Technology should make our lives easier
• Thousands of different exercises
• Speech recognition software helps your pronunciation
• Easy to navigate
• Comprehensive grammar, vocabulary and listening practice
• Can be difficult for complete beginners
• Complicated structure
Tell Me More French is an all-in-one package designed to give you a rounded language-learning experience. Tell Me More offers listening, writing, reading and speaking (via speech recognition software) exercises to progress your fluency in French.
The Tell Me More French experience is based on a Communicative Approach methodology, which makes use of repetition and interaction to teach French quickly and enjoyably. Tell Me More started in 1987 and it is one of the most established language-learning software companies in the market. Tell Me More was the first to include speech recognition technology within its learning package, and this tool is one of the best aspects of the Tell Me More software. What else makes Tell Me More stand out? We looked at the software to rate Tell Me More’s best features for learning French.
Once you’re at the welcome page you enter a user name and a password and are greeted with a guided tour to take you through the software.
Tell Me More starts you off with a test to see where you are in terms of French ability. The test is quite long but you don’t have to take it if you already have an idea what level you are at. There are also some useful questions concerning your goals – business, communication, personal enrichment etc. After the test and the questions you are positioned at one level out of a possible 10, and you have two consecutive levels to work through. The goals help focus your learning on the areas that are best suited to you.
Your course is organized into lessons. Each main lesson is comprised of around 100 tasks and the list of tasks is displayed on the first page – you can go back to this page if you want to pick a specific exercise to complete. When you’re going through the lesson in order you’ll progress through the whole range of tasks, from listening exercises to pronunciation and grammar word games. Dictation exercises require you to type what you hear into the box, and vocabulary recognition tests come in a variety of formats like word searches.
If you get stuck, you can hover over a word in the exercise and a pop-up box tells you the meaning. There is a section explaining the relevant grammar and sentence structure topics.
There is a weekly Euro News lesson including a video based on current events and a variety of learning exercises. Other mini-lessons focus on culture and everyday life in France, and you also get the chance to role-play the part of an actor in a TV series. All of these features help broaden your language learning experience and stop you getting bored.
One of the best tools in the entire package is the speech recognition software that helps you improve your pronunciation. As you listen to native speakers the sound wave pattern appears on the screen and you must closely match the pattern to be assigned a good score. As you continue to practice you continue to refine your pronunciation based on scores and pattern-matching. Tell Me More doesn’t include a microphone in the package so you need a working one of your own.
Another good feature is the integration with your MP3 player so you can learn on-the-go. It would be good to have the chance to print out or save grammar lessons in PDF form so you can look at them when you’re not logged onto the computer.
The Tell Me More package has a useful and effective curriculum that is ordered in a logical way, with plenty of choice. While Tell Me More isn’t the most dynamic way of learning, and the program is a little like a school lesson, it is serious and focused and with concentration you can make fast progress.
You can follow the lessons through in order, skip exercises and go back to them later, or randomly pick an exercise from the entire course. The summary page helps you track your French progress. The My Statistics page shows you where you are doing well and how you are progressing towards your goals. You can take progress tests and quizzes that assess your ability as you go through the program.
If you start at a level up from complete beginner the program does sometimes assume knowledge of certain grammatical structures and words and you need to learn these from scratch as you go along. Lessons can be quite difficult if you are a beginner heading into intermediate level. Often, the descriptions of a grammar rule are difficult to understand.
It can be a little difficult to grasp the system when you first start because there are numerous features and methods for exploring the content. Once you’ve got the hang of the program you’ll find you can progress quickly and you’ll see results if you keep practicing. Within the main lesson, there are instructions telling you how to complete the exercise as many are not self-explanatory.
The Tell Me More interface is clean and clear with muted colors and uncluttered pages.
Click on the Help button at various points in the course to get extra help. You can also chat with an online adviser. The Tell Me More advisers are available all day and night.
Tell Me More French is a complete learning tool that suits many different learning styles. The package is expensive but it completely and comprehensively covers all the bases.
The seven-day free trial is a good option for trying out the package before you commit to paying. You have full access to all the lessons and features and you don’t need to give credit card details.
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