PROS / SpanishPod offers podcasts, tests and a widely-used forum.
CONS / There is no help with pronunciation or verbal communication.
VERDICT / SpanishPod offers lots of great opportunities to learn Spanish from scratch and ways to keep up the Spanish you already know.
If you want to learn Spanish online, TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner SpanishPod is the best solution to learning the Spanish language. SpanishPod offers relevant and engaging lessons for learning Spanish. SpanishPod offers an exceptionally active forum of dedicated language learners.
SpanishPod clearly offers a unique and refreshing philosophy and as soon as you get to the forums, you’ll know immediately you’ll be having fun there. In fact, you feel like you’re part of the group before you even begin to contribute to the forum. You can learn from other people involved in the forum in addition to learning from the instructors. You’ll love the topics in the forum. Here are some of the examples of topics people comment on: Science Fiction in Spanish, TV and movies in Spanish, books, favorite movie quotes, and that’s just a few. There a number of great resources through SpanishPod:
- Tests - SpanishPod’s tests can be taken at any time; simply click on the test link.
- Dashboard - When you get to the lesson page, this will all be laid out very clearly for you with an easy-to-use dashboard.
- Library of podcasts - And they have tons of lessons that are all housed in their library of podcasts. Just start looking through them and you’ll see quite a few that will interest you. You can take advantage of their podcasts.
- Subscriptions -The site offers some very interesting options you don’t always see on Spanish language websites. To take advantage of their repository of information, you can simply subscribe for one month and you can remain month-to-month for as long as you like.
- Counselors - If you feel as though you aren’t sure what you need, SpanishPod has personal counselors available to advise you on what you need to do to get to the level you want to be in Spanish. And that means that you can also request personalized training. If you have questions that need to be answered immediately you can engage them on the live chat option available on the website.
- Technology - The technology on the website makes the experience very enjoyable and convenient. For example, there is a utility that enables you to make your own set of flashcards. Also, SpanishPod offers their product for iPhones.
The theory behind SpanishPod’s philosophy is: listening, reviewing, practicing, and then reinforcing activities. For each lesson, there is an activity on:
- Dialogue, a conversation in the form of a podcast. The translation of the dialogue is also given.
- Vocabulary, which breaks each of the words down and tells you whether it’s a noun, verb, or adjective.
- Exercises, special learning activities with interactive components.
- Expansion, that offers translated versions of what was just learned.
- Comments, which are really part of the forum, where you’ll see people’s questions and concerns regarding the lesson.
Although there was no actual newsletter, the vibrancy and content of the forum seemed to abate the need for a newsletter being sent out. In fact, since the forum offers the option for notification when a new entry is added, it almost seems as though they have a newsletter option.
Even though SpanishPod doesn’t actually feature stories, the forum does contain groups that discuss books and movies.
As enjoyable as this course is, its major downfall is that fact that SpanishPod offers no way for the learner to have him or herself be heard. There is plenty of opportunity to communicate in Spanish in the forum. However, as much Spanish as the learner may understand, they may not necessarily be understood after having finished the SpanishPod course.
Sadly, as much as students can get out of subscribing to SpanishPod, until something is added that will enable students to be heard by native speakers or to at least record themselves, learners using SpanishPod cannot better their pronunciation. We can only hope that this capability is added soon.
Students cannot select their specific SpanishPod instructor. However, they have two native speakers from Mexico and an American who is a Spanish instructor. Between the three of them they produce the lessons and the podcasts. But it isn’t just the tutors you can learn from. Since SpanishPod has such a wide breadth of users, you can learn from the other students. Many of them are well-traveled and keep up with what’s going on in Latin America.
SpanishPod has artfully woven practical cultural knowledge into many of their lessons. Students can learn about traveling in Latin America, how to cook traditional Hispanic foods, Latin American holidays, and Spanish history. Then the other people participating in SpanishPod make comments on everything that happens. In fact, don’t just limit yourself to the lessons, many of the archived conversations offer a wealth of knowledge.
Of all of the positive qualities SpanishPod has, their forum has got to be the most impressive factor offered on their site. You only have to read a few of the comments from the students, followers, and instructors to realize that you want to be part of this fun-filled experience. And don’t worry if you can’t check the website every day to keep up with the latest, just sign up for the follow up comments by email.
The program is very well laid out and for each lesson there is a dialogue and vocabulary. But what makes the lessons so interesting is that there is a comment area available for each one where other students have made comments in English or in Spanish about the content of the lesson. This makes the learning environment a lot of fun and keeps the student constantly coming back for more.
SpanishPod is a wonderful product and anyone purchasing this product will be thrilled with the results. Learning a language is a daunting experience even for those who are already bilingual or trilingual. SpanishPod makes language learning fun and enjoyable. By offering a vibrant and active forum, SpanishPod is giving students an opportunity to learn Spanish painlessly. Many students will be learning and having so much fun while they’re participating in the community, they won’t even realize how much they’ve studied.
SpanishPod received a spot as one of our Spanish language websites because of its unique approach to engaging students with their lively podcasts and their widely-used forum that adds spice to the experience.