Review Series: Rosetta Stone TOTALe – Part 2

by Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström Nov 12, 2009
Rosetta Stone TOTALe™ Studio
Last week, I wrote the first of three reviews covering Rosetta stone’s new comprehensive online learning program called TOTALe and its core module, Rosetta Course in my language of choice – Swedish.

This second review covers Rosetta Studio™ which allows you to practice what you’ve learned by engaging you in “structured conversations with learners at your level”. A way of building your confidence to verbally practice what you’ve learned.

Getting Started

The way Studio works is this: once you’ve reached a certain learning milestone, for example, you’ve completed all 35 lessons under Level 1 Unit 1, you can choose to “Schedule” a studio session.

You can always schedule sessions without reaching any recommended milestones, but once you’re in class and you begin interacting without any basics, you’ll quickly understand why milestones are important.

Each studio session is a live chat session with language learners at your level as well as a Studio Coach that facilitates the discussion for 50 minutes each session. You choose your day and time slot from a calendar and you get a reminder to log in a few minutes before it starts.

My Studio Experience

So I signed up for an 11 PM session slot, eager to find out what Rosetta Studio was all about. Right on schedule, my coach Anna was waiting for me. I could see Anna in the top left corner box and I was the only student or “elev” who’d signed up for that time slot.

This turned out to be advantageous. I had Anna’s full attention.

Easy access to one-on-one conversations with a native speaker at a time of my choosing from anywhere in the world was fantastic.

Rosetta Stone TOTALe™ Studio

After pleasant introductions, she’d ask me questions, waiting patiently, listening, and politely correcting me when I goofed. She’d point to various visual learning elements, ask questions, and prompt me to ask follow up questions as well. She sometimes typed up the right spellings for clarification so I could see what the right words looked like in written form.

By the time we were halfway through our 50 minute session, we were laughing (mostly because of intentional nonsensical answers I gave), and….wait for it….we were actually having a ton of fun.

Jättebra! (“Very Good”) she’d exclaim when I answered correctly or kind of answered correctly by saying what the item wasn’t. For example, I’d answer “Det är inte gult” which means “It isn’t yellow” when she’d point to an odd color I didn’t quite recognize and such.

Once our session was up, I’d learned a lot in just that short time frame. After exchanging “Hej då” (goodbyes), Anna noted she’d like to see me in the Studio again and I promised to set up a new session once I reached another learning milestone.

Rosetta Stone TOTALe™ Studio
The Verdict?

This feature alone is what makes TOTALe ™ a superb learning product. In my previous review, I addressed the pricing structure in the comments section because (let’s face it) Rosetta Stone isn’t cheap.

Side note
There are 3 Levels with 4 Units each and each Unit has roughly 30-35 lessons, so with Rosetta Stone, you’re getting 3 x 4 x 30-35 = 360-420 lessons.

But its interactive TOTALe ™ Studio module and the easy access it provides to live chats and sessions with a real teacher and fellow students is such an invaluable tool.

It fosters remote learning from anywhere in the world where internet access is available so you could be learning Swedish with a live native speaker while island hopping around the South Pacific.

Rosetta Stone should consider the option of also selling Studio as a standalone subscription product.


What to Watch Out For

Since Studio uses Flash, make sure you’ve installed the required plug-in. You will also be reminded to do so before you start the session. Also, if your internet connection isn’t fast and reliable, your experience will be miserable.


Though I’ve been using an existing headset to go through the audio courses, I only just discovered a free headset tucked away in a compartment behind the set of CDs in that signature yellow Rosetta Stone box. Sweet!

Read Review Series: Rosetta Stone TOTALe – Part 1.

Pricing information

The entire program costs $1,199 per year and this includes unlimited online access to the three modules outlined above and an accompanying audio kit to use offline for learning the courses.

And now as part of the launch of TOTALe, Rosetta Stone is offering an introductory price of $999. Click here for more details on how to purchase the program.

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