Living Language Platinum seizes on perhaps the most valuable element of online learning: linking students and instructors via video. The live classes, which are included with the software package, are a terrific resource -- and the company's apps are well reviewed -- but some claim the software still falls flat.
A great deal for e-students seeking classes. Living Language Platinum receives generally positive reviews from users and experts. The real selling point for this software package is the virtual courses; for the value, the courses can't be compared with any software or traditional class. While the e-classes are fantastic for students to get feedback, it's missing the voice recognition technology that would enable them to record, hear and assess their accents on their own time.
The full package: software, online resources, apps, classes, books. Living Language Platinum sells a package rather than just software. The online purchasing process is straightforward; included are CDs with audio lessons, course books, apps, access to online community forums, online games and course materials, and semi-private, virtual classes. Living Language Platinum's apps, which include all of the lessons and cost a fraction of the package price, can also be purchased separately on apps but tutoring, course books and other resources aren't included. The package competes with industry heavyweights Rosetta Stone and Tell Me More, which offer similar comprehensive tools and services -- but Living Language Platinum lacks speech recognition technology and other goodies that would make it more appealing.
Three levels of learning and organized lessons. The software contains 46 lessons divided into three levels: essential, intermediate and advanced. An Amazon.com reviewer asserts that the advanced level offers more vocabulary and verb conjugation but is not "advanced" by academic standards. The interface clearly lays out lesson plans, which are broken down into sections (vocabulary, grammar, conversation, etc.) in a toolbar at the side of the page. Lessons also include introductions, recaps and games. You can jump around between levels, lessons and exercises. The toolbar at the top of the page provides access to e-tutoring, grammar and writing resources, community forums and a glossary.
Semi-private classes are the main draw. Many reviewers say the classes and apps are what really sets Living Language software apart from the competition. The 30-minute online classes with a native speaker and up to two other students are offered several times a day. The sheer number of courses makes this software the best deal on the market -- and a much better value than taking a traditional class. Reviewers for The New York Times and Wired, who purchased only Living Language's apps, rave about fun, engaging games and flashcards -- but others, like the PCMag.com reviewer, find them boring. Founded in 1946, Living Language uses a more traditional comprehensive method of teaching (one Amazon reviewer described it as listen-repeat-write), which gets mixed reviews. The PCMag.com reviewer claims the progress markers aren't clear and maintains that the repetitive nature of the exercises -- which are vocabulary-intensive and flashcard-based -- won't help beginners retain content but can be useful for students with a foundation in the language. Voice recognition technology would also enhance their learning.
|Living Language Japanese, Platinum Edition: A complete beginner through advanced course, including 3 coursebooks, 9 audio CDs, Japanese reading & ... online course, apps, and live e-Tutoring|
In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping
Excellent PCMag.com's expert reviewer gives Living Language Platinum 3.5 out of 5 stars primarily because of its excellent live web-conferencing style classes, which she deems superior to Rosetta Stone's online video coaching. She isn't as impressed with the software or "lackluster" games, however.
Review: Living Language (Platinum), Jill Duffy, March 15, 2012
2. The New York Times
Very good A New York Times reporter tests the apps of Rocket Languages, Hello-Hello and Living Language, which comes out on top. The reviewer likes Living Language's design and breadth, including "a range of surprising and engaging exercises and games that test and build knowledge." Hello-Hello is ranked last because of slow downloads.
Review: Serious About a New Language? Begin With Lesson 1, Bob Tedeschi, April 25, 2012
Good All of Living Language Platinum's products combined generate only a couple dozen reviews, but they are all rated between 4 and 5 stars (out of 5). The reviewers, who are mostly novices or are brushing up on a language they studied previously, maintain that Platinum is a great value for the money and praise the package's games, classes and diverse print, audio and online materials.
Review: Multiple Living Language Platinum, Contributors to Amazon.com