I had a great experience studying Iraqi dialect via SOFTS. I had a unique situation that allowed me to maximize SOFTS on a daily basis. I had just redeployed from Iraq in Aug 09 with a date to deploy again in Jan-Feb 10. SOFTS allowed me to meet my objective of learning the basics of speaking and listening in Iraqi and I didn't need to go TDY to school thus maximizing time with my family. I also had a unique experience because I had a one-on-one class with a gentleman from Iraq that taught me the language and culture of Iraq as well as relayed numerous personal experiences. It was an overall great experience. The helpdesk staff was also great. They were flexible and accommodated the daily classes and time shifts. They know how to keep the system running. I even continued studying while I was TDY for three weeks. The web based application allowed this. The best thing I like about SOFTS is the future possibilities. To get talent, you have to pay for it. This often means TDY for the instructor or creating a desirable location for training (e.g. DLI). SOFTS allows the best instructors to work from home and limit TDY time. Low density or emerging language requirements could be done on line in the future. SOFTS also allows for more flexible training times and locations as long as the bandwidth supports it
The Special Operations Forces Teletraining System (SOFTS) was the best language experience, that I was ever introduced to, my instructor was [Spanish instructor], she was extremely professional, she demonstrated exceptional expertise leading me to passing the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). SOFTs allowed me a better atmosphere to be able to speak more, and learn more in the Spanish course than if I was sitting in a class room on the base, this system is a very well thought out system/process, I would recommend this to all Commands and get more Soldiers within our ranks to utilize this system and help with the fight on learning a different language and improving their language scores.
I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge (Italian Instructor) for the exceptional work she has been doing. I recently took a DLPT and scored a 3/3, with an OPI score of 2 on the ACTFL OPI. Suffice it to say that (Italian Instructor) and the SOFTS program writ large have been instrumental in honing my language skills and setting the conditions for functioning effectively as a SOLO.
Concurrently, the other students in the class have been progressing as well. My wife (SOLO spouse) went from absolute beginner to a score of 1 on the ACTFL OPI over the course of the last year, which is noteworthy considering that we took several months break over the summer to transition from one duty station to another. The third student in our class scored a 1+ on the ACTFL OPI with almost no formal training in Italian prior to the class.
At any rate, I wanted to ensure that I conveyed my satisfaction with the program in general and (Italian Instructor) work in particular. (Italian Instructor) is doing fantastic work and I would encourage you to share my comments as you deem appropriate.
Thanks again for your support and encouragement.