There are lots of Japanese language learning programs on the market. Some are better than others, and some are good for certain types of people but not so good for other types of people. This article will teach you how to choose the program that is best for you personally. There are five main items to consider.
1. Know Your Learning Style
Many popular Japanese language programs were designed with regard to the learning philosophy of a man named Dr. Pimsleur, who believed that the best way to learn a second language was in the same manner that you learned your first. This, of course, is to hear words and phrases and then repeat them, just like a child. This method works very well for some people, people who are auditory learners. If that’s you, great. Choose one of these audio-based programs. If you are more of a visual learner, however, or if you like to study written dialogues, be sure that you choose a program that offers instruction in more than one learning style.
2. Find Out When the Software Was Updated
I have seen quite a few “premium” Japanese language learning software programs that have not been updated in several years. These programs have fallen behind. Today’s best programs have amazing voice recognition features, online forums, exceptional aesthetics, and much more. If a program hasn’t been updated in several years, it is most likely not worth buying.
3. Check Out the Online Features
It used to be that you would buy a book or a software program, use it for what it was worth, and then get rid of it (or throw it in the back of the closet). Things have changed. All of the top Japanese software programs today have an online component. Sometimes you get exclusive access to learning forums. Other times you get to upload and download custom data made by both users of the product and by its manufacturer. Most of the top rated programs give you lifetime access to software and program updates. These “extra” features oftentimes prove to be more valuable than the software itself, so be sure to check them out before making a purchase.
4. Read Product Reviews
Online product reviews are something that I both love and hate. I love them because I like to hear what experienced users of a product think of it before I buy it myself. In the end, it matters little how much the company likes its own product, and it matters a lot what real users think of it. I hate online product reviews because they are oftentimes nothing more than sales pitches written by people selling the products themselves. To get around this, I do one simple thing. I only read product reviews that have a walkthrough. If there is a walkthrough of the program, then I at least know that the person who wrote the review has used the product.
5. Take a Test Drive
If a Japanese language learning software program doesn’t offer a free trial, I don’t buy it. It’s as simple as that. This is not really an issue, though, as all of the top-rated programs have them. The problem is that people rarely use them. Instead, they make buying decisions based on marketing campaigns reputation. This doesn’t work, though, because we all learn in different ways, and just because I love a certain software program doesn’t mean that you will.
Learning Japanese can be fun, or it can be difficult and frustrating experience. Much of how it turns out for you will depend on which software or online course you buy. Get a high-quality one that fits your learning style well, and you’ll have a great experience.