• Focuses on providing a one-to-one tutoring experience
• Sleek and easy to use interface
• Available for both PC and Mac
• Doesn't include as many word tools as other language programs
• Unsuitable for teaching young children
Nicely designed one-to-one tutoring experience, more appropriate vocabulary selection and an easy to use interface placed Fluenz second on our list of top language Italian software programs.
The brainchild of Harvard, Cornell, and University of Chicago graduates - Fluenz is a relative newcomer on the market. That being said, the designers of Fluenz have managed to identify and improve on the weaknesses of other more established software titles. For example, the vocabulary lessons are designed to use words that are common in modern language rather than learning vocabulary that you would never need when conversing with locals, and Fluenz delivers a rewarding one-to-one tutor experience. These factors combined with an easy to use interface placed Fluenz at number two (our Silver award) for our list of best Italian language software.
The Fluenz technology is geared towards replicating the essence of the classroom onto your computer. The clever use of the private video tutor which accompanies every lesson, gives students the ultimate in one-to-one experience without having to leave their homes. We like how Fluenz combines videos with interactive activities such as voice recording, allowing you to compare your speech with native language speakers.
Fluenz also broke step with their competition by making their vocabulary lessons more practical than traditional. Rather than learn useless words, the lessons are geared more towards everyday modern language with terms such as 'mobile phone'. However, this decision isn't without its downside because the software's vocabulary is noticeably lighter than the competition and while we applaud the more practical vocabulary lessons, Fluenz might want to consider adding more words to give users a broader language base.
Ease of use
The design of Fluenz was based on three principles: the belief that great teachers significantly improve student success when learning a second language; that using English to help you learn a new language can significantly improve comprehension speed and focusing on relevant vocabulary and conversational structure is not only the best, but also the most practical way to learn a new language.
Overall, Fluenz does deliver on its core beliefs. The software is very well designed and easy to use, being geared towards English speaking teens and adults. Most software, such as Rosetta Stone, teach through methods that are easy to understand for children through association and 'feel', but Fluenz relies heavily on using English as a basis of explanation for how Italian works, making it far easier to comprehend for older students. However, it wouldn't be suitable for younger children.
Help & support
Fluenz offers online user guides, email and toll free telephone support as well as an online form to help with any software issues or questions you may have.
Though certainly not as sophisticated as our Gold award winner, Tell Me More Italian, Fluenz delivers a highly streamlined, adult user experience with an interactive virtual teacher. We feel this makes it a solid choice for teens and adults learning a new language. We hope that future editions will contain a broader vocabulary base.
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