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Spanish DVD Review: A Comparison Between Two Programs


When learning Spanish on a DVD, it is important to understand what video language instruction means, and what it does not mean. Many less-than forthright Spanish DVD manufacturers will sell DVDs that aren't videos, or movies at all, but rather just text printed on a screen, with a voice in the background. This defies any licensed educator's concept of multimedia learning. The only thing that makes these DVDs "videos", is the fact that there is a disc running in the DVD player. Nothing more, nothing less.

It is essential that as a consumer interested in a quality Spanish learning experience on video, that you buy the right DVDs, and not a charlatan's version of a DVD. With this in mind, it is now time to review two very different Spanish instruction DVD lessons being sold on the Internet. After reading these reviews of two extremely distinct Spanish lesson DVDs, you will have an unmistakably clear idea of which video is the best for Spanish learning and which is the worst. By comparing these two dramatically different Spanish language learning videos, we hope you will make an informed decision as a consumer, and pay to learn Spanish, rather than to be hoodwinked by unscrupulous lesson planners.

The two DVD programs for learning Spanish that we are comparing are called Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion (The 8 DVD Set) and the other, simply called Learn Spanish DVD: Level 1, and its second version, called Learn Spanish DVD: Level 2.

"Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion" versus "Learn Spanish DVD"
Let's just say that if you buy Level 1 of "Learn Spanish DVD", and if you actually make it through the entire DVD, there is a very slim possibility that you will buy Level 2. You may, however, buy the second DVD, knowing that your level of Spanish learning is at Level 2. It could be intermediate, or upper basic. So you may go ahead and buy Level 2, bypassing Level 1. Likewise, you will regret it: you are not likely to go on and buy Level 2 of the Learn Spanish DVD series. In their teaching style and their approach to the lessons, both video levels are identical - the only way to tell each level apart is the lessons spit out upon the screen. That's right, they're just artlessly spit upon the screen. The ONLY consumers who I think would appreciate that are extremely left brained people who don't appreciate a visceral approach to learning. Also, these viewers must be addled on caffeine, because it is hard not to fall asleep when watching these. It is like being in front of an extremely boring powerpoint presentation. Even very logically minded left-brain types are likely to fall asleep, if they are not on some strong sort of stimulant. So, sure, if all you want is something resembling an automated powerpoint presentation, and you have ingested plenty of No-Doze capsules before hitting play, then Learn Spanish DVD is the choice for you. For the rest of us, however, it is a big waste of money.

Indeed, if you want to compare prices between Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion and the Learn Spanish DVD option, at first it looks like the cheap DVD is Learn Spanish DVD. If you buy these videos online, the latter option is selling for about US $18 dollars for one DVD. Package it up with a second level (in addition to level 1 and level 2, they are also offering Level 3, and so on), and you can get two DVDs for about $35 dollars, new. Compare that price to Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion, and one box set is going for $27.99, if you buy online. Sure that's ten bucks more than the other option, but remember that you are getting 8 DVDs. So the price per DVD is much, much cheaper. Also remember that you can get used Spanish instructional DVDS at clearance prices, which means that they are for sale online for cheap - you can buy these learn Spanish DVD programs at extreme discount prices.

So, after comparing the prices of these two different Spanish instructional DVDs, Spanish learning DVDs are also cheaper!

But getting back to what is more important than the price of Spanish instructional DVDs is the content of the videos: what are you actually getting, and will it help you learn Spanish quickly, easily and comprehensively. That, after all, is the whole point. In that sense, Learn Spanish DVD hardly deserves the title "DVD", especially when compared to Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion. That is because the Learn Spanish DVD really is not a video, or anything resembling the educational approach that some Spanish teachers refer to as video learning. Video learning involves making a movie out of the Spanish lesson - telling a story on video, and engaging you, the viewer. At its best, a Spanish learning DVD will captivate your attention so that you cease to be merely a student, but rather much more: an audience. You become an audience member, involved and engaged in the story line. Now, this doesn't meant that you have to be on the edge of your seat the whole time you are watching your Spanish instructional DVD, - we're not talking about making Spanish language learning a terrifying thriller, that's not necessary - but engaging you does mean that the DVD should have a story that will entertain you, and involved you in the learning process. If you want to get something out of your Spanish instructional DVD, then getting involved is absolutely essential. An entertaining story that immerses you in the video experience, as much as it immerses you in the language, therefore, becomes the vehicle by you will actually learn Spanish on a DVD.

Spanish DVD immersions can also mean that Spanish words, expressions, phrases and syntax can be taught to you through the DVD. Once you learn these Spanish grammar and vocabulary through the video lessons, you may then be required to know them, in order to understand what happens in the next scene. That's part of what "immersion" means in the first place - diving in to the way people talk and being forced to engage in conversations to get around.

And that's exactly the principle on which "Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion" operates. By taking you on an enchanting voyage down into the heart of the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, the instructor takes you by the hand in this unknown world and helps you through basic conversation skills with the locals, empowering you with essential grammar and vocabulary. Okay, so it might sound a bit hokey the way we're describing it, but that's honestly how we felt - like we were there. And the language skills that you can learn when watching this don't seem like they're simply taught to you for the sake of learning, but rather for the sake of getting by in the video. Furthermore, you WANT to get by in the video. From the first moment and on throughout the story, you are entranced and engaged in the beautiful surroundings, and you are compelled to participated. Compare that to the Learn Spanish DVD series and it's a world of difference. Indeed, one way to compare the two programs is this: if someone were to interrupt you in the middle of watching any of "Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion", you would feel annoyed, like someone had just ripped you out of the jungle and thrown you back into your living room. On the other hand, if you were to be interrupted while watching any of the Learn Spanish DVDs, you would pounce on the opportunity - any opportunity - to escape from the dreariness and boredom of those lessons, which really feel like they are part of someone's power point presentation.

And that's the problem with all too many Spanish learning DVDs these days. They are people standing in front of a white board, or voice narration superimposed over powerpoint text, and there is no visual stimulation, no participative storyline - the sad truth is that there are many bad Spanish DVD lessons out there, and all too many people buy them. That's why we wanted to step in and compare the Learn Lingo DVDs with Learn Spanish DVDs, and tell you which one is the best. "Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion" really is the best Spanish instructional DVD out there for adults, and many children as well. It makes its Spanish lessons accessible, and accomplishes what really is hard to accomplish in the field of multimedia education - you learn Spanish, without hardly knowing that you are taking a lesson in any conventional sense of the word. Yet you end up speaking Spanish, and being able to have conversations with people in Spanish after watching these DVDs and learning from them, because underlying the beautiful imagery and the engaging story line, there are fundamental tools of grammar and vocabulary being taught, and you are learning them.

That's why in addition to being a way for you to learn Spanish quickly, easily and for a discount price on your own, "Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion" 8-piece set also can be used as an excellent teaching tool - as DVDs for Spanish teachers, these movies can be assigned to students as either supplemental learning materials, or as an integral part of the progression of a lesson plan. All the Spanish teacher needs to do is study the set of videos, and the lessons being advanced in each DVD, and then work the class schedule around them, assigning supplemental homework and creating multimedia and interactive lessons that correspond to the lessons given in Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion DVDs.

As a part of a teaching curriculum, or as a way for you to learn Spanish on your own, the Learn Lingo "Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion" 8-DVD series outshines all others, especially in comparison to the dull and dry lesson plans offered in any of the Learn Spanish DVD levels.

That said, we have no invested interest in one or the other. You are free to buy the Learn Spanish DVDs, and have provided you the link to buy that DVD. But after reviewing and comparing both DVD programs, we strongly recommend that consumers of all stripes opt for "Learn Lingo's Complete Spanish Immersion" 8-DVD series. We have come to this recommendation because we feel that the latter option makes it easier for you to learn Spanish than if you buy the poorer DVD. In fact, you are more likely that you will go ultimately accomplish your goal of learning Spanish - so that is why we give the Learn Lingo program a positive review and the other, a negative review.

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