How satisfied are you with Rocket?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend it to a friend?
How was the customer service?
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It's hard to accurately review Rocket Language Japanese, since the levels are so different in quality, but after 2+ years I believe that I can give you a very accurate impression of the first 2 levels, I hope, unless major changes has been made in 2019-2020 (I still haven't made it past level 2, and I haven't used the course since December 2019).
Level 1 is AMAZING! 5 stars! I couldn't recommend it more!
True story: after doing the first section, it helped me land a job in Japan!
I had to do an interview in Japanese via Skype (I needed conversational Japanese for the position), and several of the Q&A was straight of Rocket Languages Japanese Level 1!! I honestly felt that I only had basic Japanese, but the interviewer considered my level to be conversational Japanese and I landed the position!
Level 2 is such a disappointment! The conversations are wayyyy to fast compared to Level 1, and the target language is not anywhere near as useful for everyday living in Japan, I find. Keigo should be taught at a much later stage, and instead it would be much more useful to teach colloquial Japanese that you can actually use with your friends! When you use the masu form that is mainly used in the course, your friends will say: "Yeah...
Response from Rocket Languages: Hi Snowah - We are in fact starting on a complete revamp of Rocket Japanese very shortly! All new lessons will be available to existing members for free.
German Level 1 was great - detailed and thorough, moving at a good pace. I have just started Level 2, and it is a different thing entirely, and unfortunately not at all good. It seems to have been botched together from a previous, separate attempt at a course (the numbered Audio lessons are completely different in the lesson plan and in the audio track), and it doesn’t follow on from Level 1 in any meaningful way (there’s repetition of stuff we’ve already covered).
Most disappointing is a dramatic drop in quality of the Language lessons. The grammar explanations are much shorter, and leave gaps and questions unanswered. The lessons on Dative and Genitive are terrible - cursory explanations and patchy examples. Example sentences either display grammatical features which go wholly unexplained in the text; or fail to display the relevant grammar at all. Poorly thought out, and a frustrating contrast to the excellent Level 1.
Response from Rocket Languages: Hi Tim - At the start of 2020 we revamped all of Rocket Germans Level 1 Language & Culture lessons (the ones you speak highly of!), and were it not for the pandemic we would have also released fully updated Interactive Audio lessons for Level 1 as well (these are probably a month or so away now). Level 2 is going to be revamped in the style of Level 1 soon.
It is such a shame. Rocket has the potential to be really good, but lack of attention to detail and poor explanations mean that it fails to reach its potential.
I have almost finished my Rocket Korean course. I have benefited from it, but only because I have a Korean wife, who has been able to explain things that Rocket have left vague, not explained well or just got plain wrong. First, the good things. The reinforcement process (Flashcards, oral repetition and so on) is excellent and has helped things to stick in my mind. The voice recognition software is also pretty good. It is weak on short words of one or two syllables, but in general works well. The audio conversations and reinforcement within them are also decent. There are three big problems with Rocket, however. Firstly, it’s explanations of grammar are not very clear and sometimes contain errors. Secondly it illustrates concepts with sentences that are far too complex and contain sections which are not explained. This is incredibly frustrating, because it means that you end up rote learning a lot of phrases rather than learning how to construct your own sentences. Finally the reference material and structure is very weak.
Response from Rocket Languages: Hi John - Thanks for the detailed feedback. We have recently added in subtitles to the Rocket Korean Interactive Audio course. That should help with finding the correct position. We are also looking at adding in "bookmarks" so that certain points can be highlighted for future reference. We will email you to find out more about some of your other points!
I think there is a lot of hard work that has been put into these products, but there is just way to much English. I want to hear introductions my name is , i am your host all in my target language from lesson 1 then 100 lessons in it is all so natural....here I tested level 2 but started with so much English. We need to be flooded with our target language and get the explanations later.
Been doing the Rocket German for about 3 months. So far, I've enjoyed it for the most part and am looking forward to getting into the second Level. My one complaint/suggestion is that I find the written lessons to be poorly set up. The focus looks like it is supposed to be on grammar in many lessons, yet they are taught with 20+ new vocabulary words in many of them. So instead of focusing on the new grammar rules, you get lost trying to figure out what all of the new vocabulary is. Would suggest using only words already known when first introducing a grammar lesson so that the focus is kept on the grammar and not diverted to the new words. I've come out of several of the written lessons with no more knowledge of the grammar rules then when I went in because 90% of the examples were with new vocabulary. Audio lessons are great though, and overall I still think there are many positives. Looking forward to the updated level one German whenever it is due out.
Response from Rocket Languages: Hi Brian - It's a balancing act to know when new vocabulary should be introduced, as everyone is different in how they learn. Our approach has been to deliver common words and important terminology in our lessons, so that over time the essential vocabulary you need is built up.
I am about ready to give up on you. I was going to do another lesson tonight, but when i saw my percentage completion on Modual 1 and 2 was at 93% instead of the 100% that was there this morning. How do you expect anyone to complete anything if you keep adding new, and in my case, unnecessary, lessons to the areas already completed?
Response from Rocket Languages: Hi Richard - Thanks for submitting a review. As part of our annual review of our courses, sometimes we make improvements to the lessons. Unfortunately, the changes made yesterday impacted on your percentage complete as we added in some new phrases and we improved a few of the quiz questions in some of the Module 1 lessons. So, sorry about that, but it is part of our continuous improvement strategy!
TL:DR -These courses are worth bothering with and a fair deal but don't expect perfection or a miracles.
This was sold to me (by external reviews) as being better than Rosetta stone and the current market leader in comprehensive language learning for self study, and yeah it is better and may be the best all around, but its still far from perfect. There are other products that are distinctly better for certain aspects of Japanese study, but this one is a good all-rounder.
It is very much like a by the book language study course that you would get in a generic language school.
Its not ground breaking, but its very solid and should successfully teach any diligent student some extent of their target language.
Given that you get hundreds of hours of lessons that you can do at your own pace I think the price is great value but I can't quite give 5 stars because there are some flaws in the product and service.
Unlike many free apps you aren't limited to 5 or 10 mins per day which means that the system can take its time to teach you slowly and methodically, and that if you have a lot of free time (and almost everybody does at the time of writing mid-April 2020) then you can do an hour or more everyday.
Response from Rocket Languages: Hi Sean - Thanks for submitting a review. Some interesting observations in there! I thought that I would comment on a couple of things;
This year Rocket Japanese is scheduled to have a total review of the course content. We realize that there are some issues and are moving to address those.
With regards the romanization toggle; this seems to be working. Can you please provide screenshots to customer support of where it doesn't seem to be working?
There was an issue with the voice recognition difficulty in that you had to refresh the page for the change to take effect. That has now been rectified, so it should just work.
And we will look into the review system as well. In fact we are re-factoring the entire members area into a new code base, so it's timely to look at some aspects that haven't been looked at for a while. The new version is due out later in the year.
I am using Rocket Italian as a review to the Italian I studied "Molti anni fa" in college so that I can be more fluent and approachable when I travel. I like the pace and the ability to skip around. However, the American accent of Alex is distracting and there is too much spoken English. I can see if a beginner is trying to get traction it might be okay. I am looking forward to moving up into the later levels. Overall, hearing so much English and the English accent is distracting. There are also some grammar errors in the translations along the way. For the price, I would expect more flawless execution. However overall, I like the conversational approach and the ability to hop around to get what I need to progress.
Some days it is good, other days voice and speech recognition is plain atrocious and frustrating. Whole phrases 'not heard', words (or numbers) plucked out of nowhere that bear no resemblance to what was said. And this on a high speed internet connection. That wouldn't be half as frustrating come each time with a useless pop-up on what to do. Will I keep using it - yes. Can it be useful - yes. Does its voice recognition engine need to be improved - YES.