I was planning on posting a few of the advantages and disadvantages of using Rosetta Stone, since I’m sure people would like to know about them before spending a couple hundred dollars on one of its languages (of course, that’s assuming other people are reading this blog, although I suppose one day I might want to remember any pros and cons of the course, like if I decide to pick up yet another language). But I realized it would be hard to describe any detail without first describing how the course is presented, etc. So I think I’ll go in a step-by-step sort of fashion as I describe what the user can expect from their Rosetta Stone program (and hopefully not sound too much like an ad for the software, as I’m already starting to sound).

  1. You log into your account, after you start up the program of course. I didn’t necessarily expect (or not expect) you’d be able to set up individual accounts for each language learner, but the fact that you can is nice, since it would be difficult to share the course with another person if you couldn’t. As you move through the lessons, it saves your progress, shows what you got right/wrong and your success percentages.
  2. You pick your level. This might not be the case if you’ve only bought level one, but since I have levels 1-3, I have to choose which of those I want to use. You’re not prevented from moving ahead to more advanced lessons or levels, which is cool since you can listen to more advanced speech, but I wouldn’t really advise attempting a more advanced lesson.
  3. The levels are split up into units. Units are split into lessons. Lessons are further broken up into: core lesson, pronounciation, vocabulary, grammar, listening and reading, reading, writing, listening, speaking and finally, review. For the most part those titles are self-explanitory, but maybe I’ll go into more detail later (probably not though).
  4. Each unit has its own page, while lessons and their components are shown two different ways. The first is in a continuous line with each lesson coming after the one before it. The second is a series of columns below the continuous line. Each lesson has its own column, with the first component from the lesson (core lesson) at the top and each other component dropping down until it reachs the last (review). This will be relevant later, since it’s related to one of the most recent pros/cons I’ve noticed.
  5. Beyond the menus, everything is presented in the language you’re learning (for me, Korean). The speech and the writing is completely in Korean. Because Korean uses a different alphabet than English (obviously), there’s an Alphabet option in the menu where you can practice learning the characters. Very helpful.

Well, those are the Rosetta Stone technical basics. I’ll end it with that, and save pro and con detailing for later.