PROS / This program is great for learning Spanish words you need for shopping, restaurants and describing yourself.
CONS / For such an audio-heavy program, voices from the virtual tutors are warped and grainy.
VERDICT / If you're looking to learn basic Spanish or simply need to get by in a Spanish-speaking environment, Instant Immersion is good place to start.
The learn Spanish software Instant Immersion TalkNow focuses on the fundamentals of Spanish vocabulary. The lessons focus on topics like food, colors, phrases, the body, numbers, time and shopping. Each section, regardless of topic, is divided into five parts: word practice, speaking practice, easy game, hard game and print picture dictionary. The print picture dictionary is less of a lesson and more of a study guide. It uses the same images found in the lessons to help you study in your free time.
TalkNow teaches mostly toward an auditory learning style with downloadable MP3s of vocab words and pronunciation exercises. However, the audio quality of the virtual guides is poor and grainy. Luckily, the playback quality of your own Spanish attempts is much better. There's no accuracy gauge in the speaking sections, so you have to compare your attempts with the program’s native-speaker recordings on your own.
Speaking practice in this program is engaging and useful. This section begins with a list of four, eight or 10 randomized vocabulary words. There are two recording options available, depending on how confident you feel in your vocab skills. You can opt to hear the word before repeating it into a microphone or simply speak the word associated with the picture.
This program does not have any video introductions or lessons. However, TalkNow teaches you to associate words with images and has several interactive games to help solidify the vocabulary you learned. This program has an easy game, hard game and bonus timed games. Each of these exercises reuse the vocabulary words you reviewed through the lessons, and all three use a flashcard format that requires you to match the spoken Spanish word with its associated image.
While the program doesn’t have an app or online lessons, you can download MP3s from the software to your phone or MP3 player if you want to review the vocabulary you learned. The MP3 files download quickly because each one contains only one Spanish vocabulary word.
TalkNow is an effective program if you want to remember simple vocab for a vacation or basic communication. You won't be completely fluent by the end the course using this program alone, but it pairs well with classes or other programs that add context and focus more heavily on grammar and parts of speech.