Rosetta Stone Is Terrible
I am a fluent speaker of Spanish and Italian as well as English. Most of my Italian was learned through formal instruction, and my Spanish was learned in my household. I have a few friends who went to China to study abroad, and I thought it would be interesting to spend some personal time studying Mandarin. I have a friend studying Mandarin in school and have looked over her textbooks and found them informative. Since I do not own these textbooks, I decided to try Rosetta Stone - Mandarin Chinese.
A friend of mine allowed me to try a copy of his for a few days, and to put it briefly, it was terrible. It would display several images, each of which would correspond to an audio clip of Mandarin. At first I went along with it, assuming it would touch on the nuances of the grammar and pronunciation later (of which there are many in Mandarin).
I skipped ahead to see what else there was, and it was more of the same. Rosetta Stone teaches you by playing audioclips on top of images and expecting you to memorize what "sounds" go with what "picture." It is impossible to gain any conversational skill this way, or to produce any unique ideas. It would also be extremely difficult to understand Mandarin this way, since there are many ways to say one thing and most of the way were probably left uncovered by the "one picture, one audio clip" approach.
Overall I was extremely disappointed and feel bad for the people who spent hundreds of dollars for this tripe. I have no doubt they have learned nothing from it.