PROS / Truly extensive lesson plans go into conjugation for common and uncommon verbs, grammar lessons and useful vocabulary.
CONS / The speech and pronunciation section focuses on individual letter sounds rather than full words and sentences.
VERDICT / Ouino has a ton of content to access from your desktop or mobile device. The lessons go into great detail and have several customizable options to adjust to your learning needs.
When learning a new language like Spanish, the best software allows you to customize lessons to fit your learning style. The Top Ten Reviews Silver Award goes to Ouino Spanish Complete, a learn Spanish suite that offers exceptional variety and flexibility. You can buy Ouino software individually or with the 5-in-1 collection.
The collection includes installments for Spanish pronunciation, conversation, grammar, vocabulary and verbs. Each of these installments has an organized layout and clearly defined instructions for its exercises. Ouino earns its high ranking for more than sheer volume. The lessons manage a happy balance for all types of learners and the stylish interface never crashed during our testing.
The 5-in-1 Ouino Spanish system is made of individual programs focusing on different elements of Spanish. In this software, there are lessons on vocabulary, grammar, verbs and conjugation, conversation, and pronunciation. Each of these programs have plenty of customizable features for you to adjust to your own level, as well as games and native speaking narrators for exercises. You can adjust the speed of each reader, number of hints per exercise and timer length in speed games.
The vocabulary section takes a flashcard approach with clear images for each word. If you find yourself stumped, you can opt to repeat or skip words. Within the vocabulary section, there are several games. One example is Fluency Sprint, a lightning round game that challenges you to answer every question before a timer runs out.
Other games include Click-a-Pic and multiple-choice games. Learning gendered nouns usually presents a challenge to English speakers. To guide you through these new words, the program provides color and voice coded answers from a male and female native speaker. A Spanish-speaking woman reads the feminine nouns that appear in red while a man reads the blue coded masculine nouns.
Grammar lessons on the second installment of Ouino Spanish focus on speech mechanics and connecting words. You cover lessons on differences between English and Spanish grammar seen in parts of speech and word order. Ouino provides a number of hints during the games, including scrambled letters, multiple choice and sound playback.
Proper conjugation is one of the hardest parts of learning a new language, which is primarily because we don't consciously conjugate verbs in our native language. However, learning the proper forms of verbs can make a huge difference in the message you convey. Similar to the other installments, the Verbs and Conjugation section helps you retain knowledge with quizzes and games, so you truly think about and remember what you've learned.
In the Conversation section, you learn the basic protocol for common conversations with family or coworkers. Materials include lessons on asking for directions, taking a taxi or making a reservation. As you progress, you learn to express yourself by hearing how real Spanish speakers talk about hobbies, jobs, family and the weather. Conversation practices pair with an ear-training quiz with options to slow, repeat, add subtitles and split choices to help you eliminate options on hard questions.
Without proper pronunciation, native Spanish speakers may have trouble understanding you. That's why exercising proper pronunciation is so crucial. You need a microphone to use the Pronunciation installment. This part of the program works by recording and comparing your voice to that of a native speaker. You can adjust the speed, gender, and practice individual sounds and entire words to correct your accent.
We were impressed by the sheer amount of content in this program. Whether you need a quick review, pre-vacation cram or looking to gain fluency in Spanish, Ouino covers an impressive amount of ground.
Whatever topic you focus on, Ouino tracks your progress with evaluations to test your knowledge level. At the end of each lesson, you can choose evaluations by topic or difficulty level. We recommend choosing a familiar topic to reinforce your knowledge or a trouble lesson to challenge yourself. The program marks trouble spots on the table of contents, so you can easily access the lessons you need to work on.
Ouino has a mobile app for Android and iOS to learn on the go. When you create a login for the software, it can follow you to your mobile device. The app is extremely similar to the desktop software and saves your progress through your login. This means you can pick up right where you left off in your lessons at and away from home.
Ouino manages to balance its lessons for all types of learners. While it is missing some extra features like standalone audio lessons, video or live tutors, there are plenty of interactive activities, clear audio and visual cues to keep you engaged.
Ouino has several options for the hearing inclined. The lessons and exercises using recordings from a native speaker provide different ways to hear the audio. You can adjust the amount of times a word is repeated and choose from a fast option, slow option or both.
The speech exercises in Ouino differ from other programs because it emphasizes individual sounds in the Spanish alphabet rather than focus on vocabulary words and phrases. For example, you can practice the "K" sound in Spanish words that begin with "que" or "qui." While this is helpful, you miss speaking full Spanish sentences aloud.
Ouino has plenty of visual cues to match the vocabulary you'll learn. Along with images, the words are color coded to match its gender. Masculine nouns are coded blue, feminine are red while neuter vocab words are printed in black. During the conversation lessons, you can opt for English subtitles under helps visual learners in an audio-heavy exercise. You can also find flashcard exercises to keep your Spanish skills sharp.
Most of the games in Ouino have time limits, training you to recall words quickly. The word games focus on correct spelling and grammar, which mean you'll need to take your time. In the recall games, as in spelling games, the faster you answer the question, the more points you'll earn.
Setup & Support
When you study a new language, you need all the help you can get. As you would expect from such a good product, the publisher provides excellent help and support for those learning to speak Spanish with Ouino. The tutorials and demos in this program are excellent and correspond with the helpful user manual and the FAQs section on the Ouino website. You can reach the publisher for direct assistance by telephone or email. Ouino also provides answers to language learning questions on its YouTube channel.
The manufacturers of Ouino trust students to follow the best individual learning path. The lessons are flexible, so you can start or finish with any lesson. This may require more discipline if you want to continue to challenge yourself rather than focus on the lessons you pass easily. Because of this, it's best to move linearly if you're a new student to the Spanish language. As you progress, the software keeps track of your lessons so that you move toward fluency. While Ouino is effective, it may not be the best choice for busy people. Because it lacks mobile or online services, you are strapped to your computer if you want to complete lessons or gain fluency.