Rosetta Stone and Fluenz are language-learning resources that offer learners complete study solutions.
While Rosetta Stone and Fluenz may appear to be quite similar, the manner in which they teach is completely different. Here’s what sets Rosetta Stone and Fluenz apart:
- Rosetta Stone is completely immersive, meaning you won’t be given any explicit explanations of what you’re learning, whereas lessons in Fluenz include lots of explanations in English.
Out of the two resources, Fluenz is easily my first choice. However, I think there are plenty of other language-learning resources that offer better value than Rosetta Stone and Fluenz.
I’d recommend looking at all of your options before deciding which course is for you. The table below highlights some of our favorite tools for some of the most commonly studied languages.
What I like about each platform:
- The content is clearly laid out and the interface is easy to navigate.
- The ‘Extended Learning’ pack provides additional features that make the material more enjoyable.
- Users who commit to the course would undoubtedly be able to improve their language skills.
- The thorough explanations are helpful for a beginner user.
- Video tutorials offer a unique method of learning and are very engaging.
- The podcasts allow for more passive learning.
What I don’t like about each platform:
- The main units of the course get repetitive very quickly, which would probably be demoralizing after a while.
- There are no areas in the core material that explore the cultural context of a language.
- You’ll have to infer the meaning of content through images, as there are no explanations provided. This can make learning simple concepts unnecessarily frustrating.
- More expensive than similar, and better, resources.
- The activities don’t always maintain an engaging pace.
- Some of the activities feel repetitive, which gets boring quite quickly.
- It isn’t cheap.
Fluenz’s courses include six of the more popular language choices: Spanish (Latin America), French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish (Spain) and Portuguese.
Rosetta Stone offers courses in 25 different languages, including more commonly-studied languages like French, German, Spanish and Italian alongside others like Persian, Turkish, Polish, Arabic and Filipino.
You should expect to pay a bit more for courses on Rosetta Stone. Unlike other language learning platforms, you can’t pay on a month-by-month basis. The shortest subscription period is three months (access to one language), which costs $36, moving up to $179 for 12 months (access to all languages), and $199 for lifetime access to all of Rosetta Stone’s language courses.
Fluenz is one of the more expensive language learning resources available. Each full language course is priced differently, with the most expensive courses (German, French and Italian), topping at $378. You can also pay for a smaller bundle of levels for certain courses based on your ability.
How languages are taught with Rosetta Stone
We only tried the Spanish and Japanese courses on Rosetta Stone, but I’d imagine that all courses are fairly similar. The full course has more than two hundred hours of material to work through, with exercises to improve your speaking, writing, reading, listening and pronunciation skills.
There are 12 or 20 units altogether, depending on the language, which increase in difficulty as you progress through the course. Each unit has its own theme, but they all generally stick to the same format.
In each unit, you’ll begin with the first core lesson, which runs through some of the grammar, vocabulary and phrases you’ve learned in previous lessons. After that, you move onto shorter exercises that focus on more specific elements of the language while sticking to the lesson’s theme.
In each exercise, you’ll be encouraged to work through questions, match pictures to sentences, and improve your pronunciation before you’re given a final score. You learn everything through picture examples, which makes the exercises all feel quite similar.
This method of learning won’t give you an in-depth look at the grammar of the language. Their approach of only using your target language can sometimes be frustrating. Concepts that could easily be understood with a quick explanation may never become clear when trying to pick it up through pictures. Frankly, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out exactly what a picture is supposed to represent.
Aside from the core material, Rosetta Stone also gives you access to a couple of other features when you purchase the Rosetta Stone package. The “Extended learning” feature provides a couple of different ways to interact with the language. There are audio versions of the lessons and a “Read” section for learning a bit about the cultural context of your target language, which the course itself doesn’t offer. Some language courses also include a phrasebook with translations.
How languages are taught with Fluenz
Unlike Rosetta Stone, Fluenz offers English explanations for all of the material it covers. This makes for a more helpful in-depth approach to language learning.
Each language covers five different levels, except for Mandarin, which covers three. Breaking it down further, there are 30 sessions in each level, each focusing on a specific topic. In these sessions, video tutorials explain certain aspects of a language in detail, and “workouts” give you a more practical learning experience.
This is an example of a session structure on Fluenz. Explanations are given in the introduction, tutorial and conclusion sections. The exercises in the session use material taken from the dialogue you hear at the start of every session.
Lessons flow nicely from one to the other. B the time you reach the harder classes, you feel like you’re prepared enough to take them on. You can also move freely between lessons, choosing which ones to practice and when.
None of Fluenz’s activities really feel like a game, as there are no time limits or points. For this reason, I’d say the resource is more suitable for somebody with a more academic approach to learning — I wouldn’t classify it as fun.
In addition to the sessions and levels in each course, Fluenz offers an additional flashcard feature. It lets you select which vocabulary you’d like to practice and which type of flashcard you’d like to use. You can also adjust some additional settings to better suit your learning style.
The flashcard function isn’t particularly exciting, but it gives you control over the vocabulary you want to learn, which some users will enjoy.
All in all, I think there are benefits to both Rosetta Stone and Fluenz, but I wouldn’t opt for Rosetta Stone out of the two.
Even though Fluenz is pricey compared to other language-learning resources, I enjoyed its thorough approach to teaching, and the video and podcast elements made for something different.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend Fluenz to someone looking for a more lighthearted, fun approach to learning a language. You’ll also probably need a certain level of commitment and dedication in advance to be willing to part with such a big amount of money.
Even though we like Fluenz more than Rosetta Stone, there are other courses I’d recommend above Fluenz.
Be sure to check out the table below — it shows some of our favourite resources organized by the languages they teach.
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