Rocket Languages is one of the more expensive language-learning apps on the market. But what do you get for the extra pennies that you’re spending?
In this review, we explore everything that Rocket Languages has to offer its users. From its interface to its learning method, right down to how it measures up next to its main competitors.
What is Rocket Languages?
Rocket Languages is a desktop and app-based learning platform that uses a traditional teaching approach to take you from beginner level to advanced in your chosen language. Using a thorough curriculum and step-by-step lessons, Rocket Languages will help you to develop skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
What can you do on Rocket Languages?
Rocket Languages breaks down each language course into three different difficulty levels. Within these levels are modules, and within these modules, there are lots of different lessons.
There are four types of lessons on Rocket Languages that cover speaking, listening, reading, and writing in fun and interactive ways.
In a heavily anticipated 2020 update, you'll now find a whole page dedicated to tracking your progress. Rocket Language uses a point system in the lessons to follow your progress and encourage you to beat your personal score daily.
As well as keeping a note of your learning streak, you'll also be able to compare your points on a leaderboard and a graph. A nifty way to take advantage of your competitive side and keep you coming back to learn every single day!
Interactive Audio Lessons
The interactive audio lessons sit at the core of the Rocket Languages learning platform. Each level features around 30 lessons, which equates to more than 60 hours of learning time.
Each lesson follows a similar structure. First, you’ll be asked to listen to an audio clip based on a specific topic. This will be between 15 and 40 minutes long and be in both your native tongue and your target language. Then, you’ll be given the translation for the topic, and asked to repeat the phrases out loud.
Below the audio lesson, the vocabulary and grammar is broken down into digestible chunks and a series of reinforcement tasks such as flashcards, games, and quizzes are provided.
Language and Cultural Lessons
On each level, you’ll also find an additional 60 hours of Language and Culture Lessons. These focus more on the grammar you need to know to really understand the language, by breaking down common phrases and keywords.
In these, you’ll also learn a little more about the culture which will give a deeper insight into the people behind the language.
There’s A LOT of text in these lessons, so if you’re more of a visual learner, you might find them a little lack-lustre. The information is really useful though, so it’s worth giving it a try.
If you’ve chosen to learn a language with a different writing system, you’ll also have a section dedicated to writing lessons. On Rocket Languages, this could be anything from Russian to Arabic, Japanese to Hindi.
In the Russian course, for example, Rocket Languages will take you through each letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, showing you how to master each twist and curve.
Writing lessons include a series of videos to help you learn new characters and some accompanying text. This part of Rocket Languages veers towards the self-teaching method, with not a lot of scope to interact with the platform itself.
Survival Kit Lessons
Lessons is probably a loose term for this section on Rocket Languages, as it's mainly self-taught.
This part of the platform pulls together vocabulary that’s related to one another. For example; phrases to use in restaurants, the weather, public transport, and days and dates.
This isn’t a great feature of the platform, and you’re probably better off using a platform like Memrise to practice your vocabulary instead.
The Travelogue on Rocket Languages is only available in certain languages. Currently, those languages are Russian, Italian, French and Spanish. It also has to be purchased as an add-on feature to your lifetime membership.
The Travelogue is a sort of intensive course for those who need a basic understanding of a language, which normally comes in handy just before a holiday.
The series follows a couple who are heading off on their holidays. You’ll follow them on their journey as they arrive at the airport, listening and learning useful phrases to use along the way. Everything from booking a taxi from the airport to navigating a city is covered.
What other features does Rocket Languages have?
Testing and Reinforcement
As you scroll through each lesson, you’ll find a series of testing and reinforcement tasks that are designed to help the knowledge you’ve just learnt stick a little better.
- FlashCards to help reinforce any new vocabulary from the lesson.
- Hear It! Say It! This helps develop your listening and speaking skills by listening to a word or phrase and then repeating it. Speech-recognition software records your voice and gives you a pronunciation score out of 100.
- Know It! To improve your translation skills from your native tongue into your chosen language by speaking the language out loud.
- Quiz. A series of multiple-choice questions related to the conversation you’ve listened to in the lesson.
- Write It! To advance both your listening and writing skills, this exercise has you listening to a word and then writing it down.
- Sort It! Improve your reading and understanding of a language by rearranging words into a comprehensive sentence.
- Draw It! If you're learning a language like Russian or Japanese that requires the knowledge of a completely new alphabet, this game will help you to master all of those tricky symbols.
At the end of each lesson, you'll also find an ‘Action Replay' button that will give you a helpful summary of the lesson. Another great way to reinforce everything that you've just learnt.
A great feature that works well most of the time is the voice recognition technology, which allows you to practice your pronunciation.
This works by giving users a score out of 100 depending on how well you’ve repeated the word. You can change the difficulty of this using the settings on the side panel.
This type of speech recognition technology has received mixed reviews, with lots of users reporting faulty scores. I gave it a go and it seemed okay, though not particularly helpful in telling you exactly where you’ve gone wrong with your pronunciation.
Advanced Learning Technique Articles
A handy feature for those who really want to get into learning a language, and doing it fast, are the Advanced Learning Technique articles. Each course has 25 of these, and they’ll equip you with plenty of tips and tricks to help you learn as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Premium users will gain access to round the clock support from a community of language teachers, native speakers, and fellow learners, who will be there to answer any questions that might crop up along the way.
What does Rocket Languages look like?
Rocket Languages can be used either on your desktop computer or as an app on your phone. Both interfaces have a very simple design and are relatively easy to navigate. A 2020 redesign of the dashboard has made it even easier to get to where you want to go on Rocket Languages.
When you log in, you’ll see your dashboard in front of you. The side menu on the left will allow you to flick between the different types of lessons, as well as access the Travelogue and Survival Kit.
In the top right hand corner, you'll also be able to navigate to your progress dashboard. Here you can track your points, and compare your progress to others completing the same course.
Who is Rocket Languages best for?
Rocket Languages is great for absolute beginners. It’ll take you from knowing absolutely nothing about a language to being pretty knowledgeable, as long as you are willing to invest your time, and money.
Rocket Languages does cater to more experienced language learners, though you’ll want to skip ahead to Level 2 or 3 depending on your expertise.
What languages can you learn on Rocket Languages?
You can use Rocket Languages to learn a variety of languages from all over the world, from Europe all the way to Japan.
Here’s the extent of their courses so far:
Languages with level 1-2-3
All other Languages
- Rocket Russian
- Rocket Portuguese
- Rocket Korean
- Rocket Inglés
- Rocket Hindi
- Rocket English
- Rocket Arabic
- Rocket American Sign Language
How much does Rocket Languages cost?
Theoretically speaking, each language level on Rocket Languages will set you back $149.95 for lifetime access. Buying levels 1 and 2 in a package will cost $299.90, and for a package including levels 1, 2, and 3 you'll pay $449.85.
That being said, Rocket Languages is ALWAYS offering up some kind of deal, so you'll almost never need to pay full price.
New members will normally receive early bird discounts and bundle packages.
You can also try the coupon code ‘ROCKETDEAL' at checkout, which, nine times out of ten will land you with a nice discount. As a last resort, give ‘BLACKFRIDAY' and see what that can get you.
Remember you can try out the platform for free before committing to your life-long membership.
You’ll also be given 60 days after you purchase a level to decide if you like it or not. If you do decide it’s not for you within this time, then you’ll get your money back, no questions asked.
What are the pros and cons of Rocket Languages?
- Simple interface that is easy to navigate from the offset.
- The life-time trial allows you to try out all three lessons before committing to paying.
- Very flexible with its learning to suit most students.
- Endless content for hours of learning.
- A one-off payment will give you access for life.
- There are plenty of opportunities to practice your speaking skills.
- An expensive initial payment.
- Possibly too much English used and a lack of language immersion.
- Content and exercises can get repetitive.
- Emails and offers galore to try and hook you in can get tiring.
- Quality of the courses does vary by language.
Are there any Rocket Languages alternatives?
There’s definitely plenty of competition on the market when it comes to the world of online learning.
Rocket Languages vs Rosetta Stone
Rocket Languages and Rosetta Stone share a similar approach to language learning: a methodical and structured program of varied lessons to guide your way to an advanced level. They also both sit in the higher price bracket for language platforms.
The main difference between the two platforms is that Rosetta Stone uses the immersion technique, whereas Rocket Languages teaches mainly in the native tongue.
You can check out our comprehensive review on Rosetta Stone to find out more information.
Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur
Pimsleur and Rocket Languages are very similar language learning platforms, offering comprehensive lessons from beginner level to advanced. While Pimsleur is quite a lot more expensive than Rocket Languages, the platform is much better at developing your speech as a learner.
We’ve taken a closer look at what Pimsleur offers you in this detailed review.
Rocket Languages vs Duolingo
Duolingo is quite different from Rocket Languages in that it offers up a far more fun, engaging and interactive way of learning a language. While it may not be as comprehensive and detailed as Rocket Languages, it does offer a good amount of free material to play with.
Both offer up quite different learning methods, and I’d probably recommend using the two side by side to complement each other.
Take a look at what Duolingo can offer you in terms of language learning in this review.
Rocket Languages vs LanguagePod101
LanguagePod101 and Language Class101 offers up a similar platform to Rocket Languages in that they focus primarily on audio and visual learning.
The main difference between the two platforms is the pricing. While Pod101 requires a monthly subscription, Rocket Languages asks for just a one-time payment.
Pod101 is also a lot more affordable, though this is understandable as the quality isn't quite as good as Rocket Languages.
Our final thoughts on Rocket Languages
There’s no doubt that Rocket Languages is one of the most comprehensive online learning platforms available.
If you can look past the sizeable (but one-time) price tag, then you’ll have the materials on your hands to gain some fluency in your language of choice. Plus, it means that if you do fall off the bandwagon for a few months, you won’t have to pay extra to start learning again.
If you are someone that gets bored easily, we’d probably recommend going for something a little more interesting like Uncovered, as the content on Rocket languages can get repetitive. But, if you’re someone who enjoys the structured learning approach, this could be a great option for you!
Languages with level 1-2-3
All other Languages