By: Rosetta Stone Ltd.
As children, we learn all most everything from exposure to our surroundings. Our parents introduce us to the general terms, with time we narrow them down and absorb the specifics. A dog was only that, not a poodle, beagle, or a pug. After being informed that all animals have a tail, we notice the dog with one. Hence, we conclude that the dog is an animal. It is our deductive reasoning, whereby we start with a generalization and end up with a logical conclusion. Rosetta Stone is such a learning platform that utilizes immersive picture-audio learning with deductive reasoning.
The history lovers will travel back to ancient Egypt upon hearing the term Rosetta Stone.
It is so since the term initially addresses an ancient granodiorite stone that has inscriptions in 2 languages using 3 scripts.
It is a copy of decree by an Egyptian priest, delivered in Memphis around 196 BC. The stone is housed in a museum till date and provides insight to the Hieroglyphic Writing.
The owner of Rosetta Stone may have adopted that name after getting inspired by the historical value of language learning.
The best way to learn a new language is via immersion, whereby you meet the native speaking people and have a one-to-one interaction.
Or be exposed to the surrounding which is ideal for that language to be absorbed quickly. The founder of Rosetta Stone, Allen Stoltzfus, was able to learn German while living in Germany.
He later went on to study Russian in a classroom setting but found it challenging. His wish was to revive the same learning experience he had with German.
It is due to this that he decided to create a language learning program using computer technology. By 1992, they were able to develop a CD-ROM software.
From there till today, their evolution is such that now it’s not a mere language learning platform but a cloud-based business model. Their target is to improve the education technology.
Rosetta Stone Inc. was able to list itself in the New York Stock Exchange in 2009 by raising its first IPO. In 2013 they launched a program for children that goes with the name of Rosetta Stone Kids Reading.
It has now acquired companies such as Vivity Labs Inc, Livemocha, Tell Me More, and Lexia Learning.
Rosetta Stone offers more than 30 languages along with an Endangered Language Program designed to save a few linguals from extinction.
Their method of teaching entails zero English, meaning they hardly use English to translate the foreign language.
Their primary focus is on absorption using pictures and audio. These 2 techniques introduce the learner to an object.
Once the object is recognizable, then a few more known words can collaborate, and the student will be able to learn a new phrase.
For example, the session begins with a slide containing a picture of a boy or a girl. The learner recognizes the terms given to the respective gender by listening to their audio.
Next, they introduce an activity such as eating or drinking. This kind of exposure leads to an effort to construct simple phrases; such as “The boy is drinking water” or “A girl is eating.”
It builds up from there, introducing new related terms and making more complex sentences to challenge the student.
Rosetta Stone has 3-5 language levels with units. Every unit has 4 core lessons, focused activities (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, speaking, etc.) and milestone (lesson 4.)
The core lesson is developed to teach a foreign language through immersion. The focused activities build learners skills and reinforce the learned material.
They also offer private tutoring at an extra cost. Native speakers host the tuitions, and they are about 25 minutes long, they can boost conversational confidence of a learner.
We can positively pronounce that it’s one of the most suitable platforms for beginners.
Other online language learning sites such as LingQ or Yabla can only be beneficial for intermediate or advanced learners.
Let us dive deeper into their system and find out what kind of resources are in-stored for language enthusiasts.
There are millions of users from more than 150 countries who have been using the different programs of R S.
It also offers solutions to schools, businesses, and organizations. They have provided language training to the military of the USA.
There are various product types to access Rosetta Stone learning courses. These include online subscription, mobile apps, downloads, and CD-ROM.
The web version recently had a makeover and now rocks a new look. Rosetta Stone added phrasebook to the existing features of my lessons and extended learning.
The features of chat, language training, games, TruAccent speech recognition, and Live tutoring are also available in the online subscription.
The mobile app is available in iOS with the introduction of a phrasebook, stories, and audio. It also includes the Seek and Speak feature, which uses object-recognition technology to learn more using their cameras.
They have updated their Android app with the rearrangement of the home menu. Apart from these 2 systems, Rosetta Stone is accessible via Kindle Fire (Amazon).
The purchase of the download form of Rosetta Stone (formerly version 4) is via email. It includes language training, games, live tutoring, and mobile apps.
The CD-ROM package comes in a box and has CD’s which install the program in the PC. The installation is via activation code and its accessible from 2 computers with 5 active users.
The latest version of Rosetta Stone is 5.0.13, which changed the label of “Rosetta Course” to “Language Training.” It had an older version of 4 TOTALe, brought about firmer copyright measures.
They also have an app by the name Discover Languages available in Xbox one which supports English and Spanish language. It exposes the learners to the virtual world with appealing gaming sessions.
Rosetta Stone is much more than a language learning platform. It’s a business model ideally made to ease the process of language learning.
This mode requires a continuous internet connection, and it provides access to all the languages. The user chooses and pays for the lingual he/she wants to learn.
They offer 3, 6, 12, and 24 months subscription with 30 days money-back guarantee. Once the account is activated, one can choose the desired course of learning from the list.
The level 1 of the curriculum gets initiated, and the system provides options for the type, of course, one would like to pursue.
We know every individual has different tastes and preferences; one may choose to learn via reading and writing, while others may opt to speak and to listen.
The learning style is unique for every student; thus, the user selects the course that suits him/her.
They offer TruAccent speech recognition system, which is used by the learners to practice speech. The system provides a collection offered for the voice type of the user.
The voices of an adult male, female, and child are present. The user selects one which best describes his/her voice.
We identify it is an exciting feature which is missing in many similar products such as rocket languages which utilize speech recognition technology.
Once this much is selected, the homepage is displayed. The interface is neat with very minimal tabs (my lessons and extended learning), arranged strikingly.
The homepage hosts My lesson section. It displays the lessons under unit 1. All the available units are obtainable from the “show menu” bar on the home page.
The learner can follow the syllabus provided by the system. Interestingly, the number of focused activities increases as one advance in the lessons.
It is an award-winning teaching strategy of R S. It includes Language Training, Live tutoring, and Games & Activities.
Language training is the focal section, as it delivers the learning content to the user. It includes the lessons and the audio companion.
The base of their learning program is immersion, meaning this language surrounds you. Rosetta Stone avoids the use of the English language and conduct lessons in the new language.
Their approach majorly uses deductive reasoning and repetition. The repetition is effective in imprinting the content in the learner's mind.
Their live tutoring sessions are quite renowned, and they have native tutors who expand the learners’ knowledge acquired from the core lessons.
They offer private and group classes for users. The sessions are usually 20-25 minutes. It is a great way to re-enforce what is already learned by the student.
The speaking skill can be improved as the conversations are held in the new language and the simbio (native language.)
Let us dwell into the core section of the system - Language Training.
It aims to create a surrounding for the learner by linking sound and image. It is immersion-based teaching; no room provided for translations.
A learner is exposed exclusively to the real-life environment, which encourages the learner to speak, listen, read, and write from day one.
The lessons are in 3 sections; core lessons, focused activities, and a milestone.
Each unit has 4 core lessons, and it holds the teachings for the learner. The lessons start with few images, with its writing and audio in several slides.
The first slide starts with simple concepts of gender or greetings. A written image of a girl and a boy appears on the screen. The learner can use the audio to listen to the words and its pronunciation.
On the page, there are few control buttons such as play and pause. One can click on the eye button to view the answer to the questions asked via audio.
The option to skip a particular slide is available, and the scores get registered as one progress in the lesson.
The system then provides related images and seeks the learner to select the appropriate photo. Learning is through absorbing the given information and then applying the learned content.
It progresses from singular to plural, introducing verbs such as eating, drinking, walking, running, swimming, etc.
As the slides progress, the learner learns the content and answers to the audios by selecting the appropriate image.
In the example below, the learner is required to select the image that portrays “The girl is reading.”
They employ the use of repetition at various slides; this is to assure that the learner remembers it for a long time.
As slides progress, so does the toughness in the lesson. A student may then be asked to select the correct answer among the given options.
Listening skill is greatly enhanced, as the student is required to follow the native tutor’s voice and answer accordingly.
The lack of instruction in the learner’s native language may be a setback. The other issue is its pace; the lesson progress is very relaxed.
The repetitive nature worsens the situation, and the lesson may end up being tedious. The slides answered wrongly need to be reviewed to complete a session.
According to our observation, the core lessons may be apt for teaching basic concepts of verbs and nouns, but its approach is not suitable for complicated grammar.
The first lesson has few of these; core lesson, pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Listening and writing may be introduced in lesson 2.
The 3rd installment may bring speaking, review, and listening & reading. The last section of the unit holds the milestone. These activities are carried out using various types of screens.
It includes; choosing an image (that matches the words/audio), a prompt, speech analysis, new phrase development, pronouncing syllables, select from multiple-choice, or writing using a virtual keyboard.
There is a slow development of the activities in each lesson. Below is a pronunciation session; the words are the same learned in the core lessons.
The vocabulary part gives two images with a written word. The image corresponding the word has to be chosen by the learner (selecting a picture.)
The grammar tests the phrases taught in the core lesson. It does so by providing the images illustrated in the sessions with multiple choices.
The writing section provides a virtual keyboard which is used to type the answers in the activity.
The speaking and pronunciation activities use TruAccent speech recognition, which analyses the learners recording and gives feedback.
The speech analysis icon allows you to see a graph of your voice. A speaker icon enables you to preview your recording.
A graph is visible, which shows the difference between the learner and the tutor’s speech; the comparison can give you an idea of where you went wrong.
The system requests one to try again based on your performance. It is an ideal method to develop speaking skills.
The review part is a kind of test for the learner. One also has to review the slides of lessons where one failed in previous sessions.
At the end of any lesson, the system provides a brief on the achieved scores.
Their adaptive recall feature schedules the date on which one should revisit a lessons review activity. Each unit has a review activity, and there are 4 units; thus, one may have16 adaptive recall activities.
Of course, the frequency of the recall activities relies on one’s performance. The action aims to improve one’s long-term memory.
The milestone tests one’s language proficiency by providing a series-based story. It makes the learner answer the question by choosing appropriate words to form a phrase which describes a particular scene.
These activities are created to reinforce the learned core lessons. It mostly uses the same images; the familiarity eases the process of answering the activities tasks.
These activities earn scores. Each lesson has a minimum percentage of scores that the learners have to make to complete the session, which is visible as a checkmark on the screen.
The extended learning tab holds events such as play, talk, stories, phrasebook, and audio companion.
Rosetta Stone currently provides 5 different games which improve different abilities of speaking, pronunciation, vocabulary, listening, reading, and grammar.
There is an option to either play the game solo or with a partner. The multiplayer game is played online with another learner of the same language.
They have provided 3 activities for the talk section. It seeks to enhance the conversational skill and use the texts and speech recognition system. It can be done in pair too with an option to use simbio language.
The stories arrangement is unit-wise, each unit housing a couple of them. Who doesn’t love to listen to stories?
The options of reading, listening, or speaking the story content is available. It can significantly improve learners skills in a fun and exhilarating way.
Their phrasebook is an exciting feature, which hosts situational conversations, e.g., meeting people, being polite, shopping, and others.
A native speaker speaks the common words and phrases, and the learner is required to imitate the tutor. There are selections available to play/pause, record, and translations for the session.
The audio companion allows one to download lessons level-wise in the MP3 in zip file format. It facilitates learning offline and at any time and place.
Abode Flash is required to obtain games and talk activities.
Getting recognition is part of human nature. Any efforts bear fruits, and they need to be materialized into something that gives the learner satisfaction.
The report holds the details happening of the learning activity. It shows the lessons completed and its progress if in progress.
The associated scores shown with the date of last attempt and detail on time spent on the lesson is also visible.
The student earns stamps as he/she continues with the lessons. These stamps are to award the learner for his/her efforts.
They have categories for the stamps such as anatomy, animals, arts and entertainment, bakery, come back soon, good sport, live tutoring, and many others.
These categories have related stamps. For example, good sports have stamps like a game player, athlete, and sports fan.
Different activities such as signing in daily, using voice chat to play games, or earnings in language training can award you stamps.
These act as a tool for motivating the learners. The scores get allocated to the learner at the end of each lesson. It is also a part of encouraging the student.
Rosetta Stone holds the belief that they develop a language similarly as a child acquires his/her first language.
They have formulated the software after extensive linguistic research. It resulted in a visually-driven learning platform.
Their mode of delivering learning content is via images which, coupled with deductive reasoning and language immersion equal to Rosetta Stone lessons.
Their images depict the actions without the need to use the native language of the learner. However, we may point out that a few photos may fail in some cases to portray a concept.
It is a fit for beginners who want to use Rosetta Stone as an introduction to any new language. Its use as a supplement may also turn out to be beneficial.
They have tried to create a universal format for every course they offer. Meaning 70-80% of the lesson content is similar in every Rosetta Stone language.
Their voice recognition feature may be ideal for single words. But when faced with phrases, the program may be unable to judge it correctly.
They do display the graphical comparison between the tutor and the user; however, they do not address the accent part of speaking.
Though we can applaud them for the variety of voice used in their audios, it is considered to be one of the most sophisticated voice recognition software in the industry.
Their content may enable learners to improve their listening and reading skills, but it may fall short to cater to the speaking capability of the student.
With no translations in simbio linguistic and explicit exposure in the new language, this software is worth recommending to the beginners who prefer to learn via visual exposure.