NOTE: This review describes the content that you will find in the Rocket French program. For more on the way it is delivered and taught see my Review of the Rocket French Learning Lounge.
What is Rocket French ?
Rocket French is a French learning course. Unlike many other French learning products, it can be downloaded over the Internet. It took me about 30 minutes to download it with a broadband connection. The Rocket French site has a provision for dial-up Internet but I believe this would take longer to download. (There is also a provision to buy the course as a hardcopy but it is considerably more expensive than the downloaded version)
What level is Rocket French ?
The courses caters for people new to learning French. It aims to take beginners, through to a conversational level of the French language. By conversational, I’d say be able to ask questions and have a good understanding of the answer. You could also have fairly simple conversations expressing your thoughts and feelings. To really be a confident speaker you would have to get more vocabulary under your belt and speak to people without fear or embarrassment.
How does it teach French ?
The course comprises 45 lessons.
The first 25 lessons deal with the basics of the French language
The next 10 lessons are intermediate level and build on the technical aspects of the language.
The last 10 lessons are practical and feature real life conversations. The student can put the previous 35 lessons into practice in these lessons.
Each lesson can take between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on the skill level of the student and the knowledge of the topic being covered.
How is a lesson taught ?
The topics of the lesson are introduced along with any new French words. The student will read through the introduction. Any French words can be clicked on and the audio for the word will be heard. The audio takes the following format : first, the English equivalent is spoken, then the French. Then there is a pause and the French is spoken again. This gives the student a chance to speak the French and practice what he/she is learning.
More examples will be given of the topic and examples of how it is used.
A variety of written and multiple choice type exercises end the lesson.
The Random button can be pushed at any time and a French sentence or word from the current lesson will be spoken. This can allow the student to practice conversation and comprehension for this particular lesson.
Any other teaching methods used ?
There are three games that are used to teach :
Megavocab – vocabulary recognition, match one of 6 pictures to a word picked at random by the software
Megaverbs – verb conjugation, conjugate a verb in the correct person and tense. There are 20 questions within each game and the software can select any verbs it has in the system.
MegaAudio – comprehension, listen to audio of a word or sentence and guess which of the 4 pictures represent the audio.
These games are useful to consolidate the knowledge learned in the lessons or as a warm up exercise before the lessons begin.
Flash cards are provided :
310 beginner flash cards
216 advanced flash cards
What is good about the course ?
The course builds from beginner to advanced. It will give the student a complete grasp of the French Language at the end of the course.
The verb conjugation games is useful, as learning the forms of the verbs is potentially very tedious and boring. The game can alleviate this boredom.
Random button is good for adding a bit of spontaneity to the lesson. This is useful if you have done the lesson more than once and need to freshen it up a little.
What is bad about the course ?
The pictures in the megavocab are a bit misleading at times which makes guessing the correct words difficult.
You can only improve your pronunciation by listening and repeating the audio, no feedback is given by the software as to how your accent sounds.
Any bonuses ?
Once you have bought the course, you will be sent the Rocket French newsletter every fortnight. The newsletter has a new lesson in each issue.
I think the content and scope of the Rocket French course represents good value. Although it will take some work for a new student to learn French, Rocket French can certainly make this effort easier.
Go to the Rocket French website for more details and testimonials.