What sets Glossika apart from other programs is the fact that not only are you given audio lessons, but you also try to mimic what you hear by typing words on your computer keyboard. This ensures that you're focusing on pronunciation as well as understanding and writing the language.
The lessons come in levels, with more than 600 stages covering travel, business, socializing and culture. You can use any computer or device with speakers or headphones to play the audios, all recorded by native speakers, so they sound natural.
When you log into your account for the first time, click “Dashboard” at the top of your screen to see all program features laid out clearly. The Dashboard shows you where you are in terms of lessons and stages, your average typing speed, how many hours you have spent up to this point, and so on.
How It Works
The program starts with a placement test that determines which course level is appropriate for you. For example, if you already know Cantonese or Mandarin, it will direct you to Level 1 or 2. If not, the system will take the results from your assessment to find out which levels are best suited for your needs.
- Once you’re placed in a specific stage (i.e., “Level 1: Introduction“), the audio lesson corresponding with that stage will appear on the Dashboard as well as your progress bar. You can visit any previous step at any time if you want to review a particular lesson or refresh your memory.
- Each audio lesson is broken down into several parts, creating natural breaks in which you can type words on the keyboard. The program will show you Chinese characters as well as their corresponding pronunciation and meaning. Your task is to mimic what you hear as closely as possible without looking at the screen, so it’s best not to type anything unless necessary (for example, when there’s a pause).
- You progress through each stage by taking the placement test that corresponds with your current level and adding new levels as they become available for your language of choice. For example, Level 1: Introduction may be followed by Level 2: Review, then Level 3: Transfer and so on. Once you reach the end of a level, your typing speed will be evaluated, and you’ll be assigned to the next level based on that result.
Full Practice Mode
If you get at least 90% correct for each stage, that means you’re ready to move on to another language in the program. The more points you accumulate, the higher the chance of being placed into a lower stage for new lessons.
In your first lesson, you'll be introduced to typing mode and the keyboard. Each study will include a few examples of words and sentences that you can type out and other tips for reaching higher speeds. The system will use these documents to determine if words are classified correctly and at an appropriate rate, which is how it works out where you should be placed after each stage.
You can record yourself speaking as many times as you like before hitting the play button on the Dashboard. Glossika's voice recognition software will then check whether your pronunciation matches what it heard by running through all of its lessons and stages with ghostwriters. This feature exists for your language of choice.
In the Listening mode, you can listen to lessons from previous stages with or without reading Chinese characters. This comes in handy if you want to focus on listening and pronunciation before moving on to new phrases. If you don't feel confident about learning through typing or dictation yet, this is an excellent way to practice what you have already learned so far.
The Recording option reflects your current speaking skills by giving a result ranging from a few minutes ago up to the present day. It measures how well your accent, intonation and pitch match with that of a native speaker.
Listening to the Only Mode
In Listening to the Only Mode, you can turn off the display of Chinese characters and typing interface. Your goal here is to recognize the phrases spoken by the speaker as accurately as possible. You will be able to determine how well you did after listening through Glossika's audio files over and over again. This helps your pronunciation skills tremendously!
Is it free?
Glossika’s website design is clean and well-organized, making it straightforward to use the program without outside help. Many screenshots from each section show what options are available, as do tooltips that pop up when you hover your mouse over certain buttons. This helps fill in the blanks if you don’t understand something or need a little more information.
If you have any questions, Glossika has several resources available to help. The “Contact Us” page displays an email form next to social media and Skype contact information. The FAQs and Glossika Blog make it easy to reach out in case of problems or just for some guidance through the learning process.
Pros And Cons
- The Dashboard’s practice modes allow for many different ways of practicing your target language without being too repetitive.
- Like other adaptive programs, some stages slowly progress as you complete newer lessons correctly to build on what you have learned before without overwhelming you with too much information at once.
- The Dashboard’s layout is well-organized, making it easy to toggle between the different practice modes and settings without being confused about where to go or what each option means.
- There are technical errors every so often when logging in, which can be annoying if you want to get started right away.
- Some of the prices for plans are a little steep considering that there isn’t enough content for many languages yet, especially ones that have just been added recently.
- I would have liked to see more sections of Glossika available, such as one dedicated to learning Chinese numbers or punctuation marks. What this product does do, though, is give you all of the pieces you need to learn a language, allowing you to fill in the blanks yourself and create your natural-sounding sentences through speaking.
Areas Of Improvement
The program is designed to be intuitive and natural to use; however, sometimes technical difficulties prevent you from getting started.
While there are a few things that Glossika could improve, I would recommend this product to anyone interested in learning a new language through spaced repetition. It’s helpful having the Dashboard break down your lessons into different options so you can work on what you have trouble with, and the Typing mode is a perfect way to get more familiarized with typing characters on your keyboard without feeling frustrated.
There were also a handful of complaints from customers who were unhappy about not cancelling their subscription through the automatic payment system setup, which leaves them at risk of getting charged more than once if they don’t keep an eye on their account until cancellation goes through