Technology has changed language learning forever. Lessons no longer have to be inside of a physical classroom, and online English courses are available to everybody.
Students now have an endless digital toolbox—a huge range of learning resources to access anywhere, anytime. There is a universe of English learning knowledge waiting for you online. It might sound like a big claim when the resources are so easily available, but it’s possible that an online course could change your life.
Why there’s no better way to learn English than online
A study by Coursera found that 87% of people who take online professional development courses gain a direct benefit to their career afterward, such as getting a promotion, a raise, or starting a new career.
That’s pretty impressive, especially since you can gain all these benefits in a completely flexible way. There are a number of huge advantages to learning online, including:
Learn from anywhere
As long as you have a phone or laptop, you can be a productive English learner from anywhere, even the comfort of your own bed (although we don’t recommend it). By avoiding an unnecessary commute to class, you can save yourself lots of time. Forget travelling to the classroom—take your classroom with you wherever you go!
Study whenever you want
If you’re working or studying, we understand that adding a language course onto your current workload can be stressful. Online learning is a huge advantage for . However, make sure to schedule the time for your course. Don’t lose out to poor discipline—regular study sessions are the key to progress.
Make new connections
One of the greatest things about the internet is that you have the chance to connect with people from all over the world. This includes your next tutor, who will likely have a cultural background from a nation in which English is the dominant language. A tutor is also able to tailor the lesson to you individually, instead of focusing on an entire group. With this focused, 1-on-1 interaction, you can strengthen your English language skills in no time.
Track your progress digitally
Say goodbye to messy notebooks and folders with scrappy bits of paper. Digital learning means you can collect your learning resources in one tidy place. Most online learning platforms collect data that enables you to see your lesson history, word lists, strengths and weaknesses. That means you can measure your progress without a teacher, and access your learning statistics whenever and wherever you find it helpful.
11 top online English courses
With so many online English courses out there, it’s essential to find the one that suits your favorite learning style. You don’t want to waste time, energy and money on something that won’t help you progress.
We’ve gathered together an up-to-date list of the top-rated English learning courses for every learning style below. Take your pick!
Preply helps you learn languages by connecting you with expert tutors through 1-on-1 live video lessons. To make the most of each lesson, your tutor will create a custom learning plan that fits your skill level, schedule, and needs.
Not only is human-to-human learning a lot of fun, but speaking right away is a fast and easy way to learn English. Instead of memorizing endless vocabulary you won’t use, your English tutor will work with you to improve the skills you need. All Preply English learners also get access to a full course of practical exercises developed by English curriculum experts.
If you love learning, then Udemy is the place for you. They have over 100,000 self-development courses on almost anything, including English writing and speaking.
Udemy’s courses are either free or affordable, and use a mix of videos, quizzes, and progress tests so that you can learn English independently. You can either take short courses of up to 5 hours, or longer ones of up to 100 hours. If you’re an independent and driven learner, Udemy will have a course to support your English learning needs. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that you can’t get any speaking practice with this. For best results, consider combining Udemy with regular conversation practice.
Whether you’re an advanced English speaker or true beginner, Coursera can help you build the skills you need. Learn 100% online with video lectures, quizzes and self-paced projects, and use their learner forum to receive feedback on your progress.
A big advantage of Coursera is that their courses are created by credible universities, institutions and businesses, so that you can learn from the experts. You can also see how many people started a new career or received a pay increase or promotion after completing the course. That’s how valuable an online course can be—it could really change your life!
Want to learn from a qualified English teacher? Perfectly Spoken’s course curriculum is created by English teachers who specialise in IELTS and Cambridge English exams, with pre-recorded video lectures to help you get an ear for English speech and pronunciation.
To put you on the right path, you can filter courses by IELTS level, Cambridge level or other types (exam preparation, business English, or general English). With additional study materials and progress tests, there are plenty of resources to improve your English skills. To get the most valuable results from your courses, combine it with English speaking experience too.
5. USA Learns
Although the website is outdated, there’s a reason why USA Learns is still a popular course for adult English learners. With video lessons and 1000s of activities, you can learn cultural facts and language skills to adapt to life in the United States.
Alongside courses in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, USA Learns has a helpful U.S. Citizenship course. This will provide you with all the information, language practice, and resources you’ll need to prepare for life as a U.S. citizen.
Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is a trusted platform for online education. You can find a lot of college-level courses here, created and taught by actual professors from top universities.
The courses aren’t free, but they are definitely cheaper than an actual college course. You can also achieve a verified certificate when you complete them. The course materials are all pre-recorded, so students can learn at their own pace. However, all assignments are due when the course ends.
Launched in 2007, Alison is one of the world’s first and biggest free learning platforms. The group has helped over 2 million graduates upskill with 1500+ Certificate & Diploma Courses.
The course content is contained in presentation slides, without pre-recorded video lessons or 1-on-1 tutoring. If you’re looking for a seamless user experience, you may not find it here: as a free education website, Alison makes most of its money through advertising. However, there’s a huge range of topics to learn English in different situations, such as business, tourism, and journalism.
Although they don’t have courses specific for English, Udacity is a perfect place for advanced English learners to practice the language while developing employability skills for the future.
If you’re a techy person who has ambitions to become a programmer, data analyst, or computer scientists, then Udacity is an ideal resource to upskill. Each program will teach you about the specific tools and technologies you will need to be successful in these areas, with practical exercises and access to the technology. One of the best ways to learn English is in context. So if your next career is in tech, why not develop two of your skills at the same time?
EnglishClass101 is a course for adult learners, and combines video and audio lessons with written summaries of each class. To access the course, you can either use your laptop or download their app to learn anywhere, anytime.
While some lessons and resources are available for free, more advanced features require a paid membership. This membership also includes flashcards and quizzes, as well as a feature that allows you to record your pronunciation and compare it with native English speakers. EnglishClass101’s community forum also enables you to interact with fellow English learners to help each other strengthen your skills.
10. ABA English
ABA English has a unique approach to English language learning. Each course is divided into 5 parts: film, speaking, lessons, vocabulary and assessments.
Here comes the unique part: every unit starts with a short film where actors who are native English speakers act out everyday situations. Through film, you will feel a variety of emotions, and identify with the characters. By attaching emotion to your practice, ABA English believes you can make quick progress by approaching the language from a completely different place. With 1000+ exercises on writing, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, you will learn something new that you can put into practice straight away.
11. Future Learn
With Future Learn, you can join millions of people to learn together on a huge range of subjects, run by universities and industry experts.
You can work your way up from the most basic English language skills to advanced exam preparation, using a range of video, audio files, articles, and quizzes. As an added bonus, every piece of content has a comments section for learners to ask questions and discuss what they have learned. Future Learn’s community could help you on your path to improve your English skills.
Conclusion: Learn where you want, when you want, how you want
When choosing an online course, it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve. Want to develop your reading abilities, vocabulary skills, or knowledge of grammar? There’s a course on this list for you!
Whatever your needs, staying motivated by yourself can be tough, and regular practice is key to success. To see quick progress, Preply is a highly efficient way to study English. You can use our search filters to choose the perfect tutor for your learning goals, schedule and budget. And unlike with learning apps, you’ll be practicing your speaking skills from the first lesson. Real speaking practice makes it so much easier to use your English language skills in real life.
This content was originally published here.