As you may have noticed, I have an ad for LinguaLift displayed on the right side of my page. I was recently contacted about spreading the word about their Japanese learning program. I'd just like to say, that I'm not being paid -- I'm actually not being paid for this at all-- to say nice things about them. This is 110% my own opinion.
First up, currently there are four accessible sections: E-Textbook, Kanji Academy, Vocab Lab, and the Arcade. The fifth section, Pronunciation Studio, isn't available, yet (however, clicking it leads to a cute little thought-provoking haiku). So far, I haven't used Vocab lab very much.
E-Textbook is exactly as it sounds: a virtual textbook. It's much more interesting than a lot of Japanese textbooks I've come across. That's important, because it is where most of your time will be used. The "textbook" is broken up into levels. Within each level, there are around 8 chapters. Each chapter consists of lessons with added "cultural notes" and dialogue, a short assessment, and an educational time-waster video.
Kanji Academy and Vocab Lab are basically multiple choice flash card programs for learning new words (non-romaji). Each set it listed according to JPLT order. You have the option of choosing "Not Sure", "Learning", or "Mastered" upon being shown a new term. If you choose "Not Sure" you are shown the word several times (with words in between), until you demonstrate mastery.
The Arcade, is an arcade. You play games to assist your mastery of the language. Nothing more to be said about that.
What I liked (✔) and disliked (✗) so far:
✔ Little to no romaji: Although it initially uses romaji, LinguaLift drops it fairly quickly in order to aid your learning. Since romaji can actually be an impediment, rather than useful, I was quite pleased. They offer useful printout sheets to help you learn the stroke order, as well as the kana (hiragana & katakana).
✔ Mouseover readings for kanji: For kanji characters, LinguaLift offers mouseover readings and translations! I loved this. Upon putting your mouse on an unknown kanji, a little bubble pops up above with how to read it in hiragana. This reading is also separated by character. So, above 仕事 (job, work), a little bubble appears with し·ごと. This lets me know that the first character is read as "shi" and the second is "goto". This is extremely handy when learning the multiple readings of a kanji character. Plus, I just enjoy knowing why a certain word is read in that way.
✔ Answers are color-coded: In the Assessment area, upon choosing a correct answer the box turns green. When you choose the wrong answer, it turns red. You can easily see what you did wrong.
✔ Japanese Audio: On the lessons, terms being discussed have Japanese audio so you can hear how it is correctly pronounced.
✔ Jukugo ("compund words") instead of just listing onyomi or kunyomi: In Kanji Academy, instead of simply listing the possible readings for certain kanji, they list words that use the kanji in various way. It's a lot less time consuming than memorizing every single reading and when to use it.
✔ Little snippets for remembering a kanji's appearance: Since I'm a visual learner, I quite enjoyed this. Underneath most of the kanji, you can a read a few sentences that will help you remember the kanji.
✗ Easily missed Show More bar: The Show More bar was VERY easy to miss in Kanji Academy. Just a heads up so you guys will find it. It's the gray bar below the jukugo.
✗ Credit Card info is mandatory: Although they have a free trial, you have to put in your credit card information. I suppose it's just to prevent people from running off without paying, but I found it a minor annoyance.
All in all, it's pretty good so far. The things I enjoyed greatly outweighed the things I disliked by a VERY large margin. I'm going to continue using it, and I'll post my final review in a month or so.
EDIT: It seems that the credit card is no longer required.