Learn German Software: Have you come across Rocket Languages’ German course? Don’t know whether this is something for you?
Since my husband doesn’t speak German and I am a trained linguist we have tested two of the most popular German language training software: Rocket German by Rocket Languages, and Rosetta Stone German. While our views differ on some interesting aspects, they align on many others.
Rocket German Review
Learn German Software: I reviewed the 2021 edition of Rocket German to assess whether this was a viable tool for my time-starved husband to finally get to grips with my mother tongue. In November 2020 we put together the following review:
Design and Ease of Use
Learn German Software: In Rocket’s 2021 Edition, the site design is clean and neat. On the start page, two navigation boards invite to clicks. On the left, you choose between Interactive Audio, Language & Culture and Survival Kit. On the right, seven modules and a Survival Kit & Review each come wrapped up with drop down sub-menus. It doesn’t take you long to figure out how the left navigation features weave into the different modules.
On the top right, your personal dashboard and settings let you configure your learning journey and set your own pace.
Learn German Software: Our favorite course pack in Rocket German were the Language & Culture Lessons. Despite their fancy title they are meatier than you’d think. Across seven modules, you learn pronunciation, grammar and building sentences in a variety of ways: from flash cards, audio and writing lessons to quizzes. After all, expressing yourself in a way that is not just clear but also culturally acceptable will get you far further.
At the bottom of each lesson you also learn about cultural topics like where and how best to do small talk. As an Austrian I would have loved to have some Austrian references in addition to the German examples, as I’m sure the Swiss Germans would have liked Swiss references. All in all really useful for travellers, though.
Other than the Language & Culture Lessons the Survival Kit pack of bonus lessons provides a great resource for travellers learning German. Likewise, those not into learning a language from the bottom up will find language hacks for every day situations. The Survival Kit & Review helps with topics like Life In The City, Drinks and Breakfast, and Parts of the Body.
Learn German Software: Because each Interactive Audio Lesson and Language & Culture Lesson covers audio, writing, interactive comprehension, flash cards and quizzes learners are busy. Since you are constantly put into an interactive context, where you engage with characters or deal with specific situations you progress more quickly.
What we liked most was the Play It section of each lesson: This allows you to choose which character you’d like to enact in a given dialogue, for example, when ordering breakfast, or losing your wallet.
Learn German Software: The content is packaged in Interactive Audio Lessons, Language and Culture Lessons, Games, and a Survival Kit. Each of the lessons includes an audio file featuring a dialogue or role play, as well as background on grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary. The grammar is mostly tied into the context of specific lessons. To most students’ relief there is no stand-alone grammar to pull out and learn or rehearse.
Rocket Record Voice Recognition
Rocket German’s key features include a voice recognition system that lets you adjust its difficulty from easy and medium to hard. Strangely enough, neither my husband or I noticed much difference.
Very much like paper flash cards, these test you on words and phrases. After each test, you can choose whether you found that card easy, good or hard. Based on this qualification the flash cards (re)appear more or less frequently. It’s a bit like throwing mud on the wall: You find out what sticks and what doesn’t, and where to focus your learning.
Hear It, Say It
In the Hear It, Say It feature you can test your listening comprehension with words and phrases. On top, Rocket’s voice recognition lets you record your own audio and put your pronunciation to the test. This is immensely useful as it makes sure your German counterparts will understand what you are saying, even when grammatically correct.
In this section, students test their writing based on audio examples. Once you finish you will see any corrections in red in a text box below. Quite conveniently, you will find extra buttons for the letters for the German special characters (Umlaute and the sharp s). After each exercise, the buttons ‘easy’, ‘good’ and ‘hard’ let you evaluate your learning experience to determine the level of future exercises.
This part confronts you with different sentences in English, which you have to record in your own voice in German. As with the other features, there are usually 39 exercises, and three evaluation buttons allow for a personalized learning progress.
Definitely the toughest but also most rewarding part of the lesson, the quiz tests you on the key learning parts of the lesson by asking detailed questions. Mostly, you need to choose from four to five options. If a box is not ticked correctly you will see the solution in a green box below.
Learn German Software: At the end of leach lesson, the Rocket Reinforcement Activities allow you to track your success: Throughout the audio, writing, and comprehension activities you can earn up to 39 points.
What’s more, the Leaderboard invites you to benchmark your success with other Rocket German students. When we started out in 188th position on day 1 in the German leaderboard we were quite motivated to see participants who were already far further down the line in terms of days of practicing, and number of points earned – a great carrot especially for more competitive characters!
On a more individual note, Rocket German’s weekly dashboard helps you track your own progress indicated daily points earned and progress against your own set goal points.
If you require an official benchmark, Rocket’s tests and modules are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Once you have completed the Rocket Certification for the entire level and the icons are all green, your level of German will be around CEFR Level A2 (CEFR levels progress from A1 to C1).
Web Based Service
Learn German Software: Since Rocket Languages’ courses are web based. you skip potentially tedious installations. You can save notes and vocabulary and search for vocabulary across the different modules.
Support and Trials
Learn German Software: To solve course-related questions and dig deeper into certain subjects you can use Rocket’s vast online user forum, where tutors and other German students provide support. The forum was used by a couple of pupils, with one or two avid learners among their regulars. Questions were answered in depth and in a relevant way by tutors and native speakers. It took between one day and two weeks to have your question answered.
If you have technical problems the online Help Center covers the most frequent challenges in a Questions and Answers format. In case you have a specific troubleshooting problem send an email to the technical support team.
Throughout Rocket Languages’ various language courses you can access trials for each language on three different levels. Bottomline, they allow you to check out the course and its structure.
For further information, visit Rocket Languages.
Runners Up To Best Learn German Software
There were a few runners up that made it into our shortlist of learn German software, such as award winning language software Rosetta Stone German, Tell Me More German because of its fantastic variety of features and ultimate speech recognition technology used, or the German Complete Edition because you can upload it on iTunes and learn German while you commute or go jogging. They all ticked the majority of the quality criteria listed above.