The package I was waiting from the US Institute of Languages, Visual Link Spanish Level 1, arrived the day before yesterday. What surprised me was the speed of delivery. I was charged exactly $0.00 for standard delivery (read slow delivery). And I received the package much before the promised date (6-10 weeks). Makes you wonder why books ordered on Amazon take so long and why do they charge so much for standard delivery? But I am digressing.
Naturally I dived straight in. I am thrilled that what I got is exactly what I expected.
This is a basic level course. The CD-ROM forms the main part of the course although there are other bits and pieces attached (such audio CD's, free English - Spanish - English dictionary, a tiny booklet, etc.)
Although I have been learning Spanish for some time now - mainly with the help of audio courses on my iPod and therefore I was a little apprehensive - I find that this course is helpful. In two ways: first I get to revise whatever Spanish I know so far. and second, the presentation is so well designed that I get to learn new material quickly. There are so many activities that ensures I practice what I learn. I find myself actually mumbling phrases in Spanish.
I particularly enjoy the lessons that are generative. Here's what I mean. Most of the lessons (though not all) have words divided into groups. New sentences (not just the one prompted in the lessons) can be formed by combining the words for these groups. I look forward to move to higher levels of Spanish once I complete Level 1, which should not take that long.
You can try out the first few lessons free if you click on the link above or click on the pyramid on the right.