The New York Times just published a story about three of the most popular online Spanish tutorial sites: Rosetta Stone, Tell Me More, and Live Mocha. I decided to investigate in order to practice before I hit the ground running in Oaxaca two weeks from now.
Here is the link:
Here is my assessment of the three sites:
Live Mocha is FREE. Can’t beat that, or so it seems. I spent a few hours on the site after easy registration. The lessons are like using a textbook. After my language skills were measured, I was directed to the level that was most appropriate for my learning. I used the mouse to select my answers to the questions in Spanish and English that popped up on to the screen. After each module, I received a score. The lessons were clear, visual, simple to understand, and I could easily see my progress. However, there was no verbal pronunciation exercises or feedback given for articulating words. A huge shortcoming, in my opinion. But, what do you expect for nothing!
Tell Me More COSTS $$, but not as much as Rosetta Stone. The list of universities, colleges and businesses that use this online program is huge. You can sign up for two modules for $171 (before February 5, 2010), a 25% discount. The program is interactive and provides pronunciation practice using a graph that measures voice tone and accent accuracy, in addition to the type of learning endorsed by the U.S. State Department. You can buy in to this program without a huge financial commitment.
Rosetta Stone = a BIG INVESTMENT. Thousands. My husband Stephen, who taught ESL in the Peace Corps, says that the way the lessons are structured are not conducive to easy language learning. He is not a Rosetta Stone fan, and I trust his judgment. After looking at the Rosetta Stone site, I could see immediately that the way the lessons are taught would not work for me, and I didn’t want to make that $$ huge commitment up front.
My best advice: navigate these three sites and determine what feels most comfortable to you. I’m signing up for Tell Me More.