I have never used Rosetta Stone. As a lifelong language learner and teacher, I believe strongly in the foundation of the program. Language is presented in an immersive way, much like we learn our native language. Images, sound and vocabulary create an experience that allows you to naturally absorb new vocabulary and grammar, all in context. The TPR (total physical response) required to move through the lessons is an effective strategy to learn new language in context. And while I like the premise, I have an issue with the price. I am not sure that the ROI on a single level course that they offer might not be better spent on one-to-one lessons on italki. Also, I know of two completely engaging alternatives at a fraction of the cost.
I have been told that this program was the inspiration for Rosetta Stone. They offer homeschooled children the opportunity to study languages regardless of whether their parents can speak the language or not. Check out these samples:
Each level of their courses is the equivalent to a year-long course in high school.
One of my very favorite programs in my early stages of a language is Instant Immersion. You can buy the software CD or download it from their online store.
First, they give you audio for many basic survival phrases. They also provide you with a DVD video phrasebook. While these features are great, the games are what really engage me. Here is a peek at just a few:
In addition to these great features, there is also a companion app and printable PDF materials. The program is great value for money.