I've been meaning to write another post for a few days, but I've been awfully busy. If you've noticed the widgets I placed on the right side of my blog a few days ago--the ones that give a "word of the day" for Polish, Dutch and Romanian--they click through to some language learning sites run by Innovative Learning.
Anyway, I not only took advantage of the 7-day free trial for the Polish site, but also paid five bucks on a flash deal that was available for 24 hours to sign up for any language site for a month. So I picked Dutch, plunked down my five bucks, and now I have access to the site for a month.
I have to say that having experienced a lot of modes of learning languages, I like their methods, for the most part. With Polish, I have been going through the beginning lessons kind of randomly but find that I know almost all the vocabulary words and can translate the Polish in the lessons relatively easily, for the most part. The advanced lessons, though, have been really helpful, and fairly interesting. Each of the advanced audio lessons is a very brief essay on a topic of Polish life. There is a series on different Polish cities, and one on different regions in Poland, than on Polish movies and Polish musicians. In each series there is an essay of about five hundred words for each lesson in Polish, and then the translation in English. On the premium level, you also get the essay broken down in audio segments sentence by sentence. It's hard for me to see yet what you get for free because you automatically get the 7-day free trial of the premium level. So I've been furiously trying to pack as much in to the 7-day trial as I can get. I probably won't pay for more unless I get addicted like it was crack, which I could easily see happening. But I'm a cheap bastard, so probably not. Maybe if it pops up with some super-cheap deal for a month or three, I'll bite.
The prices are just a little too high for me. It's twenty-five bucks a month, but the prices drop drastically if you buy in for a year or two. The rub there is that you don't want to pay for a year not knowing if you would maintain use of it, or get tired of their system and need to change it around. But the five-bucks-for-a-month Dutch deal was a good offer, so I took that. I'll see how much I can get out of that. I'm not as proficient at Dutch, so the beginner lessons are more helpful to me and I have to go through them slower.
Now I would maybe be more likely to bite if they offered me the chance to check out all the languages they offer for the prices, so I could jump around from language to language. I'd maybe even lock in for a year. But each language is separate and has its own site, and you have to pay for each one separately. They don't seem to group them together in any way for a better deal, and even if they did, you can only study so much in one day, so paying twice as much for two languages or eight times as much for eight languages doesn't do you a lot of good.
For Polish the link is http://www.polishpod101.com, for Dutch it is http://www.dutchpod101.com, etc. Some languages have "class" instead of "pod" in their names (I guess the domain was taken?).
The flash cards are cool because you can customize them in different ways to study from the lessons you are looking at, or from words you have added to a "wordbank", and they automatically come with audio, which I don't have in any of my current flash cards on Anki (though Anki does have the capability to add audio, and I think there is also a plug-in for it that will send the text on your flash card to Google text-to-speech or another TTS app; I just haven't had the time to check it out and figure out how to configure it).
Anyway, like I said, I've been working my ass off trying to get the most out of my 7-day free trial in Polish and 30-day five-buck deal in Dutch in the allotted time, so more later. I do like the system they have.