Rosetta Stone TOTALe is the part of Rosetta Stone that offers more than just software for learning a language. Rosetta Stone TOTALe (pronounced Toe-Tally) is in its fourth iteration. When we visited this learn English online site, we were impressed by its quality and professionalism.; Rosetta Stone has a good reputation, and Rosetta Stone TOTALe has gotten better over time. The online version of the program comes with a set of regular Rosetta Stone software, including a headset for listening and recording your own voice. The online aspects of the program cost extra, but the included communication options are worth it if you hope to speak conversational English by the end of the course.
TOTALe’s best features are speech-recognition software, use of the immersion method to introduce new words and grammar concepts, games that match lesson material and opportunities to interact with other English learners online with the help of a tutor who speaks English as his or her native language.
Learning by immersion is part of Rosetta Stone TOTALe from the beginning. Your first lesson begins by letting you listen to English words and phrases and having you match those words to pictures. You’ll learn the basics such as gender differences and everyday activities such as eating, drinking, running and swimming. With each correct match, you get the positive feedback of a beautiful harp strum. For wrong answers, you get a buzzer sound and a big, red X. Fortunately, all you have to do to get back on track is try again.
After you’ve learned to hear and understand simple vocabulary, you repeat the phrases into the microphone on your headset. Then, remarkable speech-recognition technology will show you which words you are pronouncing properly and which need more practice. This part of TOTALe is called Rosetta Studio.
Along the way, you’ll earn stamps that give you access to social interaction, stories and games. For example, partial completion of the first lesson gave us enough credit for two games and a story. This is a new feature to TOTALe, and one that we welcome enthusiastically. You can play games solo, with a partner or in Simbio mode where you work with someone who’s learning your native language and vice versa. Unfortunately, you can’t break out of this system to customize your learning. For example, you have to complete the listening activities even if you don’t need them. This could mean wasting your time and effort, and is a major limitation of this English-learning program.
An addition to the fourth version of Rosetta Stone’s TOTALe is spoken social interaction. You can do this one on one with a tutor in Studio Coach mode. Alternatively, as you earn stamps during the lessons, you can talk with other students in the live online portal. This feature is called Rosetta World, and it includes oversight from a native English speaker.
Rosetta Stone’s method appears to focus on lower-level students, since you don’t need to know any English to begin. The lesson software is available for speakers of seven different languages. These are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, Italian and, of course, English. As your English proficiency improves, we strongly recommend finding opportunities to talk with other English speakers in person. This will help you practice your skills by expressing yourself and responding to others quickly. If you are looking for specific proficiency in areas such as business, we recommend practicing in those environments as much as possible.
New mobile applications are also sure to enhance Rosetta Stone’s English-teaching service. These include applications for Apple mobile devices that go along with companion CDs that contain MP3 files of lesson materials.
Despite its extensive curriculum, Rosetta Stone is missing some of the features we looked for in English-learning web services. Tutors, for example, aren’t certified beyond being native speakers. TOTALe also lacks a placement test, so you might not know where to begin. Furthermore, you can’t print flashcards or worksheets to take with you while you’re away from a computer.
Rosetta Stone TOTALe has made the foray into online learning and is making continuous improvements to its language-learning services. TOTALe is a worthy competitor among learn-English websites.