I’m a bit of a book nerd. When I’m learning languages, I like my hard copy paper, pen and notebook. For me, the integrated practices of not only reading and listening, but the muscle memory of writing new vocab helps to ground the language in me.
But a lot of people like the convenience of learning languages online.
So I asked myself: I wonder if I can find a package that is a complete language study course online?
Rocket Languages is the most holistic online language learning platform I found, with reading, writing, listening and speaking activities; it includes language recognition AI to help with your pronunciation. You can use it offline with downloadable pdf’s and mp3’s, and flashcard decks come with each lesson to focus on vocabulary.
What Is Rocket Languages?
Rocket Languages is an online language learning platform with accompanying apps. The page shown here is the one for the Spanish course.
It takes an approach similar to many book + CD language learning kits, teaching useful language and conversations straight up, but also takes advantage of the interactivity that the web can provide.
Unlike some other platforms, Rocket Languages is NOT immersive. There is plenty of explanation in English, particularly in the earlier lessons. Depending on your learning preferences, you may consider this a strength or a weakeness of the product 🙂
However, the pronunciation audios are of native speakers, and in the conversations the speakers interact at a reasonable speed.
Is There A Rocket Language App?
Rocket Languages has an app, that you can trial at the same time you trial any language course.
Design-wise, it looks identical to the interface on the web, so the learning curve is low. Audio lessons can be downloaded for offline use, just as they can on your computer.
In fact, as far as an “accompaniment” to an online language course, the Rocket Languages app is the best I have seen.
Everything you can do on the computer sized version, you can do in the app, so you don’t lose any functionality at all.
Rocket Language Podcasts
The lesson is delivered in audio format, with subtitles as well.
Conveniently, these interactive audio lessons can also be downloaded like a podcast to your computer or phone for listening offline.
Practice opportunities that would have been provided in MP3 tracks or CDs with offline language kits are interspersed throughout the lesson.
The language presented is broken down into phrases and words for easy learning, and in the earlier lessons is quite slowly introduced.
What Languages Does Rocket Languages Offer?
As at 2021, the following languages are available with Rocket Languages:
|English (in English)||English (in Spanish)|
The various languages also come with different levels. French, Italian and Spanish all come with Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels, as well as additional material at an advanced level; Japanese, German and Chinese have three levels, but no additional material; the other languages come with just one or two levels.
You can view the most up to date information about languages and levels offered on the Rocket Languages Course Information page.
How Much Does Rocket Languages Cost?
Rocket Languages normally sells each language course and level separately, and with different product prices for 1, 2 or 3 levels. The investment gives you a lifetime access to that product.
In 2021, the prices are:
|Levels 1 & 2:||US$299.90|
|Levels 1, 2 & 3:||US$449.85|
Special Price Deal!
Payment plans are also available, normally costing US$75/month over 6 months for a Level 1,2&3 language course. Check the faqs at the bottom of individual language course information pages to find the payment plan link for your language.
Can You Become Fluent With Rocket Languages?
Rocket Languages says they are aiming for “conversational fluency” – the ability to listen and understand, and respond with reasonable pronunciation. “We want you to be able to communicate, in French, whenever and wherever you want.”
Obviously, they are not, then, claiming to prepare you for undertaking a C2 Proficiency Exam. However, very few people need to attempt such an exam.
Listening to the audios in the Advanced level, the speed of speech and the level of vocabulary sounds around a B2 Level of language proficiency to me, which is adequate for communicating effectively in the community.
Is Rocket Languages Any Good?
Whether a language program is any good or not lies heavily on the individual’s preferences. Over 3000 users to date have given Rocket Languages a 5 star review, so it obviously suits quite a few people.
Rocket Languages is most likely to be effective for those who like to have a highly structured course to follow, with lots of opportunity for repetition. Everything is provided in the package – opportunities for reading, writing (typing), listening and speaking, as well as flashcard exercises to learn new vocabulary. Information about the relevant cultures is sprinkled throughout the lessons, and particularly in the travelogs.
On the other hand, if you have learned languages in the past, particularly as an autodidactic learner (that is, you organised your own materials), you may find Rocket Languages a little restrictive.
Personally, as a false beginner of Spanish, I found the Spanish course a bit monotonous. But as an absolute beginner, the Russian course was challenging.
Nevertheless, as someone who likes to write the language as I learn, typing doesn’t quite suit my learning style. I need the kinaesthetic experience of writing the letter combinations, especially with new writing scripts, to really learn. For this reason, I am inclined to download the pdf files and write things in manually. However, I haven’t worked out yet if then I also need to go through the lessons online to check if I had the correct answers.
Is Rocket Languages Worth It?
Each level of Rocket Languages has approximately 120 hours of lesson time. At a maximum cost of US$150, that averages out to about US$1.25 per hour – a very reasonable cost for a complete language kit.
In addition, because you have lifetime access, every lesson can be repeated at any time for a refresher, or even on the first time through, simply to make sure you fully understand the content.
In comparison with attending language schools (typically 8-12 weeks of 2.5 hour classes, for a total of around 25 hours contact time, often costing $300), Rocket Languages are much cheaper.
Likewise, if you compare a Rocket Languages course with the cost of purchasing separate resources, none of which are designed to go together:
- a text (beginner to A2) (around US$40),
- auditory input program (US$120/year),
- free flashcard app,
it very quickly becomes apparent that the lifetime access Rocket Languages courses are quite reasonably priced, and in some cases will take the learner to quite a high standard of language.
Rocket Languages have positioned themselves as a legitimate competitor of language schools, with the added benefits that you can learn at the time that suits you, at a speed that is right for you, and do not need to waste time travelling to the classes.
The most basic courses will provide a significant introduction to the language, and the more advanced ones contain sufficient material to bring the learner to a conversational level, sufficient for operating comfortably in the community.
If you are looking for a highly gamefied environment that will keep you motivated with pretty pictures, this is not the product for you.
Likewise, if you like to learn in a group environment like a class, or have instant feedback from a teacher, then this is not a good solution.
But if you are independently motivated, and have a desire to learn a language to a conversational level, and do not want to go looking for a variety of resources to get you to where you want to go, Rocket Languages could well be the product you are looking for.
Looking for a language learning app for your phone? Check out our Babbel Review!