Languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, American Sign Language; English courses for speakers of Spanish and Japanese.
Format: online learning with audio instructions, exercises, games, etc.
Price: $90 for level 1, $390 for all 3 levels.
The primary reason I write about Rocket Languages is that when creating this website, I read a lot of reviews about language programs. In those reviews, I was surprised to see that many people wrote about Rocket Languages and most praised it. In fact, a Google search for “Rocket Languages review” returns 140,000 results, while a search for “Michel Thomas review” or “Pimsleur review” returns only around 10,000 results.
143,000 results for “Rocket Languages Review”
I thought that was weird because I did not see any experienced/ effective learner who talked about the program.
So I did some searches and find the reason is that Rocket Languages has a commission of 75% for people who advertise it. That is unusually high, most companies pay only 4% or 5%, few pay 15%. Imagine a customer click on a link in a Rocket Languages review and then pays $100 for a course, the Rocket company will pay for the review author about $65 (after tax, transaction fee, etc)!
(This is a screenshot I took from Rocket’s website in 2014)
Rocket Languages gives its affiliates an unusual high commission rate: 75%
The commission drives people to be dishonest when writing the review. They only want the money from the readers. (There are still some people who are honest when writing about Rocket Languages and I really appreciate their work)
So please be careful when reading those reviews about Rocket Languages.
My experience with Rocket Languages
I tried Rocket for a couple of days (using a trial account).
Rocket Languages has a simple and clear structure of teaching. All learning activities in a lesson are centered on the audio instruction. In the audio, a dialogue in the target language is introduced first then the instructors will explain the language used. The audio is followed by exercises and games which intend to reinforce what you have learned in the audio. There are also lessons about the culture and grammar.
I see that Rocket Languages has a well-designed website. The structures of their lessons are clear. However, there is a lot of English and not so much target language voice in the audio. Their instructing method is not something special and patented like those unique methods used in Pimsleur, Michel Thomas or Duolingo. I am not sure if we can retain the phrases taught and use them in conversations.
About the overall quality of the teaching, I cannot judge because I only have access to the first couple of lessons.
In addition, I had to register a trial account with my email address. Since that day, I received numerous emails from them. Even when I unsubscribed, they still sent me spam emails which invite me to buy the course.
Experienced learners’ opinion about the program
How-to-learn-any-language.com is the most trusted forum on language learning methods. I usually browse this site to look for reviews about language programs. I don’t see much interest from the forum members about this program.
For instance, a thread asked “What is your favorite language program?” In the replies, there are only 4 votes for Rocket Languages, compared with 52 votes for Pimsleur and 61 votes for Assimil (highest number of votes).
In other blogs of polyglots and linguists, I rarely see opinions about Rocket Languages.
I did not use the program for a long enough time and did not find many reliable reviews on Rocket languages, so I cannot write a complete review about the program.
I think that rather than wander with this guy, it is better to use an effective and proven program such as Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, or Assimil, or, if you want a free program, there is Duolingo.
2017 update: Rocket’s affiliate commission rate is 70%.