Pros / This software has an extremely accurate voice recognition algorithm.
Cons / You must be connected to the internet to use this program and you can’t download the program onto your computer.
Verdict / Rocket Languages is an online course with an intuitive interface and a wide variety of situational learning content.
Rocket Languages is an online learn French application which features modules with interactive audio courses, language and culture lessons. Some sections have survival kit lessons with in-depth cultural tips and tricks along with situational vocabulary.
Rocket Languages has unique pricing guidelines compared to other for-pay online applications we reviewed. You can purchase a lifetime license to all three levels for around $250, or buy each level separately for less than $100. All the other for-pay online courses we reviewed, including Rosetta Stone and Living Language, require you to pay a monthly subscription, which can be expensive if you have a long-term learning goal. Once you purchase a license to Rocket Languages, you can take the lessons any time you want, from any computer or mobile device that has access to the internet, and any upgrades they make to the curriculum or user-interface are free and available for life.
The mobile app is available on Android and iOS devices and looks similar to the online application. Both applications keep track of your progress through the lesson plan, so you can start a lesson on your laptop at home and continue or finish it on your phone on your commute. The audio lessons are downloadable in the mobile app, which allows you to learn without using Wi-Fi or cellular data, and you can also download a PDF transcript of the lesson and read along if you want a visual aid. The voice-recognition feature differs slightly because iOS devices use a Siri-based algorithm Android phones and tablets use a Google algorithm.
This program’s interactive audio courses begin with the Play it! section where you take part in a two-person conversation around the topic listed at the top of the screen. You listen to your virtual tutors, Paul and Marie-Claire, read the phrase first, then record yourself reading the same phrase and compare the two. The voice recognition algorithm in this program is one of the most accurate we tested and it allows you to set the difficulty level. If you don’t pronounce the word or phrase correctly, the program makes you repeat yourself until you do.
The next section of the audio course is the Write it! exercise. Rocket Languages plays a word or phrase from the conversation and you type what you hear. Each module is followed by a five-question multiple choice quiz to help you recall the important topics of the lesson.
Rocket Language is one of the few programs we tested with cultural lessons that are coupled with important vocabulary terms that coincide with the cultural topic. These lessons feature written instructions that reminded our reviewers of traditional language textbooks. The written instructions are followed by speaking and pronunciation exercises based on information in the module. For instance, the module that covers topics about making your way through a French town has a cultural lesson about a velib, which is a self-service bike rental found in Paris and other large cities in France.
The survival kit lessons in Rocket Language take the cultural lessons one step further to teach you important words and terms associated with a particular topic, like French food, household items and shopping for clothes. The survival kit lessons are especially handy if you are using this program to brush up on your French before you travel for business or leisure.
Rocket Languages has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. The one-time fee for a lifetime membership to this service is a good value for someone with long-term language goals, and you can access your account from any computer or mobile device with internet access. The learning content and speech recognition tools in this program were among the best we tested.