German immersion software gives you a similar experience to the classroom, but there’s no teacher to tell you what to do and no classmates to practice with.
Learning this way requires a lot of self-motivation, discipline and diligence to work through each unit of the course in order. If you skip around, you may miss out on crucial building blocks needed later on.
Although it can be difficult, try to set aside some time each day to go through the course and review what you’ve learned. A little bit every day is better than huge chunks of time with large gaps in between.
Ideally, you should find a quiet place where you can study without distractions like Facebook or Youtube. There are a number of techniques you can use like making flashcards for vocabulary, either using paper or electronically, having a journal you can jot things down in—writing will help make it stick. If you’re not too embarrassed, try to study out loud, as it will help your pronunciation a whole lot.
To compensate for the lack of classmates, look for an online community that uses the same software as you to ask questions and for feedback. This way you’ll be able to get the support you need through your German learning journey. Who knows, you might even make some good friends! For the lack of a teacher, there are many places to find online tutors, or even native speakers who wouldn’t mind doing a language exchange. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Most importantly, don’t forget about the resources you already have! It can be so easy to get wrapped up in a shiny new course, but just like a balanced diet, a well-rounded set of resources gives your brain everything it needs to learn. It means you have extra opportunities to practice while putting things into context.
There are a number of useful apps that help with specific skills, while reading German blogs and novels, watching movies, listening to music and podcasts and reading novels are an enjoyable way to see what you’ve learned “out in the wild.” The possibilities are endless!
The Best Modern German Software to Immerse You in the Language
Price range: $179 for a 24-month subscription or a CD-ROM set.
Format: CD-ROM, downloadable software and an app (iOS and Android)
Best For: Visual learners
Free Trial? Only an online demo as to how things work
This program is great for visual learners as Rosetta Stone mimics the natural language learning process of a child, with many visual associations and vocal repetitions of words and phrases.
For example, a picture of a woman will be coupled with the word Frau. New vocabulary is linked together with scenes, and you’ll soon make connections between the sights and sounds. Eventually, you’ll be able to look at an object and just know the German word for it. The two will be irretrievably bound in your mind—just like when you were a child learning your first language!
There are also several other features that might make Rosetta Stone the right choice for you. They have a Live Tutoring service, where a tutor guides you through activities that inspire conversation, as well as a strong community of language learners that communicate through online forums. A good place to get support and make new friends!
$15/month for the Basic plan
$30/month for the Plus plan
Format: Online and in an iOS app (Android coming soon)
Best For: Learning with authentic real-world material
Free Trial? 15 days
FluentU has a fantastic, flexible and fun German immersion program to help you sharpen your skills. You learn German through real-world videos—authentic and practical sources such as movie trailers, news and music videos. These are full of enriching cultural information to help you contextualize what you’re learning.
Each video is captioned, which helps with reading fluency, and vocabulary definitions—also example sentences are just a click away! A unique ‘learn mode’ further guides your learning by turning videos into lessons, integrating pictures, videos and examples into flashcards and exercises, while asking questions based on what you already know.
This framework helps to propel you on your journey, improving your functional skills while having fun.
You’re the one in charge. Set your own pace. Learn what you want to learn. FluentU is accessible for any German learner, wherever you are in your journey. You can use it online at FluentU’s website or with the FluentU app.
$575 for the entire software course or $150 for each level
$559 for the entire audio course or $119.95 for each level
Format: Downloadable software and MP3s
Best For: People who want to focus on listening and speaking
Free Trial? One free lesson
The Pimsleur Method was developed about 50 years ago, renowned for both its efficiency and simplicity.
Each lesson is 30 minutes long and primarily audio-based, so very easy to slot into your everyday life. You’re presented with native speakers (both men and women) either saying a sentence or having a discussion.
They offer crisp enunciation and syllabic breakdowns—all you have to do is repeat. It focuses on core vocabulary and grammatical points via spaced repetition—that is, words are presented repeatedly, but further and further apart so that they’re committed easily to memory.
For those of you that enjoy a variety of input, Pimsleur offers software that also gives visual and textual input, and also offers supplementary reading material to complement their audio approach.
Pimsleur allows you to hit the ground running by speaking from day one. Keep up with it consistently and you’ll be talking like a pro with native speakers in no time!
$99.95 for level 1
$249.90 for levels 1 and 2
$259.90 for levels 1,2 and 3
Format: Online, CD-ROM and an app
Best For: Those who enjoy a more traditional, module-based approach
Free Trial? 4 hours of lessons
Rocket German is created for language learners by language learners, to teach you how to read, speak and understand as quickly and fully as possible. There’s a nice balance of lessons—both free and premium to try and give you the best bang for your buck. The lessons run the spectrum from beginner to advanced, so there’s something for everyone, no matter where they are.
When you log in, you’ll be presented with a personalized dashboard that will guide you through the diverse cultural and audio lessons. These are delivered with supplementary text, and progressing through content will turbo-charge your learning! There’s also a pronunciation tool that will hone your skills by comparing your speaking to that of a native speaker.
Additionally, there’s a special “Survival Kit” module that focuses on the essential phrases for when you go traveling. You won’t want to go to Germany without checking this one out!