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I've been wanting to learn Spanish for many months now but all of the free ways to do it just were not working for me. After hearing some good things about the infamous Rosetta Stone, I decided to look into that. However, that idea was thrown violently out the window when I saw the £479 price tag on Amazon. After a bit more searching, I came across Instant Immersion Spanish. The packaging stated that it was "As effective as RosettaStone for a fraction of the cost!". Unfortunately, only the "fraction of the cost" part is true, for the "as effective" definitely is not.
I was very excited when Instant Immersion Spanish finally arrived in the mail. The packaging looks very professional and the back of the box states all the reasons why Instant Immersion is superior to both Rosetta Stone and Berlitz (another major language learning software which I will mention later in this review). After seeing all of the advantages, I was naturally very excited to try out Instant Immersion.
Installation of the software was a breeze for me. I just popped in the first CD and it installed very quickly and painlessly. I will also note that just in case you were wondering, the CD is required to be in the computer to use it, so even after installation you must make sure you've got the CDs. This is annoying, but it's hardly different from much other software so I can't really complain.
Unfortunately, Instant Immersion starts to seriously lose some points in the installation section though, for I soon found that EVERY TIME you insert a new CD you must install that CD too. Since I already knew a little bit of Spanish prior to purchasing this product, I soon found the first CD to be rather ineffective as I already knew pretty much everything on it. So I popped in Level 1 Lesson 2, and found that I needed to install that too! Just to be sure this wasn't just some crazy bug or whatever, I tried out Level 2 Lesson 1. Another installation. Let me tell you, it's a big pain. Imagine purchasing Microsoft Office (the whole package) and having to spend 10-20 minutes installing Word, then doing the same for Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, etc. That's what this was like. Time-consuming.
This software is far from effective as effective as Rosetta Stone. First of all, it has a very unprofessional and disorganized manner of teaching you. There is no way of tracking your progress. The pictures they use to represent actions or objects are unclear and confusing. For example, when I think of "thank you very much", I don't picture two poorly drawn hands shaking. And that's not all, a bunch of their pictures are worthless in assisting you.
Another very frustrating aspect of this software is that it doesn't have any way of helping you with words or phrases you are having trouble with. The best way I can give an example of this is the "Berlitz" language learning software, which I purchased soon after I realized what a piece of crap Instant Immersion was. With Berlitz, when you get a question wrong, it gives you the correct answer, and then another question, and then the one after that they give you the same question you got wrong a second time. If you get it correct this time, they will ask you another question, and then come back to that same one you got wrong AGAIN. They do this again and again so it and you learn the phrase easier and more naturally through repetition. With Instant Immersion, a wrong question means NOTHING. It simply moves on, leaving you to struggle to learn the words. It is insanely frustrating, it's almost like the software is working AGAINST you. I really have no idea how anyone uses this to help them, it made me angry after a couple of minutes of sitting at it.
.:~iPod and MP3 Lesson~:.
Instant Immersion also sports a lesson that you can put on your iPod or MP3 player. I only really used it once but I have to give them credit for it, it worked pretty good. It's certainly better than their computer software, probably because I didn't have to look at confusing pictures that look like they were made by kids in kindergarten (just kidding, that would be an insult to the kids as I'm sure they can draw much better pictures than the ones Instant Immersion uses.) Seriously, I don't understand why Instant Immersion didn't just try to make their software as effective as their portable lesson, they would probably much more successful. As it is, the portable lesson is what keeps them from getting a one star review.
I would certainly not recommend this software to you if you are looking to learn Spanish quickly and easily. In fact, I wouldn't recommend any language learning software from Instant Immersion, for I read reviews on their Italian learning software and they all said pretty much what I have said here, meaning it's useless. I assume they simply have not tried out their own product or they would know how ineffective it is.
So what do I recommend for learning Spanish? Well first, if you could get in on a local class maybe at a community college or something, that would probably be the best thing for you. If that is not an option for you, then the next best thing would be to go for Rosetta Stone. I have some friends that used it to learn French and said it was very quick and easy, and worth the money. If that still isn't an option for you (remember, Rosetta Stone costs almost £500) then I suggest you take the same path I did. I picked up Berlitz Spanish Premier for only around £10, so it's even cheaper than Instant Immersion. I am very happy with Berlitz and it is much better than this software, and I will be leaving a very nice review on it sometimes soon here on DooYoo. In the meantime, I suggest you stay away from software made by this company, I wouldn't want you to become as frustrated as I am.