Software Language Learning Methods


Much like the internet, software language learning methods are a relatively new format for language learners. Software can give us an even more interactive language lesson than we can get with other methods.

Language learning software can easily be found in any store that sells software and electronics, such as Best Buy, or of course online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com or any merchant that sells language learning products. Let's take a look at the strong points and weak points of a software language learning method and a few of the best publishers.


Advantages


Full Media. Even more so than the internet, software language learning methods can give us text, audio, pictures and even video. While we all may learn in different ways, with all the options software has, we are bound to find the approach that works best for us as individuals.

More audio than audio. One of the best advantages of software is it's ability to replay something - instantly. If you want to listen to a phrase or word over again, it is easy to do. You can listen to it a hundred times over, no problem. It's much more flexible than a cd or mp3. Language learning software goes even further - many have a built in voice comparison feature. You can record your voice (with your computers microphone) and compare it to the native speaker to improve your pronunciation. Truly interactive audio.

You can use it at your own pace. Unlike all-audio language methods, software is usually structured a little more open, so you are freer to use it at a pace you are comfortable with, and in some programs, you are even encouraged to explore different sections and features.

Lots of material. A great advantage over books or audio methods is the shear wealth of information that can be crammed onto a few CDs or a DVD. Supplementary sections like dictionaries and grammars are commonplace in software language learning methods.


Disadvantages


Must have computer with you. It's obvious, but it's simply not as convenient as a book or simple audio cd. While technology is improving by leaps and bounds, most companies that make software language learning products have not yet fully taken advantage of the potential.

More expensive. Unlike a book, which can be inexpensive but packed with useful information, the few inexpensive software language learning methods I have seen are not very helpful, little more than vocabulary exercises. The really good ones are considerably more expensive.


Software provides us with one of the best possible language learning methods. As technology improves and pervades our day to day lives, we are bound to see more and better software language learning methods.

I would recommend to a new language learner that if you look closely at this format for your core language method, you must spend some money to get the better quality products. You must also get some supplemental materials to work with away from the computer, but I would recommend that to every language learner for whatever method they choose. Check out the Language Learning Tips page for other materials and tips to use with your method.


Recommended Software
Language Learning Methods



Auralogs Tell Me More is, in my opinion, the best language learning program. There are products for learners of all levels, including for intermediate and advanced. There is a new Version 10 that is available for French, Italian, Spanish, German and English, plus a few products for Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin) and Dutch. Read my review of Tell Me More for more information.


Transprent Language offers a variety of software language learning methods for a very wide range of languages. Their Premium software is a great alternative to higher priced packages from other companies and still offers quite a lot of content.

Transparent Language also makes the popular Before You Know It flashcard program and other software language learning products that would be a nice complement to other language methods for almost any learner.



Fluenz
This is one of the new major players on the software language learning scene. They only offer software for a few languages (Mandarin, Spanish, French and Italian currently) but it is their approach which is so refreshing. It includes video of a real instructor which personalizes the learning process and duplicates the classroom environment. And not just a few token lessons, but ongoing instruction throughout the learning process. You must view their demo to see this unique approach in action.

Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular language learning methods. They use a full media immersion approach that gives the user a variety of options to use. The software is fairly expensive but is available in an impressive variety of languages. Try out the free demo to see for yourself how Rosetta Stone works for you.


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