Nate  Reyher

Nate Reyher

Rocket Chinese — La Junta, CO

Overall
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On the plus side, the website is attractive and functions well. The interactive lessons are well-structured and nicely done. I appreciate that they make continued improvements, such as the addition of Write It in the testing sections. Also appreciate that both sound and text are downloadable and the website allows you to listen to only the parts of the lessons you want. I haven't taken advantage of any "social" features like the Forum but I appreciate that Rocket tries to foster a community. The "points" system is an interesting idea.

On the downside, I think there's too much repetition of non-essential vocabulary in the testing sections (I really don't think lesson or unit are words to keep hammering me with). I also think built-in flashcards linked to My Vocabulary would be nice or perhaps automated flashcards for each section. It's also not clear the sequencing of the lessons. This is partially intentional but you'll find yourself tested on material you haven't seen if you don't move across all the lesson types. That said, I've given feedback to the team on many points and they've nearly always been responsive and eager to help and take feedback.

I'll go a bit further, though - there are pieces of the instruction that border on the absurd. Take the "food" section of the Survival Kit. I've been on the ground in China over three months. If you think Nutella, hamburger, mashed potatoes and white wine should be on your list of core food vocab, you're sorely, sorely mistaken. If you're in a restaurant that serves those in China, you're already reading from an English menu. Pat yourself on the back for going all the way to China for the stellar burgers ;)

On balance, it's a solid product and a good technical platform. There are ways it could be improved and my interactions with customer service indicate Rocket intends to keep improving.