Review of: Rocket Italian
Use: Italian learning course
Learn to read, write, speak, and listen in Italian
Reasonably priced for a full course
Each lesson is roughly 30 minutes
Ease of Use
Well laid out and easy to use
Highly structured and well designed
I Don't Like
Rocket Italian is a well rounded and comprehensive Italian course. It manages to teach you the relevant vocabulary you need to start speaking Italian right away; while still providing you with the necessary grammar lessons you'll need in the long term.
It does this by providing two distinct lesson types: 1) Audio lessons, and 2) Language and Culture lessons.
The course is straight forward and effective. You can go from absolute beginner to low-intermediate if you work through each level of the course.
If you're solely looking for a novel or fun learning resource to use as a supplement, then this probably isn't the Italian course for you.
This course is for students, from beginners to intermediate, who are looking for a stand alone resource for learning Italian.
Starting at $99.95 for level 1 (free trial available)
Is Rocket Italian right for you?
If you're a beginner or intermediate student
Like the majority of courses in the language learning world, this course is designed for beginners and intermediate students. Rocket Italian is broken up into three separate levels.
When worked through sequentially, level 1 will take you from absolute beginner and level 3 to low level intermediate in the language.
If you want a comprehensive course to learn Italian
Rocket Italian does an excellent job of covering both practical vocabulary and necessary grammar. As you work through the course you will learn both as you read, write, listen, and speak Italian.
If you want to supplement your Italian learning
If you simply want to spice up your Italian learning with a novel app or online course, then this program probably isn't for you. As said before this Italian course is a hefty one, and it's priced accordingly.
There are more novel and cheaper options if you're not looking for a full fledged course.
The method behind Rocket Italian
Rocket Italian is built around two lesson types: interactive audio lessons and language and culture lessons. Each lesson type focuses on a particular aspect of the language.
Interactive audio lessons
The audio lessons primarily provide the user with practical phrases they can use with real speakers. Audio lessons are built around a recorded dialogue between two Italian speakers.
The lessons then break down the conversation into phrases and take a look at any new or interesting words. Users are also able to practice their pronunciation through voice recognition technology and the slow audio playback available with each lesson.
Language and culture lessons
The language and culture lessons examine Italian grammar and often discuss Italian culture. In these lessons Users get to see grammar in action as phrases and examples are always given and broken down.
Also users will have the chance to create their own phrases using whatever new grammar concept they have learned.
What you get in a Rocket Italian course
Course levels, modules, and lessons
Rocket Italian has a total of three levels. In each level there are about 7-8 modules of interactive audio lessons, and 7-8 modules of language culture lessons. There are between three and eight lessons in each module.
These two lesson types make up the bulk of the course content.
Survival kit lessons & review activities
Each level also contains bonus survival kit lessons. These are essentially vocabulary lessons which follow a specific theme such as travel phrases, dating, around the house, etc.
Both the audio and language and culture lessons feature a mix of activities at the end of the lesson to help the user practice what he or she has learned.
These include writing and speaking exercises, flashcards, quizzes, and even role playing dialogues.
Pros of the Rocket Italian course
It teaches practical vocabulary AND grammar
There is almost always a bit of tension between language courses. They emphasize either practical words and phrases you can use in a conversation, or they take a more traditional approach and focus on grammar.
Rocket Italian strikes a rare balance between the two. The course has two distinct lesson types. There are the audio lessons, and secondly there are the language and culture lessons.
True to their name, the audio lessons are built around prerecorded Italian dialogues between two native speakers. These lessons will break down the conversation phrase by phrase, so that you know what each one means and you know how to pronounce them.
This sort of "language chunk" approach is great for developing your conversational skills quickly so that you can start speaking Italian right away.
However, in the long run, if all you ever learned were chunks of the Italian language you would run into serious trouble once you progressed past the beginning levels. This is because after this point the grammar can get complicated, and it's important that you have a firm grasp on the basics.
"I like what Rocket Languages teaches, focusing on vocabulary and grammar that are probably most applicable to the average person in his or her everyday life...In Rosetta Stone, by contrast, you end up mastering a lot of phrases that you'll never use. Sure, you'll quickly figure out the difference between "the duck eats rice" and "the dog eats rice," but good luck making use of those sentences."
Jill Duffy // PCMag.com Rocket Italian review
This is where the language and culture lessons come in. The vast majority of these lessons are centered on Italian grammar. These lesson skip straight to the point. They break down sample phrases bit by bit so that you can see and understand how the grammar behind them works.
Taken together the audio lessons and language and culture lessons help you learn Italian in a way that is both practical and sustainable in the long term.
It helps you learn Italian holistically
We mention this a lot on our site: there are four aspects of language learning: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. A great Italian course will cover all of them.
This is important because together these four aspects reinforce one another and help you learn the language faster and more efficiently (with the exception of languages with more complicated writing systems like Japanese).
Also, learning a foreign language this way will give you the practical skills you need to use the language outside of the classroom.
Rocket Italian strikes a nice balance between all four aspects. Throughout the lessons you will be required to read and listen in Italian. You will also need to write in the language as well. As far as speaking goes, the course does have a formidable voice recognition component.
Naturally, the best speaking practice you can do, is with a native Italian speaker. However as far as voice recognition technology goes, this course holds its own against popular competitors like Rosetta Stone.
"With the 2016-2017 editions of Rocket Languages, they finally introduced voice recognition based on Google’s Web Speech API.
Previously, they were using very outdated technology for the speaking/voice recognition component of their courses which put competitors like Rosetta Stone light years ahead.
Now they’re using Google’s own technology for speech recognition which is superbly accurate and gives an immediate ‘grade’ as to how close your pronunciation is to the native Italian speaker.
I’ve personally never been a fan of technology teaching you how to pronounce words correctly (you improve through practice!) but this is still a very helpful feature for many people wanting to get their Italian pronunciation right."
Donovan Nagel // Mezzoguild.com Rocket Italian review
Great for audio learners
If you prefer an audio centric learning style, then Rocket Italian is definitely worth looking into. As far as audio courses go, you will be hard pressed to find another course that teaches Italian as thoroughly as Rocket Italian.
The quality of the recorded dialogue from native speakers is superb and makes you feel like you’re actually sitting in on a real Italian conversation.
Available online and through mobile app
Rocket Italian courses are accessible through the online course on the site, as well as through the mobile app.
The course content carries over to the mobile platform well. The app is easy to navigate, and mobile users have the exact same capabilities and content as the website users.
60 day money back guarantee
Rocket Italian comes with a 60 day money back guarantee. If you are unsatisfied with the course for any reason within that period, Rocket Languages will refund your money.
Cons of Rocket Italian
Content can feel dull
Many a language course makes an effort to craft their content in a way that is engaging and even sometimes entertaining (think Duolingo). Rocket Italian isn't one of them.
I wouldn't say the content in this course is outright boring. On the contrary, if you're passionate about learning Italian, it can be exciting. However after sticking with the course and working through the material for awhile, the method and format can feel a bit dull.
You may find yourself wanting to take a brief break from the course before returning to it.
Lack of visuals
Rocket Italian really stands out as an audio course, but if you’re more of a visual learner then this course leaves much to be desired. The actual visual layout of the course is fine and easy to use.
However Rocket Italian definitely lacks any sense of aesthetic. Some video or visual content would go a long way in making the course more engaging and accessible to learners.
What others say about Rocket Italian
"In my opinion, Rocket Italian could very well be the best value Italian language product on the market.
There is so much learning material packed in there. You're essentially getting three products for the price of one: The interactive audio course, the language and culture course, and all the testing tools and games.
The lessons are well structured and based on a tried and true mix of grammar, vocabulary, cultural insights and silly cartoons. The testing tools make sure you know the material inside and out, so you feel really confident when faced with a real Italian speaker. Gold star for you, Rocket Italian!"
Aletta Mazlin // TheItalianExperiment.com Rocket Italian review
"Despite the slightly high-end cost of Rocket Italian, it offers an enormous amount of content and is a flexible learning tool. Best of all, you own what you pay for in being able to download the entire course for offline use.
The natural Italian dialogues they use and lesson comprehensiveness make it a strong market competitor.
While there are some minor issues that need improvement, overall I think it’s a quality course and good value for money for any serious learner of Italian."
Donovan Nagel // Mezzoguild.com Rocket Italian review
Alternatives to Rocket Italian
From $4+ per month
15+ minutes a day
Italianpod101 features audio lessons in a podcast format. Lessons are great for grammar and vocabulary. Each lesson is designed around a Italian conversation between native speakers, and the teachers do a great job of keeping things engaging.
While it's not as structured as Rocket Italian it's still a substantial learning tool (it's also much cheaper too). The site features transcripts, an in-site flashcard system, and many other useful features.
30 minutes a day
Pimsleur is an entirely audio based and is specifically designed to develop your conversational skills.
They use a unique and effective question/recall/respond technique to get you on your feet in your new foreign language. With Pimsleur You'll learn a limited but functional vocabulary and have a good sense of pronunciation.
No other audio course prepares you for real life conversations like Pimsleur does. The app also has a reading section where users learn to read Italian phonetically and then for meaning.
$6+ per hour (varies between teachers)
30 minute or 1 hour lessons
Italki is an online market place that connects language learners with language teachers for one-on-one language classes via video or audio chat.
You can connect with language speakers from around the world and practice your speaking skills. There are 200+ Italian teachers and tutors on Italki.
*with a purchase of $20 or more. After your first purchased lesson a credit of $10 will be added to your account
If you're a beginner or intermediate student who is serious about learning Italian, then Rocket Italian is certainly worth a look. The course is both comprehensive and effective, and it will help you learn the essential vocabulary and grammar you need to be proficient in the language.
Rocket Italian does offer a free trial, make sure to test drive the language course yourself and see if it's right for you.