Although not everyone immediately thinks of German when they think about learning a second language, you would be surprised how useful it is, especially in Europe. It is spoken in Germany of course, which is one of the largest countries in Europe in terms of population. It is also spoken in Austria and a large part of Switzerland. You will also found it spoken in countries that surround Germany spreading to the Baltic and Balkan nations.
It is a good language to have if you want to travel to any of these countries and not resort to speaking English when you get there. It is also a good language to have for business as Germany is an important trading partner with many countries throughout the world, especially in the automobile industry, IT and financial services. People in these fields could get increased career opportunities if they spoke German.
Of course if you want to learn the German language by using learning German software then it may not be a straightforward task to select the right course for your needs. There are many out there and you might find yourself going round in circles trying to get the right one.
It is often very hard to give a definitive answer when it comes to recommending a particular course because everybody learns in different ways and have different objectives. I would say that you should want this software to be able to teach you the four key skills to learning a language. You should be taught how to speak, comprehend, read and write.
Of course, learning all these skills takes quite a commitment in effort and time so your objective might not be this all encompassing. For example, you may have plans to spend the European winter skiing in Austria and only commit to learning how to speak and understand German. In this case you want a course that concentrates on these skills at the expense of the others.
So the point is that you have to understand your objectives first and foremost. After that, you want to understand how the software teaches you the language.
Some software chooses to simply tell you what to do without explaining how it is done. The thinking behind this is that we are thought to pick up language intuitively without needing the hows explained to us. In effect this is like the immersion process of learning a language. Immersion is effectively living in a German speaking country without access to English speakers. In this way you stay motivated and get constant chances to hear and use German.
This is good in theory and most people agree that immersion is the best way to learn. So software that can replicate this method would seem to be a good product. Thus the method is only truly effective, if the software is used often or constantly to replicate this immersion process. And even if they are fairly self motivated, it is impossible to cut off your ‘real’ life that entails speaking in English.
Other courses are more traditional in the sense that they tell you what to say and then explain why or how this works. So they will tell you what to say in a situation and then explain the rules or grammar of what was said or the meaning of the vocabulary. Grammar may make no sense, nor the vocabulary at first. This may seem like a difficult way to learn too but understand why something works, like grammar, can give a person confidence and speak to more people.