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Ouino Spanish review
Ouino Spanish (pronounced like “we know”) is advertised as a “complete” Spanish language learning resource, “the best Spanish-learning investment you’ll ever make”. Which, honestly, is no different from most other resources. On top of that, I had never heard of Ouino before!
So what is Ouino Spanish all about? Who’s it for, and who should spend their money elsewhere? Let’s talk about it!
Ouino Spanish: the first glance
On Ouino’s homepage, you’ll see several videos discussing everyone else’s approach to language learning versus theirs. And, to be honest, Ouino won me with that! I always talk about how language learning is not one-size-fits-all, and I was So happy to see that Ouino was saying those same things.
These videos acknowledge things like
- Everybody has different goals, so it doesn’t make sense for everyone to follow the same learning path
- Everybody is at different levels, so many language platforms are too fast or too slow for some
- Language learning requires a multi-faceted approach, hitting all four language skills
- Levels like beginner/intermediate/advanced are vague and everybody has different opinions as to what they actually mean
Suffice to say….at first glance, I’m a fan. Though Ouino only covers a few languages:
And right off the bat, you get to choose your learning path.
That being said, Ouino Spanish is more than just talk – it’s action, too!
And by the way, throughout these screenshots you’ll see how absolutely GORGEOUS this platform is. I am blown away. Like, it also includes some chill jazzy music playing in the background (with the option to turn it off, as well).
From here on out, I proclaim Ouino to be Classy Rosetta Stone! You’ll see.
Ouino Spanish’s language skills
Because the language skills were mentioned so directly, I decided to jump right into how Ouino Spanish approaches them.
Once I clicked on “Reading”, the next step was to choose my level of reading.
Remember how Ouino Spanish mentioned that the usual level terms (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) are vague and largely unhelpful? They stepped up their descriptions to give you a solid idea of what these difficulty levels actually include.
And y’all…just look at how absolutely stunning it is! Like, are the people behind Ouino video game developers or something? Because holy crap, this is the classiest language learning platform I have ever seen!
Seriously. So. Stunning. Like wow. The entire thing is so smooth and satisfying, Ouino Spanish gets an A+++ just for usability!
This reading portion also includes a couple little details that I really like and have not seen anywhere else. The first of which being the ability to toggle between bilingual, Spanish-only, and alternating. This is a fantastic way to offer language learners the flexibility to practice reading the way they like.
Everybody always asks if it’s better to read with or without the translation, and the answer is that it depends. I’m really glad Ouino gives us this option!
The second little detail I really like is that you only see one line at a time. This way, Ouino Spanish prevents overwhelm when reading, which is definitely a thing that can happen. Definitely a surprising feature!
Next up: speaking.
Just like reading, speaking starts out by asking your preferred level of difficulty. This is where my first issue with Ouino Spanish comes up.
Though this section is labeled Speaking, I wish they would be more clear that you won’t be practicing conversational skills. Instead, Ouino’s speaking section refers to pronunciation practice.
While pronunciation is important, it’s also important to understand you will not get conversation practice using Ouino Spanish.
Instead, you’ll get some pretty basic sentences to repeat, using your device’s microphone.
While the sentences are simple, I do still really like the platform. You hear the native recording of the sentence, record yourself repeating it, and can toggle back and forth between recordings to listen for any discrepancies between the two.
Considering how iffy speech recognition tends to be, this is a pretty decent fix for getting in real pronunciation practice without crossing your fingers and hoping that you’ll be heard correctly.
Again, the listening section is also pretty simple. It’s just like the speaking section, but instead of repeating a phrase back, you put the words in the order that they were said.
Keep in mind that this screenshot was taken before I answered the question; yup, the words were already presented to me in order. I would’ve liked it if they weren’t and it was more of a challenge. The first time I tested this, literally half of the phrases were already in order, I just had to click them.
Not the most challenging…I would love the option to do a fill-in-the-blank or writing exercises. Definitely good for beginners who need to work on basic listening, but not for more advanced learners.
Finally we have Ouino Spanish’s writing practice. This is again, pretty similar to the listening, but now it includes writing the phrase out (like what I’d prefer the listening to include).
I do see how this is a decent way of breaking up your Spanish practice into the four language skills, which I don’t disapprove of. However, I am also all about efficient language learning, and that part of me wants to combine the listening and writing practice together into one activity.
That would be much more efficient, but, like I said, not as black-and-white when it comes to practicing all 4 of the language skills.
Nonetheless, this written practice is still just as gorgeous, even if you get it wrong!
Seriously, this thing is so pretty, I don’t think I would even care if I accidentally got it wrong!
While vocab isn’t an official language skill, Ouino Spanish does include it as a part of their program, which is awesome.
I am just a tiny bit disappointed in how they execute it, though. Let me show you.
Ouino Spanish is very clear about how they color-code the words, which is nice: blue for masculine, red for feminine, black for neutral. Again, great stuff for beginner language learners!
Why does it say “example” next to the words? Why doesn’t it have the example written out? The sentences are simple enough and short enough, I don’t see any reasons why they can’t stick them in there so that we can practice reading them without having to click through everything. Seems like a waste to me.
Also, this lesson is on the colors (obviously), meaning it’s a beginner lesson. With beginner lessons, you need to take things pretty slow. Which is why I’m not sure why they included colors like burgundy and turquoise in there. That seems kind of overwhelming, and you don’t want to overwhelm beginners.
Once you finish learning this new vocab, you have a few options for practice.
And because the lesson itself is pretty simple, so are these exercises, which are fine. Some of them are listening and choosing multiple-choice, and some of them have you write out the answers on your own.
Generally speaking, they’re not too different from each other. One major thing to give Ouino Spanish kudos for: I didn’t put in the accent, and they marked it wrong! Yaaaaaay! So glad this is another language learning resources that keeps you accountable with accents.
Does that make up for the fact that there’s so much English? I don’t know. I don’t like how they seem to be more interested in having you translate correctly, as opposed to learning to think in the language. In my opinion, the less English, the better.
Last but not least, let’s check in on those grammar lessons, see what they’re like.
The content itself is…surprisingly unattractive, considering the background the rest of the platform. Nonetheless, there is a TON of information, and the audio basically constantly repeats all the different conjugations.
The initial lesson is more like an info dump than anything else. There’s an okay amount of practice once you get past this, but the best way to learn these kinds of conjugations is through practice, so I’d like it if you could practice actively conjugating right as you’re learning.
Then we get to that practice.
Am I the only one who feels like this section was just kind of thrown in there last minute or something? I mean, compared to that BEAUTIFUL reading section, this definitely feels a lot like Rosetta Stone’s decade-behiind games.
Ah well. Ouino Spanish does provide you with some active practice. I’m not 100% sure that it’s enough (tener conjugations are really hard sometimes, and they’re also really common), or maybe I’m just being pessimistic.
Again, this feels a lot like Rosetta Stone’s games for monthly membership members (say that five times fast!).
Ouino Spanish: price point
Ouino Spanish, just like Rosetta Stone, is a bit on the pricier side.
If this is the best way for you to learn Spanish the way you want to, though, it’s not bad at all! Plus, all these prices come with a 60-day guarantee, and everything I’ve mentioned in this review? You can see it all for yourself, for free.
To try Ouino Spanish for free, you can do so just by going on the website itself. No contact information needed! You can only access the first lessons to get a taste of what it’s all about, and you don’t get access to the mobile app, but you do get to see how delightfully smooth it all is!
Who should try Ouino Spanish
So should you give it a shot? Well, if you want total control over your Spanish studies, I would say yes. Ouino Spanish allows you to decide what you’re going to learn and when, and helps you push on most of the language skills.
I say most because you will not get any speaking practice. Pronunciation practice, yes, but one of Ouino’s flaws is that it does not provide you any opportunity whatsoever to practice actual conversation skills.
Another major flaw is that it doesn’t seem to focus on authentic fluency, just translating skills. Instead of training your brain to function in Spanish, there seems to be a lot more training you translating skills. Which isn’t my preferred way of learning a language. But that’s just me!
If those flaws aren’t deal-breakers, and you’re looking for a BEAUTIFUL, pretty well-rounded, and insanely customizable Spanish language learning experience, Ouino Spanish is just what you’re looking for!