Rosetta Stone Product Review

by | Sep 10, 2013 | English, Product Reviews

Rosetta Stone claims that its language learning product will create an immersion method allowing you to learn a new language effectively.

On their website, they say that the sequencing of new information allows you to arrive at the right answers intuitively. So how effective did I find Rosetta Stone to be?

The Method

In essence, the method works by showing you a series of photos and then asking you to select the right answer in a multiple-choice style format. The course is designed to be cumulative so that the learner is exposed to the new concepts progressively as they learn the language. The latest versions also incorporate a classroom with language tutors, speech recognition and games.

Strengths

  • Sadly almost nothing; although, I like that they insist on using the target language only during the course (so no English used at all).
  • It offers online language classes within its ‘studio’ based on its method using the target language only. However, you can find online language teachers outside of Rosetta Stone at a fraction of the cost of a Rosetta Stone course

Weakness

  • I found the product’s material tedious and this was a killer for my motivation
  • No explanations: Rosetta Stone say that I am going to figure out the language intuitively but my experience of the product was not one of intuitive revelation rather one of immense frustration. I did not feel that I was immersed in a new linguistic environment and when I couldn’t figure something then I was lost
  • Lack of culture-specific information to the target language: Rosetta Stone uses the same generic images for each language but this means that most of the culture-specific information is lost. Moreover, seeing images of people from other countries and cultures that are not relevant to the target language creates a confusing learning environment, for example, if you are learning Spanish, viewing images relevant to life in Africa, the Middle East or Asia is disorientating. The courses would be better is they were tailored to the culture of each language
  • Rosetta Stone takes 40-50 hours to complete each level. This is quite a lot of time (approx. one hour/day for 6 weeks). There are certainly more effective methods in terms of time that using this method, perhaps even traditional methods textbooks and grammar books could be just as slow at helping you to ‘learn’ a language.

Conclusion

So would I recommend using Rosetta Stone?

For learning a language quickly and effectively, unfortunately, I cannot recommend using Rosetta Stone. However, I do admire Rosetta Stone for their amazing marketing expertise. From their strategic locations at airports and train stations where their pitch their product to people traveling to their skillfully crafted promotional videos that pull on every heart string to render the viewer emotionally vulnerable and wanting to truly believe that Rosetta Stone will miraculously allow them to speak a foreign language; Rosetta Stone’s marketing is a phenomenon. Seeing such effective salesmanship in action was the best and possibly the only skill that I felt that I could take from my experience with Rosetta Stone.

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