How to choose the best platforms to learn English?
We all have unique learning styles, preferences, interests, and schedules so the sites below are by no means a one size fits all solution. It also depends on what skills you feel you need the most help with and how you learn best.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when choosing the best websites to learn English.
If you head over to our effective language learning article (insert link) you will see that enjoyment plays an important role when learning a new language. Polyglots (those who speak several languages to a high level of fluency) have found a way of enjoying the learning process by introducing methods of learning that they find fun. It can be learning through games with friends, in online language learning communities or using fun online learning tools and resources. Any activities you enjoy in your own language, can also be used to learn a second, third and even fourth language.
There are a variety of resources online that help you learn while also keeping you entertained. Learn English through the lyrics of your favourite song, your favourite TV show or blockbuster movie. Listen to radio interviews, podcasts and talks. Read classic novels, news and magazine articles. Play interactive vocabulary and grammar games online. In this way, you can spend hours learning without it feeling like work!
How do you learn best? Are you a solo learner or prefer learning with others?
Are you self-motivated or need someone to keep reminding you to study?
Do you learn well by studying from textbooks or only by practicing and doing?
Are words, pictures or moving images your thing?
Do you work best in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
How many hours can you realistically spend learning a week without it becoming a chore?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on your online English language learning journey.
Being self-motivated and studying independently is 100% possible. But there are real benefits to connecting with others who are on the same journey as you. Not only can you offer each other encouragement, but you can exchange all sorts of valuable information. There may be times on your learning journey when you simply cannot get your head around a grammatical concept, or your tongue around a difficult to pronounce word. Others may get it completely and be able to explain and show. Those who are on the same journey will not be judgemental, so you will feel more confident practicing your speaking with them. And finally, the other language learners you connect with could become lifetime friends. And making new friends can never be a bad thing.
Don’t Bore Yourself
Use a variety of different resources to keep things interesting. The first 5 times you listen to your favourite song in English to learn the lyrics, it will be great. But even the most enjoyable karaoke session gets tiresome after a while. By using a variety of different resources, not only are you catering to all 4 skills, but you will also be appealing to your different learning styles and methods. With so many resources available online, both free and paid, you won’t struggle to keep your learning fresh and varied.
Read on for the best platforms to learn English 2022.
Paid Online English Learning Platforms, Apps, and Websites
Get vocabulary practice through flashcards, a free trial lesson with your chosen tutor and connect with the Busuu Community to chat with other language learners from all over the world 100% free. Busuu provide 1:1 or group lessons. The price of these will depend on the tutor. Upgrade to the Premium or Premium Plus account to access all the features, including submitting work to be checked and corrected and personalised lesson plans. The Premium account is $6.96p.m and Premium Plus is $7.57 (these prices are expressed in Euros on the site).
Lingoda allow you to join for free and benefit from a 7-day trial before making a financial commitment. Like Busuu, they provide 1:1 and group classes with expert tutors. The group classes are kept small, with a max of 5 people per class. You can sign up for monthly payments of $9.50 per class or commit to 3, 6 or 12 months in a one off payment for $6.75 per class.
Babbel offers app-based lessons that focus on real-world English conversation, whatever your level. Learn vocabulary, grammar and explore British culture through live online classes, original podcasts, interactive games and videos. Subscribe for 1 ($12.95), 3 ($8.95), 6 ($7.45) or 12 months ($6.95) to benefit from unlimited live classes and access to all resources.
You will find pages of different courses provided by a variety of qualified individuals and organisations on Udemy. They also provide a host of free resources and tools to support your learning, test your knowledge and practice what you have learnt. Because all the courses are pre-recorded video lessons, you can choose when you study and for how long. There is no face-to-face contact with an individual tutor, or an opportunity to connect with other learners. So, you will want to supplement your courses with other online learning tools and resources.
Learn English online with this online academy providing free resources for pronunciation and conversation. For $27 p.m you get unlimited access to courses, lessons, videos and other resources. With the membership, you get a daily plan from Rachel that tells you what you need to work on, live classes with her and access to the language learning community.
Cambly is one of the best websites to learn English with qualified and experienced tutors. Choose from basic, intermediate or advanced conversation topic bundles. Practice your speaking skills and topics for the IELTS and TOEFL, English for Professional Development, or choose from their comprehensive list of conversation topics. Choose a regular tutor to practice with or try a different one each time. Download the app and learn anywhere, any time.
Also check out Italki, that offers free 30-minute trial lessons and a pay per lesson structure or Preply, where a tutor will find you on submission of a request detailing your needs. Like Cambly, both provide a free dowloadable app for both Apple and Android.
As the name would suggest, this site is for those of you who are looking to take an internationally recognised certification in English. They have mock papers, articles, advice, exercises and activities to help you prepare. You can pay weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually to gain full access to the sites’ services.
Free Online English Learning websites, apps and platforms
EdX is a Massive Open Online Course provider (MOOC) created by Harvard and MIT. There are a range of different free courses to help you in exam preparation, vocabulary learning, writing, reading and speaking. EdX use cutting edge cognitive science techniques to help you learn English faster and smarter through video lectures, interactive activities, and visual representations. Test what you have learnt with quizzes and assessments. All materials and resources are designed to teach you what you need to know to go out and apply it in your everyday life.
English class 101
English class 101 has a host of online learning tools, vocabulary banks, self-assessment quizzes, flashcards and video lessons for free. Learn English online 1:1 with a teacher with an annual subscription for $100 or $199 per year. All video lessons are all conversation based. Listen to a conversation, hear a teacher translate the video for you in your native language, and get the opportunity to practice that conversation. By the end of a 15-minute lesson you will have everything you need to have a short conversation in English. English class 101 currently have a free level 1 English course available until March 2022. So, register quickly!
The British Council
The British Council website has many free resources for you to learn English online. Learn new vocabulary with flashcards and online games. Learn grammar rules with their library of explanatory blogs and articles. Learn conversational English and vocab through videos and podcasts. Practice your reading skills and test your comprehension with their online activities and exercises. Whatever your level or needs you are bound to find something to suit you on this site!
Head over to BBC Learning English for access to 6-minute English where you will find podcasts on a variety of different topics. These 6-minute podcasts will help you develop your listening, speaking and vocabulary. Choose from topics about the Earth’s environment to why Mario from Mario Bros is so popular…
Designed for those who plan to sit one of the English exams such as TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS. Receive free practice through their large library of resources. All resources are created to help you get the test score you want. Their resources also include easy to understand grammatical explanations. You can even test your level or take a practice test in the exam of your choosing.
Learn English online free with Alison! This site offers free English courses from beginner to advanced level. Choose from a basic English conversation course to English for tourism and hospitality. Most courses are 2-3 hours long. You do not have to do it all once. When you log back into the course it will put you back where you left off. There is also a useful progress bar at the top of the screen to show you how far you are through the course. Alison also provides paid courses, certifications and degrees in English from reputable universities.
Fluent in 3 months
Benny Lewis offers Language Hacks to help you learn to speak English faster and better. He promises that after 90 days you will be able to have a 15-minute conversation in English, or your money back. He runs his free courses as challenges that you need to register for. So, you will need to get in quick on registration. The site also provides a free “Speak in a Week” course via email if you are desperate to find out some hacks before you take the 3-month challenge. This is a great resource to learn English online for free and one of the best websites to learn English.
This is a free app that you can download on your computer, tablet or phone to learn English online. It provides flashcards, translation exercises, commonly used phrases, and audio recordings to check pronunciation. There is also a Duolingo community and forum where you can find extra help and speak with other language learners.
Breaking News English
This site provides free English news lessons on current events for all levels of English learners. Most articles are available in 3-4 different formats, depending on your level. Once you have read the news article there are a variety of exercises tailored to check your comprehension, expand your vocabulary, improve your grammar and practice your listening skills.
A similar site also providing graded news articles is News in Levels. This is also a great resource to learn English online free, and you can test your level before you begin.
This site provides free resources for all 4 skills. Take a quiz, read an article, listen to an audio recording or podcast, or learn about a new topic. English Club provides explanatory materials to explain grammar rules and comprehensive word lists to expand your vocabulary. Need help with pronunciation? English Club have 100s of resources to help you learn and practice your English speaking online.
The site also has some free ebooks you can download, and some paid ones as well. Head over to their website here to download their free eBook titled “7 Secrets for ESL Learners” or their guide on Common English Idioms today.
This website allows you to listen to your favourite songs and fill in the blanks on the lyrics. It is a completely free site and each song with its blanks is presented as a game. This means that you can compete with other users to test yourself. You are even able to upload songs and lyrics that you are unable to find on the site. This is perfect if you want to improve your listening skills and amazing for those of you who want to impress friends at your next karaoke session!
You Tube has loads of ESL specific videos for all levels and ages and is definitely one of the best websites to learn English. There are qualified teachers with YouTube channels where they post new content daily. Check out JenniferESL or Learn with Lucy, amongst others.
Scott Young’s site has a free blog, articles, podcasts and a free ebook “7 Must-Know Strategies to Learn Anything Faster”. His book “Ultra Learning” focuses on strategies and tools to help you learn faster. Backed by scientific studies and real-life stories, Young states that Ultra Learning is an aggressive self-directed learning technique that will transform the way you live, work and learn. This book is for more advanced learners and is not designed specifically for ESL learners.
This site has a collection of classic novels from American and British writers in ebook and audiobook form. You can also find non-fiction publications and ESL-specific books to help you on your English language learning journey.
The bottom line…
We all have different learning styles, methods, preferences and interests, and many of us will have more than one. To really progress on your English language learning journey, you will need to dip into a variety of online resources. This makes sure you are addressing all 4 skills and keeping your learning fresh, interesting and fun. The best websites to learn English discussed above will keep you on track in 2022.
Also, you might want to check out the following articles:
The Best English Language Learning Tools