As a child I went to kindergarten and first grade in Berlin, but never spoke German afterwards. Recently I wanted to brush up my German to be able to communicate with some of my family still there, and to read publications. I became curious about the program's supposed popularity watching TV commercials, but never quite bought fully into it mainly because of the complete lack of specifics - they sound too much like a Sunday morning "infomercial" pushing various investment opportunities, or instant dietary weight loss miracles. I put it out of mind until I would have the opportunity to "test" it, or hear from someone who has actually used it.
However, to surprize me, my sweet wife decided to make it a gift for my birthday last April, 2011. I installed it - no problem - and breezed thru the first levels; spent one hour on each evening for about two weeks and I decided it was a total waste of my time.
I fully agree with one observation in your column the most: Learning a language as an adult is different than learning it as a child - and I can also say it from my OWN, unique experience. It's true: to learn the language and speak it like a 7 year old, one must spend 7 years, and must do so every single day, for the whole day!
Specifically, to be able to speak German, you need a good grip of the grammar structure of this language (much more so than in English), the changing of the nouns based on gender and tense are the hardest to assimilate and only years of practice can fix it into your brain if you just try to learn it by simple association - like a child. I say if you spend a year on this RS, you'll probably still speak like a one year old. Maybe some people are content to just that, but I would want to have a reference handy to quickly be able to correct myself. RS is nothing more than a lexicon with pictures.
Reading your column here, I am livid to find out how much money this trash costs! There is really no substitute for traditional learning. We live in a society which cherishes instant gratification, and wishes for that quick miracle pill more than anything, and RS plays into that weakness of ours with great success. Count me as a recent victim.