The Spanish-learning software Fluenz has an interesting marketing strategy. Much of it seems to revolve around favorable comparisons against a similar language-learning software called Rosetta Stone. The main Fluenz website is rather filled with mentions of Rosetta Stone and why Fluenz is just so much better than it.
We’re not quite sure why Fluenz makes such a point to disparage Rosetta Stone (aside from the latter’s popularity), nor do we imagine that the RS team is too happy about it. If we’re to believe the site, Fluenz performs better than a popular language-learning software in many areas that count, but how great is it really and does it deliver enough bang for the buck?
An intelligent approach – Fluenz Spanish Language Course
One thing Fluenz Spanish language course has going for it is a visual interface. Where many (dare we say, most) online language courses consist primarily of audio tracks with no video and minimal graphics, Fluenz has a ‘virtual instructor’. This makes you feel as if you have your own private teacher whom you can watch pronounce all the difficult words and phrases.
Needless to say, seeing someone speak Spanish is incredibly helpful and can go a long way towards giving you an understanding of the words you’re hearing. Fluenz’s visuals don’t end there, however: whenever the software’s Spanish teacher, Sonia Gil, is absent, beautiful imagery takes her place. This turns an otherwise dull experience of reading and typing into an engaging venture, inevitably improving your comprehension as you’ll be more inclined to pay attention. Due to its visual nature, the software is ideal for portable devices with a screen, such as smartphones and tablets, although you can still hear many lessons on an audio player.
So, it has the visuals going for it and it engages the user, but how about the actual package? The Fluenz Spanish course is divided across five levels, so to speak; each level has its own CD as well as a DVD containing the video. The first is meant to give you a basic understanding of the language, whereas by the time you’re finished with the last, you should have no trouble casually engaging native Spanish speakers in conversation. The price of a single package is around $180-$200, although various discounts are available when purchasing several of them, with all five levels costing $368, ostensibly down from $677.
Are there any downsides to the Fluenz Spanish language course? Which type of user is it ideal for?
The first and most obvious downside for many will be the price. $180 for the first out of five programs is quite a bit to ask – you’ll feel compelled to get the whole thing, in a sense being forced to pay $368 for a complete course. That’s a lot, despite the ample features that Fluenz has.
Aside from a lack of live interaction with a tutor(something that many of these courses lack), Fluenz also sometimes suffers from focusing on general comprehension rather than rules – you’ll know the how, but not necessarily the why.
If you can deal with these (relatively) minor setbacks, Fluenz Spanish is a great choice for anyone committed to speaking Spanish on a conversational level – you’ll also have an easier time getting there than you would with many other courses.