Your feedback has resonated with us loud and clear. While for the majority of people the 2016 Edition works fine, for a significant few the experience hasn't been great and for that I apologize. Some people have asked how it got to this stage when the old system worked well for them, for those people in particular I owe you an explanation.
Here's what we should have told you
Rocket Languages started over 10 years ago. A LOT has changed since the birth of Rocket Languages, there were no smartphones, tablets or apps, in fact even Youtube and Facebook didn't exist until after the first Rocket Languages courses were online.
This means that the code-base that all of our courses were built on originated over a decade ago and over that time we went from audio files and pdfs to all of the functionality that was present in the old version of Rocket Languages. "Spaghetti junction" is what some of our developers liked to call it!
The truth is that our mission has always been to strive to produce the best online language learning courses in the world. This has meant prioritizing the way the courses function from an e-learning perspective, sometimes at the expense of the long term health of the code structure.
What pushed us to fast-track a solution?
You may not be aware that the old Rocket Record was based on Adobe Flash technology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash). Up to the early 2000's Adobe Flash was used in around 50% of sites, mainly for any web based interactivity (like Rocket Record). Unfortunately, as time went on, it became more obvious that Flash had/has a lot of security vulnerabilities, so much so that Firefox and Google Chrome actually blocked Flash from working for a few days in July 2015.
Of course this meant that none of our courses worked while that block was in place.
While we were already working on the 2016 Edition at that stage, it made us realize that we had to fast-track the process as there was no way of knowing whether (or when) the browser companies would do the same thing in the future.
We probably reacted a little too quickly to the perceived threat, and even though we had a couple of months of Alpha and Beta testing it now transpires that it wasn't enough to catch everything that could go wrong.
The best alternative
The best alternative to Flash is HTML5, which is becoming the web standard for rich media applications like Rocket Languages. The great thing about HTML5 is the ability to use speech to text technology, which means that you get real feedback on your pronunciation.
While currently this is only available in the Chrome browser, I know from personal experience that it really helps pronunciation. It’s worth noting that a native speaker would get 100% on Rocket Record if their microphone is set up properly.
Most other browsers are actively working towards incorporating this technology.
We need your input to move forward
So, from here we need to look forward and work through all of the issues that are facing members. As we have been receiving feedback from a few quarters and I would like to take this opportunity to establish one portal for all feedback. This way we can systematically go through the issues and come up with a coherent plan to fix them.
If you are still facing issues with any aspect of your course then please detail the following if it is applicable;
- The browser(s) you are using, eg Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc
- Your operating system, eg Windows 7, Linux etc
- Your microphone set up, eg headset vs built in mic
- Any useful screenshots
- Any other useful and specific information to help us get it sorted
We will collate the issues and see what similarities there are so we can best prioritize the fixes/changes.
Please be patient as this process may take a few days, even though we are working around the clock to improve things!
Above all, please remember this!
The last thing we want to do is annoy and frustrate our members. Why? Because that goes directly against our company philosophy of providing the best online language learning courses in the world, and of course it makes no business sense.
Our sole purpose is to provide our members with courses that truly help them speak and understand a new language faster than other comparable means.
We have always known that we can't do this without consulting with our members so please, if you are still having issues let us know.