All online and software-based Chinese language program makers claim that there product is best. The fact is, however, that none of them are necessarily the best. Certain programs work better for certain people. And different programs are better suited for accomplishing different learning goals.
To get the best program for you, you need to be able to recognize the different types of learning programs. After having tried and tested all of the major Chinese language programs on the market, I can categorize them into three types. This post will explain the three types of Chinese language programs you’ll find in the market.
1. Audio-Based Chinese Language Programs
As the name implies, these courses are 100% audio-based. These programs do not offer vocabulary lists. They do not provide learning games, and they do not teach any kind or reading, writing or grammar skills. What do they do? They provide audio recordings. These audio recordings are designed to teach you Chinese grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure through total immersion in the Chinese language. They do this, mainly, through listen and repeat drills. Learners first listen to and repeat words. Then they gradually move up to listening and repeating phrases and complete sentences. In the end, users have simulated questions-and-answer types of conversations with the software.
If you’re interested, this is the top selling 100% audio-based program.
2. Activity-Based Chinese Language Programs
Activity-based Chinese language programs employ a learning strategy that is quite different from the immersion strategy used with audio-based courses. Activity-based programs use what I call the “busy-work” strategy. These programs provided lots and lots of different types of learning games and activities. These include word puzzles, fill-in-the-blank activities, word-find games, word association games, grammar drills, and sentence completion activities. The idea is to get a good base of theoretical knowledge about the Chinese language before actually trying to use it verbally.
And this is the top selling activity-based program.
3. Consumer-Friendly Chinese Language Programs
Finally, there are what I like to call consumer-friendly Chinese language programs. These programs are a bit more balanced in their approach to teaching the Chinese language. The designers of these programs understand that many people are going to have a hard time learning in a total immersion environment. They also understand that most people don’t want to sit around and do Chinese grammar drills all day long. So, what they do is provide interactive dialogues, just like the 100% audio-based courses. They also provide vocabulary games and grammar instruction at a basic level. The vocabulary lists and learning games, along with the grammar lessons, are specifically designed to help students complete the interactive dialogues–no more, no less. These programs focus on situational communication, for example, “buying a train ticket,” or “ordering food in a restaurant.”
And, finally, this is the top selling consumer-friendly Chinese program.
How to Use This Information
When deciding which Chinese language program to purchase, try to ignore claims made by manufacturers; they all think their learning methods are the best. Instead, think about your past learning experiences. How have you learned well in the past? How do you think you’ll learn best now? Then, based on that information, decide which type of Chinese language program would be best for you? Once you make that decision, start looking for aprogram that fits your learning style and your learning goals.
Read this post to learn which Chinese language program is best for you.
Best of luck to you!