Vocabooster from LanguageBoost Review
So I went through Vocabooster and released a video about using it during my Learn Ukrainian Mission and you can watch my review video below.
So what was my conclusion of having gone through the Vocabooster course?
So how how did I find my experience with Vocabooster?
Vocabooster has two modes for its courses: Beginner and Intermediate. As I was a beginner in Ukrainian, I followed the latter mode as I already speak Russian (cognate language to Ukrainian) and so felt I could skip the Beginner mode.
There are approximately 600 words with bilingual sentences. The texts are 3-fold : native language (English only at the moment), target language (Ukrainian here) and finally the literal word order in English.
This Intermediate Mode involved 3 steps:
1. Listening to the audio and repeating out loud the words and sentences
2. Putting the new words into new sentences that I would make up and were relevant to me personally
3. Mentally translating the sentences into English and verifying that they were correct.
Basically Vocabooster works in a similar manner to Glossika (which is designed for intermediate and advanced learners) but has also incorporated Anki decks for spaced repetition learning of the vocabulary.
The method works on the premise that listening, reading and using the Anki decks will intuitively allow you to develop the very basics in your new language.
I would describe Vocabooster as ‘Glossika for beginners’ (with Anki decks).
Vocabooster is available in a multitude of languages, including most of those that I speak!
1. Intuitive – The bilingual sentences along with native speaker audio are effective as they allow you to absorb the vocabulary and patterns of the new language (i.e. syntax/grammar) without huge effort as they are quite intuitive.
2. Use of the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule – this rule hypothesizes that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.
Now in reality, it’s not going to break down exactly 80/20 but Vocabooster does focus on the words and sentences that are likely to be relevant to you when you start with your new language – this should give a beginner boost!
3. Time utilization – The audios and sentences can be accessed from your smartphone/tablet/computer so Vocabooster is easy to use any time of day when you have some free time to kill.
For me this is important as wannabe language learning often tell me that they don’t have ‘enough time’. I don’t buy that – you are simply not utilizing your time effectively!
4. Spaced Repetition with Anki – I have always been skeptical of the value of such apps as I found that trying to memorize vocabulary outside of natural context very ineffective for me.
I had thought perhaps it would work a little better for the most essential basic words when starting a new language and here with Vocabooster it seemed to work pretty well as I found that it helped with recalling the basic words that it teaches.
Ukraine – a fantastic country blighted by political turmoil – was the focus of my language mission for 2016
1. Extent of the course vs price: Vocabooster teaches you the basic beginner vocabulary for a price of US$59. As a beginner course that could be considered more expensive than other courses, like Glossika, for the amount of content it provides.
So it really depends on what value you place on getting your vocabulary kick-started at the beginning with a new language. If you that price tag is what you are willing to pay to save you a lot of time at the beginning then it’s for you.
2. Voice recognition – not possible to compare your pronunciation to that of the native speaker and see the differences. You have to rely on your own awareness (which is limited in a new language as new sounds are difficult to distinguish).
3. Limited culture-specific information to the target language: Vocabooster has tailored the sentences for each language and this provide a little of the culture-specific information. It’s better than a lot of the standard course but still quite limited.
4. No Gamification: Vocabooster does not feature any gamification which is a popular element in other courses like, Duolingo, for example. However, personally I have never found gamification in these apps addictive in the slighteset way so for me gamification is of little value in any case.
So would I recommend using Vocabooster?
As a supplementary method for learning a language that you are starting out with, like Ukrainian for me, I found that Vocabooster did help reinforce what I was learning in situ on my Learn Ukrainian Mission and in my language classes.
It’s also easy to use and did aid my understanding of the basics of Ukrainian which I was then able to apply immediately on location in Lviv.
So overall, I’m giving Vocabooster a qualified thumbs up!