the language learning path best suited to their careers.
A major consideration is if repetition is okay with you, or if you will lose focus if the lessons aren't entertaining. Some learners are motivated to continue the day's lesson or look forward to the next lesson because of the fun and exciting apps that include gaming-like activities, points, badges, competitive leaderboards, and animation. Let's face it, if you're not motivated to learn, will you really stick with the program? Other students want to push forward with the traditional, square-shooting approach that feels comfortable as tried and true. Start with vocabulary and practice, add on grammar, preferably with detailed explanations in English, more practice, along with repetition and recycling of older material to solidify the knowledge base.
Once you know what level of Spanish learner you are, from beginner to advanced, your purpose of learning it, from travel to profession or just because, and if you like to be entertained or want "just the facts, Ma'am" , there are a few more aspects of Spanish lessons you may want to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated, rated, and ranked the best choices for online Spanish lessons. We're sure that with this information, you'll have what you need to make the right choice for your goals in learning, acquiring, and becoming fluent in Spanish. ¡Ya vamos!
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