Busuu makes language learning almost simple
Busuu gives you the opportunity to try all three methods of learning and find out what works for you. After registering with the site, still in beta, you can start learning. You can choose learning modules based on things like travel, your daily routine or going to the bar.
Once you choose a module, you will be shown a variety of pictures. With each picture comes an audio pronunciation of the word (which you can replay) and a sentence containing the word. I really enjoyed using this part, but I wish I could've heard the sentences pronounced to get a feel for different word tenses.
After you review, and hopefully learn the words in the module, you move on to the fun parts! Read on for those...
Your first option is to take a little reading comprehension quiz. You are presented with three pictures and a dialogue in the language you are learning. From that, you take a three question quiz to see how well you can comprehend what is going on.
The quiz pulls from other models as well and you only need to have a basic grasp of the ideas presented to get the questions right. It was kind of fun, but I know if I heard that conversation by native speakers, I would still have no clue what was going on.
Next you can let native speakers critique your writing skills. You enter a phrase pertaining to the lesson you are working on. Native speakers have the chance to rate and comment on what you have written and offer suggestions. This is where knowing tenses and articles and such would really be helpful. The response, so far, is relatively quick with comments popping up within 10 minutes or so.
You can also choose to chat directly with native speakers. You can turn on a webcam and microphone, or, just type. Like any online space, it's really hard to say if you will get someone useful to chat with or not. I had someone message me several times asking if I could teach him French. Since I registered as an English speaker wanting to learn Spanish, I am not sure what he was hoping for. There are also plenty of people looking to flirt.
After going through those steps, you can take a test to see how well you learned the vocabulary in that module. The more tests you take and do well on, the bigger your language tree grows in your learning garden.
I don't think Busuu is going to actually teach me to speak a language but, I could certainly learn a lot of vocabulary if I put some time into it. At least I know how to get some coffee.