Ouino is a software program and mobile app with more than 500 lessons and 1,000 exercises in Spanish, French, Italian, and German. It’s curriculum-based with an academic approach (as opposed to relying on gameplay like some other language apps). It covers the basics such as vocab and pronunciation, but can also help you improve your conversation skills and master verb tenses.
Ouino would be great for you if you want to pick a language back up after not using it for a while, if you love structure, or if you want lots of practice. It could also be a good resource for language students who want to keep their skills sharp in between semesters.
The usability and content quality are great, but the layout and structure of the exercises take a minute to get used to.
The lessons explain the topics in depth and give several examples.
A lot of solid content and useful exercises are included for a relatively low cost.
Ouino accommodates both auditory and visual learning styles. Each lesson is read aloud as well as shown on screen. Exercises incorporate sound and pictures. Important words are color coded, read aloud quickly, and then repeated slowly.
You can access all the lessons at any time. You don’t have to work through a topic you already know if you don’t want to.
It’s very affordable, especially if you’re willing to commit to a six-month plan. A subscription gives you access to all courses.
I DON’T LIKE…
The time limit on exercises is too short (5 seconds). I found myself clicking on answers just to beat the timer, not because I knew the material.
The pronunciation section doesn’t grade you. You have to compare your recording with a native speaker and decide for yourself if you’re close enough.
The structure of the exercises is the same for every lesson in the section. It can get repetitive and boring.
I had never used Quino before this review and wasn’t sure what to expect as there’s not a ton of impartial information about the program online. So, I decided to try it out.
Overall, I found Ouino to be very useful, especially after tweaking the settings to fit my personal learning style.
My first impression was that the structure of the program might be overwhelming. When you first open the app, you see each of the five sections and when you click on one, you see all the lessons for that section. There were so many lessons that I may have been overwhelmed if I didn’t have experience with Spanish already.
The flip side is that there is a ton of information for you to work through, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
Ouino would be best for someone who wants to pick a language back up or someone who has a beginner’s knowledge of the language and wants to take it further. Current students who want to get a head start on their language class for the semester or refresh themselves on the topics they may have forgotten over summer break will find Ouino useful as well.
Expect a non-linear but academic approach to learning a language with many practice exercises, the opportunity to choose between a self-directed or recommended path, practical conversation practice, and a detailed pronunciation guide.
Ouino is set up with five sections: building blocks, verbs and conjugation, vocabulary, conversations, and pronunciation.
Each section is made up of 50+ lessons.
When you click on each lesson, you have the option of playing the lesson (with audio and slides) or doing the exercises for the lesson.
At the end of an exercise, you get a scorecard with the percentage of questions you got right and the number of questions you got wrong. If you do well enough on the exercises, you’ll earn ribbons. You then have the option to redo the whole exercise, only revise the answers you got wrong, or go to the next lesson.
Each lesson finishes with an exercise containing 15-25 questions. At the end of each lesson, you can rate yourself on a 4-star scale to measure how well you learned the material.
Using this self-evaluation is a good way to see at a glance which lessons you feel confident about and which you should return to later. You may get a high score on a lesson but feel that you haven’t fully retained the material. If you give yourself a star evaluation, it’ll be easy to see in the section’s dashboard that you need to come back to it later.
Several sections cover the basics all the way up to an upper-intermediate level, although not every section does.
First, you’ll have to buy and download the membership from the Ouino website. It does feel a bit strange downloading software nowadays when few other resources still require that. But, it’s quick and easy enough to do so.
There is a mobile app available and two options for download.
First, if you download from an app store, you’ll only be able to access the content if you have an internet connection. This is because the app exceeds the size limits.
The other option is to download the app directly from their site, which will be a huge file, but you’ll be able to access the course while offline.
You’ll need to log in and choose a section to work on.
Then you’ll choose a lesson.
The lesson will be read aloud and shown on screen.
You can click the green tabs to skip ahead or replay part of the lesson. You can also click on the words and sentences to have them repeated.
Once the lesson is over, you have to option of choosing to do the exercises, listen to the lesson again, move on to the next lesson, or exit the section.
When you do the exercise, directions are shown on screen, but it may take a few minutes of trial and error to learn how the exercises work.
A fill in the blank exercise:
Some exercises have a timer at the bottom of the screen (a green, yellow, and red line) that lasts 5 seconds and each color represents the number of points you’ll earn if you answer in that amount of time (5-15 points).
Match the voiceover Spanish with the written English:
When you’re done, you can repeat any exercises you missed, redo the exercise completely, move on to the next exercise, or exit the section.
The good parts:
Knowing that the lessons will be read aloud and shown to you instead of having to read and puzzle over them on your own makes the lessons more enjoyable.
Many lessons use color-coding to help you make connections. Masculine and feminine endings are written in red to help you notice the differences. The vocab words that are the focus of a particular section are shown in red.
Verb endings in red:
The app works well, is visually appealing, and is easy to navigate but can feel somewhat clunky on a phone.
Ouino gives you the freedom to choose what to learn next as you don’t necessarily need to go in a set order. This can eliminate frustration if you’re trying a course but already know some of the language and don’t want to sit through a lesson for a concept you’re already familiar with before moving on to a topic you’re actually interested in learning.
There are tons of lessons so there are bound to be new things for you to learn from Ouino even if you’ve studied the language before.
With Ouino you’ll learn the basics like masculine/feminine words and verb tenses, and you’ll learn the more complex skills like conversation techniques. You’ll have access to a fairly comprehensive pronunciation resource, and you’ll learn every part of speech in your desired language.
The bad parts:
Each section has a different type of exercise that it uses for all the lessons in that section.
You’ll type letters or words to complete a sentence, match an English translation with a Spanish audio recording, drag and drop to match verb endings or record yourself speaking the language and compare it to a recording of a native speaker.
BUT the types of exercises don’t vary within each section with the only exception being the verbs and conjugation section where there are different exercises for each subsection.
Verbs and conjugation subsections:
The exercises can become repetitive. If you’re doing the recommended path, you may find yourself bored in a few weeks despite there being so many new topics to learn.
Ouino could be improved if a little more variation was incorporated into the structure of the lessons and exercises. The program offers a lot in terms of the breadth of material and subjects covered, but it’s possible that a user may give up on learning a language simply because the work became boring.
If you’re hoping to learn a language for conducting business or to become fully fluent, you’ll need other resources to expand on what you learn in Ouino. While several of the sections can get you to mastery for the focused topic, not all of the sections go up to an advanced level.
The app is effective in general as long as you’re okay with an academic approach to language learning; however, it isn’t effective for learning in terms of the time limit on the exercises.
I found myself clicking on answers without thinking because I only had 5 seconds to answer the question. I didn’t have time to consider my answer before selecting it. I ended up getting a lot of answers right, but mainly because I recognized key words rather than full sentences.
When you sign up for Ouino, you have the option to sign up for a lifetime, 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription. Every option includes access to 500+ lessons and 1,000+ exercises, the ability to add up to 3 users and 5 devices, no ads, offline use, and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
The lifetime access option offers personal language mentoring. If you’re struggling to learn a concept, you can talk to your language mentor, and they’ll offer advice about how best to learn the concept.
This isn’t the same as having a personal tutor (check out italki for that) but it can be helpful if you find there are some lessons that just don’t make sense to you. Lifetime access also offers free upgrades, a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, and you only have to pay for it once. The listed price is $311.79 but I suspect it’s usually available at the sale price of $95.76.
The monthly options offer everything the lifetime access plan does except for language mentoring and upgrades and the satisfaction guarantee drops to 30-days. Access will end at the end of the 3, 6, or 12-month period.
The 3-month plan is a one-time payment of $38.58.
The 6-month plan a one-time payment of $59.94.
The 12-month plan is a one-time payment of $83.88.
The Lifetime plan is a one-time payment of $95.76.
Based on the number of lessons and exercises you get, I’d say the price is fair. Just be sure to consider whether the academic approach and repetitive lessons fit your learning style before you purchase.
If you do decide to use Ouino, make sure to check out their website which has several videos that explain the app setup, their learning philosophy, and how to get the most out of the resource.
There are several things you can customize within the app which is a nice way to accommodate your learning style further – like the speed you want phrases repeated, playback options, the timing of the example interval, and the text/subtitle display.
Ouino is a great resource for anyone hoping to pick a language back up, loves structure, or wants a lot of practice. If you’re a student in between semesters and want to keep information fresh, this is a great all-in-one resource and the monthly pricing plans can make it even more affordable for you.
The teaching techniques are great for both visual and auditory learners. There are tons of lessons and concepts to learn, and you can choose how you want to learn them.
Overall, Ouino is a pretty good resource and gives you the bang for your buck. Just remember to take your learning style and level of commitment into consideration when deciding whether to purchase.
We always try to give lots of alternative resources to consider but since Ouino is available in a few different languages and our recommendations vary dramatically depending on the language you’re learning, it wouldn’t be possible to include all of the alternatives here.
You can click on the language you’re learning in the table below to find our favorite resources for that specific language.
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