How to enhance the Rosetta Stone Experience!
I've been using RS Version 3 Spanish (Spain) for several months to learn Spanish from scratch, and I have found the immersion method enjoyable and effective. It suits my way of learning. I've just completed Levels 1 & 2, and am now thinking about buying Level 3.
I seemed to have effortlessly learned tons of vocabulary and a modicum of grammar, and have picked up a good accent as well (I'm told).
However the RS system does have one very big weakness, which I am increasingly exposing as I try to talk to Spanish-speaking friends -- RS gives you lots of listening and copying practice, but very little actual language origination practice, that is, turning what you want to say into Spanish in the absence of clues. You do get some, but not nearly enough.
However, I seem to have come up with a way round this problem, which has opened up a whole new learning experience with RS. I've made a stack of A4-sized 'flash-cards' with a set of pictures on one side (with the Spanish phrases blanked out) and the same pics on the other side, but with Spanish phrases visible.
To do this I simply pressed the 'Print Screen' button while viewing a lesson, then pasted the picture into my picture program (Paint Shop Pro in my case). Then I printed the page, blanked out the words, and printed again on the other side!
In use, you look at a picture and work out what you want to say, then flip the sheet over to check the 'model' answer. It's not as good as personal tuition, but it's a great enhancement of the RS system! In some cases I've written in a blank some hints on what to say (if it isn't obvious from the picture) -- e.g. 'Ask if you can pay by credit card'.
My wife is a language teacher and she told me one of the most effective ways to acquire and consolidate language is to look at realistic pictures and try to comment on them in the language. This is a good approach to that, I think.