Rosetta Stone for Language Learning
An Exploratory Study
The Rosetta Stone program advertises that it can teach language as effectively as, or even more effectively than, a typical classroom-learning environment. Little research has examined this claim, but as institutions are asked to cut costs and simultaneously embrace digital technologies, these programs are often considered as a possible solution to potentially replace teachers or other personnel. This exploratory multiple case study examines the claims and learning outcomes of the Rosetta Stone program among beginning Spanish learners to assess the effects of a semester-long treatment in which participants used Rosetta Stone as their class textbook or alone (instead of any class attendance), as compared to a control group. Data analysis focuses on learner outcomes in terms of linguistic production as well as their attitudes about the materials. Results reveal qualitative differences characterizing learners’ speech and strategies, as well as their reactions to the program. While continued investigation is needed, these initial results do not yet provide indication that the Rosetta Stone program, although possibly able to deliver success in some areas, would be capable of replacing the classroom language learning experience.