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Best Courses English

English is everywhere; tourism, media, education, business, to mention a few. It is undoubtedly one of the most practical languages one can learn from a global perspective.

The number of people learning English is huge, and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the amount of viable resources that cater to this one language online is equally large. For beginners and those looking to get well-rounded practice of their English skills, online courses are often the best and the most efficient way to go.

This post covers over 35 of these online courses for English learners. The “Overall Best” category contains our most comprehensive choices, and we’ve listed the others in order of what specific skills they focus on. Although we have tested a ton of the courses ourselves, we haven’t yet had the chance to try some of the other courses, so we’ve made recommendations based on the information we could find regarding where to place them.

This list certainly isn’t all there is to English language resources, but it should help you narrow down your search or give you a better understanding of what your preferences may be and provide a good starting point.

Table of Best Courses to Learn English

Links below will send you to the course websites, and the course details are down below:


OVERALL BEST

Best For Many Many Courses/Classes to Meet Your Specific Needs: British Council English Online

Best Course Structure: Babbel

Best for Aural-Verbal Learners: Pimsleur

Best Non-Beginner Video Course: Yabla


BEGINNER’S COURSES

Basic but Thorough: Rocket English

A Structured Course With a Cool Social Feature: Busuu

Beginner Practice: Mango Languages


IELTS OR TOEFL

Best Course for Test Prep: Magoosh

Many Solid IELTS and TOEFL Courses: Udemy


READING AND LISTENING

Learning Through Phrase Repetition: Glossika

Read Your Favorite Content: LingQ


SPEAKING AND WRITING

Best for Improving Oral Communication Skills: Pimsleur

Good for Intermediate Students Wanting to Practice Speaking: Glossika

Best For Checking Your English Pronunciation: Speechling

Best for Casual Conversation Practice: Cambly

Quality Interactive Practice: Lingodeer


VOCABULARY ACQUISITION

Most Enjoyable Vocabulary Practice: Memrise

Learn Set Phrases With Memory Games: uTalk

A Decent Course With a Useful Social Feature: Busuu


TUTORS AND LANGUAGE EXCHANGES

Flexible 1-On-1 Classes and a Structured Course: Lingoda

A “Boutique” Learning Platform: Live Lingua

Best for Casual Conversation Practice: Cambly


Overall Best English Learning Courses

The courses in this category are the best for learning English. They generally teach in a comprehensive and well-structured manner. Although you may need additional resources to reach fluency in English, these should reliably provide quality education in a variety of skills

Best For Many Many Courses/Classes to Meet Your Specific Needs

Rating 4.3

Freemium, Free trial, Live classes start at £79/mo, Self-guided study starts at £5.99/mo

BEST FOR MANY COURSES

British Council provides online courses, self-guided courses, and free content for adult English learners. You can take an online test to determine your English level — if you are beyond the upper-intermediate level, the free content may be too easy for you. 

The classes are subscription-based, with a set number of lessons per month. These classes cover levels A1 – C1. If you are interested in independently improving your English for the workplace, the LearnEnglish subscription includes about 175 hours of self-study. There are also several free 8-12 hour courses that you can check out, and additional grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking, reading, and writing lessons with quizzes.

Although the courses require a bit of reading, British Council uses diverse media and exercises to teach you to communicate naturally with others. Also, if you are taking the IELTS exam, the free IELTS courses will provide basic guidance for your exam preparation.

Pros

  • The live online group classes are available 24/7 with qualified teachers
  • You can choose classes that focus on specific topics

Cons

  • IELTS classes may not be designed for self-study.

See our Super-Detailed British Council Review

Best Course Structure

Rating 4.2

Starting from $7/month

BEST COURSE STRUCTURE

Babbel is known for producing high-quality interactive courses. They may not be the most exciting courses available, but you’ll get exceptionally well-structured lessons as a trade-off.

Babbel’s English course is available in six different languages and is heavy on in-depth explanations. Practice comes in the form of bite-sized exercises and exposure to short dialogues, native speaker audio, and practical language. It makes a good option for beginners looking for a comprehensive first start with English.

Pros

  • The content is practical for real-life use
  • It’s easy to use
  • The lessons are fairly short

Cons

  • The exercises can get repetitive
  • The review exercises don’t include grammar concepts
  • Speech recognition isn’t the best way to learn pronunciation

Spring Sale! Get 60% off Babbel subscriptions. See details on the website. Offer ends on 4/28/24.

See our Super-Detailed Babbel Review

Best for Aural-Verbal Learners

Rating 4.0

Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

BEST FOR AURAL-VERBAL LEARNERS

Pimsleur stands out from the others on this list for the strong emphasis it places on oral communication skills. The course gets you speaking right away, meaning passive listening isn’t really an option. This is great for getting learners used to listening to the language as it’s actually spoken and to trying to recreate the sounds themselves.

As an added bonus, the course is available in 14 different languages. The Pimsleur Method has been around for quite a long time, and it’s still a quality option for learners that want to get speaking right away. Note, though, that you won’t get much in the way of reading, writing, or grammar practice.

Pros

  • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length
  • There are both male and female native speakers
  • Lessons build on each other nicely
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing

Cons

  • There’s very little visual content
  • Lesson speed isn’t customizable

See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur Review

Best Non-Beginner Video Course

Rating 4.3

$ 12.95-99.95

BEST NON-BEGINNER VIDEO COURSE

Yabla is a language-learning platform that uses videos with interactive subtitles and language games to help users learn a language. It’s currently available on the web and for iOS, with an Android app in development. Its videos are of varying difficulty levels and types, and are either sourced from the internet or originally produced, but all videos use native speakers.

Pros

  • It’s very affordable
  • The review activities are enjoyable and varied
  • You can filter content by region
  • There are plenty of interesting and varied videos

Cons

  • Audio in some review activities is robotic
  • No speaking practice
  • Translations don’t take context into account

See our Super-Detailed Yabla Review

Best English Beginner’s Courses

This category includes courses that are great for an absolute beginner. They include practice exercises that’ll help you develop a strong English foundation.

Basic but Thorough

Rating 3.2

$99.95 for Level 1

BASIC BUT THOROUGH

The Rocket English course is available with instruction in Spanish or Japanese. You can also study with instructions in English if you already have some basic English skills. The Rocket Languages courses vary in quality by language and, while we haven’t tested the English course, are generally less than impressive.

The ways in which Rocket English excels are its easy-to-use platform, the thoroughness of the curriculum, and the exposure it provides to native-speaker audio. Unfortunately, the practice opportunities can get overly repetitive and the content isn’t very engaging.

Pros

  • There are a lot of opportunities to speak
  • Lesson materials are thorough
  • Lots of practice opportunities

Cons

  • Practice opportunities are repetitive and boring
  • Speech recognition isn’t the best way to learn pronunciation
  • The audio lessons can be uninspiring

See our Super-Detailed Rocket English Review

A Structured Course With a Cool Social Feature

Rating 3.4

$ 13.95

A STRUCTURED COURSE WITH A COOL SOCIAL FEATURE

Busuu offers English instruction in 11 different languages and is similar in approach to Babbel. The interface is exceptionally nice with this one, as is the nifty social feature. The feature allows users to get feedback from others on their pronunciation and writing skills and is free to use.

Practice happens through interactive activities with native speaker audio that are accompanied by grammar explanations, though they might not be the most in-depth explanations you’ll find. Overall, Busuu is a potentially good place to get practice in a wide variety of English skills, especially for those at lower levels. It’s also hugely popular.

Pros

  • The layout is easy to use and engaging
  • The conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is great

Cons

  • The grammar explanations and practice could be better.

See our Super-Detailed Busuu Review

Beginner Practice

Rating 3.5

$ 14.99-179.99

BEGINNER PRACTICE

One of the biggest perks of a subscription to Mango Languages is that you’ll gain access to material in over 70 languages, a polyglot’s dream. You can also opt to pay a bit less if you only need access to one language. The English course comes with instruction in over 20 different languages and features an attractive interface as well as useful cultural notes that accompany practice activities.

Things to be aware of: it’s really only suitable for learners at a beginner level, and you won’t get super in-depth practice with writing or grammar.

Pros

  • It’s very easy to use and has a slick design
  • The intense drilling of useful real life sentences and words during lessons will really help you remember them
  • Cultural and grammar notes incorporated in the lessons are well-prepared to help you understand the language you’re learning better

Cons

  • The heavy reliance on drilling makes the course overly repetitive
  • Grammar practice is lacking
  • There’s no material for learners beyond the intermediate stage

See our Super-Detailed Mango Languages Review

Best English Courses For IELTS or TOEFL

If you’re studying for the IELTS or TOEFL, you need courses that provide material specifically targeted to these tests. With these courses, you may be able to narrow down your problem areas and work on them.

Best Course for Test Prep

Rating 4.3

$39.00

BEST COURSE FOR TEST-PREP

With video lessons, timed exercises, flashcards, progress tracking, and a competitive element, Magoosh is an app that provides quality test preparation in a variety of standardized exams. Some of these measure English proficiency, such as IELTS or TOEFL, and others like the LSAT or GRE are for other academic or professional purposes.

Passing exams in English can be an important step for English learners to gain access to opportunities at home or abroad, and preparing for these exams can be challenging. Magoosh is one of the most popular resources when it comes to test-prep, and it’s also available as an app.

Pros

  • Super detailed explanations
  • Digital note-taking capability
  • Realistic practice test

Cons

  • Video lessons are time-consuming
  • Users have to self-evaluate speaking and writing exercises

See our Super-Detailed Magoosh Review

Many Solid IELTS and TOEFL Courses

A range of price points, but courses often go on sale for an average of $10/each

ONLINE COURSE STORE

Udemy is an online directory of courses that cover a huge variety of subjects, including English. Anybody can create a course on Udemy, meaning that there are courses covering just about any subject you could be interested in. Lower-level English students will be able to find courses explicitly teaching the language, and those that are more advanced could elect to sign up for a course in a different subject, taught in English.

Since anybody can create courses here, quality isn’t guaranteed, so be sure to check out the reviews. It’s also worth looking out for sales, they’re frequent and the discounts are major.

Pros

  • Many affordable courses
  • Wide selection of content and teachers
  • English content is self-paced

Cons

  • It may be difficult to find the best quaity course

Courses to Learn English Reading and Listening

Reading and listening are receptive skills because they usually involve receiving information. Practicing these skills makes it easier to comprehend English text and speech.

Learning Through Phrase Repetition

Rating 3.6

$16.99-$30.99

LEARNING THROUGH PHRASE REPETITION

If you’re extra interested in learning English by listening to native speakers, Glossika could make a good option for you. Ideally, the course will help learners improve their speaking skills by having them repeat phrases after listening to native speakers. This is the approach that they advertise will help you “Absorb English naturally… Without memorization.”

Glossika offers materials in a huge number of languages. The fact that learners can use any of these languages to practice any other language would ideally make it suitable for just about anyone. There’s a tradeoff, though, and it’s that you won’t find any instruction tailored to learning a specific language.

Pros

  • Improves speaking and listening skills through repetition
  • It will force you to speak the language which will improve your confidence and prosody.
  • Only pay once—when you subscribe, you get every language Glossika offers

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Expensive for what is offered
  • The interface isn’t anything exceptional

See our Super-Detailed Glossika Review

Read Your Favorite Content

Rating 4.0

$ 12.99

ENJOY READING ENGLISH CONTENT

LingQ is a language-learning platform that focuses on extensive reading for over 30 different languages. You can import your own content or choose from the community library of books, articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, and more.

The app highlights unknown words across every lesson and makes them reviewable via different types of SRS flashcards. The more you read, the more accurately you will be able to identify content that is suitable for your level.

Although I did not find it beneficial for languages I had never studied before, I think LingQ can be helpful for upper-beginner to advanced language learners who enjoy reading. It is especially helpful if you struggle to find graded readers in your target language.

Pros

  • Easily import almost any material you want to study
  • Use SRS flashcards to quiz new words from a specific page
  • Each lesson in the library displays the percentage of known and unknown words based on reading history
  • There are many dictionaries to choose from for definitions

Cons

  • Reviewing words is chaotic
  • The extra features are overpriced and can be found other places for cheaper
  • Very little of the content is original. Much of it was uploaded by users from other places
  • The free version is extremely limited

See our Super-Detailed LingQ Review

Courses With English Speaking and Writing Emphasis

As an English learner, it is your goal to eventually communicate coherently and effectively with other English speakers. The courses in this category make it possible to work on these skills.

Best for Improving Oral Communication Skills

Rating 4.0

Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

BEST FOR AURAL-VERBAL LEARNERS

Pimsleur stands out from the others on this list for the strong emphasis it places on oral communication skills. The course gets you speaking right away, meaning passive listening isn’t really an option. This is great for getting learners used to listening to the language as it’s actually spoken and to trying to recreate the sounds themselves.

As an added bonus, the course is available in 14 different languages. The Pimsleur Method has been around for quite a long time, and it’s still a quality option for learners that want to get speaking right away. Note, though, that you won’t get much in the way of reading, writing, or grammar practice.

Pros

  • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length
  • There are both male and female native speakers
  • Lessons build on each other nicely
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing

Cons

  • There’s very little visual content
  • Lesson speed isn’t customizable

See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur Review

Good for Intermediate Students Wanting to Practice Speaking

Rating 3.6

$16.99-$30.99

LEARNING THROUGH PHRASE REPETITION

If you’re extra interested in learning English by listening to native speakers, Glossika could make a good option for you. Ideally, the course will help learners improve their speaking skills by having them repeat phrases after listening to native speakers. This is the approach that they advertise will help you “Absorb English naturally… Without memorization.”

Glossika offers materials in a huge number of languages. The fact that learners can use any of these languages to practice any other language would ideally make it suitable for just about anyone. There’s a tradeoff, though, and it’s that you won’t find any instruction tailored to learning a specific language.

Pros

  • Improves speaking and listening skills through repetition
  • It will force you to speak the language which will improve your confidence and prosody.
  • Only pay once—when you subscribe, you get every language Glossika offers

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Expensive for what is offered
  • The interface isn’t anything exceptional

See our Super-Detailed Glossika Review

Best For Checking Your English Pronunciation

Rating 4.3

$ 0.00-$19.99

BEST FOR IMPROVING FRENCH PRONUNCIATION

Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.

Pros

  • An excellent method to improve your speaking abilities and get feedback from a real teacher
  • Answer the Question, Describe the Image, and Freestyle mode are great for higher levels
  • You can switch languages at any time. I like seeing translations in my second language while studying my third language
  • Truly unlimited recordings with quick feedback

Cons

  • Absolute Beginners should learn the basics elsewhere first
  • You’ll need to learn how to make the sounds of your target language on your own
  • The amount of time given to record sentences can be too short

See our Super-Detailed Speechling Review

Best for Casual Conversation Practice

Rating 4.2

BEST FOR CASUAL CONVERSATION PRACTICE

This option pairs the casual convenience of an app with the value of a personal tutor. Perhaps the greatest value here is that the platform makes it easy to connect with an English-speaking tutor whenever you like. Learners can choose to either follow one of the prepared Cambly lessons or just have a casual chat with the tutor.

The prepared lessons follow slides, but they are written entirely in English, so it may be better suited to learners that already have some basic English abilities. Whatever your English goals and interests, Cambly is a solid source of inexpensive communication practice. There are also some options for learners trying to prepare for IELTS or TOEFL exams.

Pros

  • You can connect with a tutor any time
  • You can feedback on your learning progress

Cons

  • The minutes will expire if you do not use them
  • Prices are in USD and could be quite expensive depending on where you live
  • Cambly price plans may be outdated

Quality Interactive Practice

Rating 4.3

$ 14.99

QUALITY INTERACTIVE PRACTICE

Similar to uber-popular Duolingo, Lingodeer uses gamification and quick interactive exercises to provide language practice that’s as convenient as it is fun. It stands out from Duolingo by offering more in-depth explanations, better audio, and better lesson structure, though you still might run into some words that feel like they were thrown in too early.

The English course on Lingodeer is currently only available in Chinese, but it can make a good substitute for Duolingo if you’re looking for something a little bit more comprehensive. 

Pros

  • Engaging activities
  • High-quality audio
  • The app is enjoyable to use

Cons

  • It isn’t sufficient for getting communication practice
  • You’ll need to look elsewhere if you want some higher-level practice

See our Super-Detailed Lingodeer Review

Learn English Vocabulary and Grammar

To reach English fluency, improving vocabulary and grammar is unavoidable. Understanding vocabulary and grammar will make it easier to understand how the English language is structured.

Most Enjoyable Vocabulary Practice

Rating 4.0

$9-$120

MOST ENJOYABLE VOCABULARY PRACTICE

This is a super popular option for learning just about any language. The site leverages a spaced repetition system (SRS) and user-created courses to make it one of the best places to get quality language practice.

The user-created courses are free and offer a lot of value. This is especially true in languages like English, where there are many, many free courses to choose from. The official Memrise courses are also a really good option. They offer things like native speaker audio, videos of native speakers, and a variety of exercises that build on each other in a logical way.

Pros

  • The SRS makes for efficient practice
  • There are tons of free, user-created courses
  • The app is fun to use

Cons

  • You’ll need to look elsewhere for more advanced practice
  • There aren’t a lot of opportunities for practicing communication skills
  • Website navigation is slightly clunky

See our Super-Detailed Memrise Review

Learn Set Phrases With Memory Games

Rating 3.7

$11.99/month

LEARN SET-PHRASES WITH MEMORY GAMES

This is another app with courses available in a staggering number of languages. It’s essentially a slick flashcard app with several built-in memorization games and some opportunities for recording yourself speaking to practice pronunciation. It won’t give you any grammar practice or teach you how to form your own sentences, but it can make an inexpensive way to memorize some useful set phrases.

Pros

  • Each phrase is recorded by a male and female native speaker
  • You frequently get to hear recordings of yourself producing the language
  • The price is very affordable

Cons

  • The Memory Game exercise felt like a waste of time. It’s difficult to get a perfect score even if you know the language well
  • Practice phrases are random

See our Super-Detailed uTalk Review

A Decent Course With a Useful Social Feature

Rating 3.4

$ 13.95

A STRUCTURED COURSE WITH A COOL SOCIAL FEATURE

Busuu offers English instruction in 11 different languages and is similar in approach to Babbel. The interface is exceptionally nice with this one, as is the nifty social feature. The feature allows users to get feedback from others on their pronunciation and writing skills and is free to use.

Practice happens through interactive activities with native speaker audio that are accompanied by grammar explanations, though they might not be the most in-depth explanations you’ll find. Overall, Busuu is a potentially good place to get practice in a wide variety of English skills, especially for those at lower levels. It’s also hugely popular.

Pros

  • The layout is easy to use and engaging
  • The conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is great

Cons

  • The grammar explanations and practice could be better.

See our Super-Detailed Busuu Review

Tutors and English Language Exchange

If you’d like to put your English skills to the test, tutors and language exchange partners are the way to go. They’re more immersive and authentic methods to reach English proficiency.

Flexible 1-On-1 Classes and a Structured Course

Rating 4.0

$ 23.99

FLEXIBLE 1-ON-1 CLASSES AND A STRUCTURED COURSE

Lingoda offers the advantage of a structured course along with support from a real teacher. Classes will take place almost entirely in English, and can be taken as a group lesson or private lesson. Taking group classes lowers the price a bit and may be favorable to learners that prefer a classroom environment, but it can also mean you’ll get slightly less speaking time. In any case, the opportunity to get real-life speaking practice and personalized feedback is super valuable.

The variety of lessons is great — there are hundreds of lessons, making the resource suitable for learners of just about any level. Another nice feature of Lingoda is its flexibility: schedule a lesson at just about any time you like.

Pros

  • It’s possible to schedule lessons at almost any time of day or night
  • There are many different lessons for learners at all levels
  • Lesson scheduling is fairly flexible

Cons

  • It’s not always possible to take the class you want when you want
  • Learning in a group setting may not be ideal for all learners
  • Materials are very similar for all lessons

See our Super-Detailed Lingoda Review

A “Boutique” Learning Platform

Rating 3.8

$24.00

A “BOUTIQUE” LEARNING PLATFORM

Live Lingua provides solutions for English learners by pairing them with tutors for online Skype lessons. The platform markets itself as a boutique online language school, offering a more personalized approach than some competitors. Users are assigned a personal class coordinator who ideally pairs them with a teacher that’s a good fit for their level and interests. One-on-one lessons happen via Skype, and the teachers are responsible for coming up with a curriculum tailored to the student’s needs.

Pros

  • The huge library of free resources
  • The different course options

Cons

  • The layout of the site is strange and doesn’t feel very professional
  • Relying on email to schedule lessons isn’t efficient
  • Limited flexibility in choosing a teacher

See our Super-Detailed Live Lingua Review

Best for Casual Conversation Practice

Rating 4.2

BEST FOR CASUAL CONVERSATION PRACTICE

This option pairs the casual convenience of an app with the value of a personal tutor. Perhaps the greatest value here is that the platform makes it easy to connect with an English-speaking tutor whenever you like. Learners can choose to either follow one of the prepared Cambly lessons or just have a casual chat with the tutor.

The prepared lessons follow slides, but they are written entirely in English, so it may be better suited to learners that already have some basic English abilities. Whatever your English goals and interests, Cambly is a solid source of inexpensive communication practice. There are also some options for learners trying to prepare for IELTS or TOEFL exams.

Pros

  • You can connect with a tutor any time
  • You can feedback on your learning progress

Cons

  • The minutes will expire if you do not use them
  • Prices are in USD and could be quite expensive depending on where you live
  • Cambly price plans may be outdated

Maybe Try These English Learning Courses

In this category, we have included some additional courses that didn’t make our favorites list. However, they are still worth recommending.

ELSA Speak

ELSA, whose name stands for English Language Speech Assistant, is an AI-powered English pronunciation app and a serious contender for the position of your virtual pronunciation coach. It has a free and paid-for version, and is geared toward non-native English speakers who want to talk in a neutral American accent, improve their fluency, and speak with confidence.

See our Super-Detailed ELSA Speak Review

Chatterbug

Chatterbug offers an English course for Spanish speakers and could make a good option for someone looking for structure, convenience, and one-on-one speaking practice. The course blends live tutoring sessions with interactive self-study and a guided curriculum. It’s different from other online tutor platforms in that the teachers follow a guided lesson and help you complete prescribed activities.

It isn’t the cheapest resource out there, and the reading and writing practice opportunities are limited, but it could be worth it if you really like the platform. 

See our Super-Detailed Chatterbug Review

ABA English

ABA English is available as an online course and an app. It takes a multimedia approach to teaching English, using 144 short ABA Films. These are short films created by ABA that depict real-life scenarios and seem to have a fairly high production value.

There are also 144 grammar videos, over 1000 interactive exercises for practicing writing, listening, vocabulary, and grammar, exams, and certificates. Six of the 144 units are available to try for free, and there’s a free seven-day trial for a premium membership. This app could be a good option for learners looking for a more engaging experience — instruction is available in eight different languages.

ESLPod

The ESLPod English courses are for English learners at the intermediate and advanced levels. The audio lessons include dialogues that learners can listen to at “learning speed” or “normal speed” and come with explanations of key terms and potentially difficult content.

In ESLPod’s General English course there are two types of lessons covering either Daily English or Cultural English, each of which deals with English as it’s used in America and aspects of American culture. These lessons contain either 20 or 30 minutes of audio and come with study guides. Free sample lessons are available before purchase.

mmmEnglish

Particularly interested in the Australian accent and like videos? This one could be just right for you. mmmEnglish is the creation of Emma, a CELTA-certified English teacher from Australia. The mmmEnglish YouTube channel is thriving and well, full of free video content covering things like pronunciation and grammar.

In addition to the YouTube videos, there are a few mmmEnglish courses available for purchase on the website, including what Emma calls the Imitation Technique. Instructions are all in English.

English Central

This is an English-learning resource that uses videos in its courses to teach a variety of practical English skills. The format generally has learners watch a video, learn the vocabulary used in the video, and then use the language in speech, with the video as a model. Pronunciation is then graded by voice recognition technology.

Premium members also have the opportunity to “GoLive!” for some one-on-one tutor time over the phone after watching a video lesson. Instruction all happens in English, and courses are available in a variety of subjects, including Business English, Social English, and Media English.

Hello English

This is a decent option for learners looking for interactive practice on a slick, if not slightly overwhelming, app. Instruction is available in 24 languages, including more than ten Indian languages.

It could be useful for getting convenient practice whenever you have a few moments to spare, but beware: we spotted several translation errors and some unrealistic language. There’s a wide variety of lesson types and styles, across different difficulty levels.

edX

This online platform offers access to a bunch of free university courses. There are courses that explicitly teach English, as well as those with English instruction. It benefits from the quality and structure that usually come with university courses, but it might not appeal to learners that prefer a more light-hearted approach. Another benefit for some is that a certificate of completion is available for purchase upon completion.

Coursera

Coursera is an online platform that has several paid and free online language courses developed by accredited universities. There are English language courses and courses on other subjects taught in the language. English learners can enjoy a specialization in intermediate grammaradvanced grammaracademic speaking and listening, or business English. They also offer a certification upon completion if you’re willing to pay.

Udemy

Udemy is an online directory of courses that cover a huge variety of subjects, including English. Anybody can create a course on Udemy, meaning that there are courses covering just about any subject you could be interested in. Lower-level English students will be able to find courses explicitly teaching the language, and those that are more advanced could elect to sign up for a course in a different subject, taught in English.

Since anybody can create courses here, quality isn’t guaranteed, so be sure to check out the reviews. It’s also worth looking out for sales, they’re frequent and the discounts are major.

Rosetta Stone

This is another mega-popular language resource. It takes an immersive approach to teaching English, meaning you won’t get grammar explanations or translations for anything. The exercises are repetitive and may quickly get boring, and it isn’t cheap either. That said, if you insist on checking out the immersive Rosetta Stone method, the course is supposed to work for speakers of any language.

ALR Readers Exclusive Holiday Deal!! Get the Lifetime Subscription for 25 languages for $179 (everywhere else it’s $199 right now!). See details on the website.

See our Super-Detailed Rosetta Stone Review

Best Free(mium) Courses for Learning English

This section includes our most recommended free and freemium courses to help you learn English. If you’re on a budget, these are the courses we recommend.

A Variety of Resources for British English

A VARIETY OF RESOURCES FOR BRITISH ENGLISH

The BBC actually offers a variety of English courses, all serving a different level or aspect of the language. The courses are free, available in the app of the same name, and they’re all very easy to use.

Naturally, this is a resource that’s especially appropriate for learners interested in learning British English. There are audio lessons, topical news lessons, quizzes, videos, and lessons on slang terms and idioms.

Pros

  • Lessons are rated by difficulty
  • Diverse range of topics
  • Lots of material to learn from

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide traditional lessons

Varied Video Lessons for All Levels

VARIED VIDEO LESSONS FOR ALL LEVELS

Perfectly Spoken offers structured online courses at five levels, from beginner to advanced. Lessons are delivered via video, and users can study for ten hours each month for free. Paid plans allow access to more courses, a study plan, and a certificate upon completion. The video lessons are taught by qualified teachers and cover topics like writing skills, English for job interviews, meeting skills, and more. There’s also a free level test you can take to find out which material to start with.

Pros

  • All levels of proficiency available
  • Content is very comprehensive
  • Lessons cover most common interactions

Cons

  • Pro plan is expensive

Best Free Audio Course

Rating 4.3

Free

BEST FREE AUDIO COURSE

For aural learners on a budget, this course is a dream, though it’s important to note that it will only work for Spanish speakers. The audio lessons that make up the course take a unique approach in that they teach learners how to think their way through English instead of relying on memorization.

Instruction draws heavily on the relationship between Spanish and English, which can be enlightening and lead to the sensation that you’re “hacking” the language. The course is totally free to use, as is the app

Pros

  • It’s completely free
  • Provides a great English foundation
  • Lessons are efficient in that they cover a lot of material in a short amount of time

Cons

  • It isn’t ideal for visual learners
  • It won’t take you past a beginner level
  • There’s no reading or writing practice

See our Super-Detailed Language Transfer Review

Free, Convenient, Gamified

Rating 4.0

$ 0.00

FREE, CONVENIENT, GAMIFIED

Chances are good you’ve heard of this one. Offering English courses for speakers of over 20 different languages, its approach emphasizes convenience and accessibility. It’s one of the few resources out there that is completely free, and the fact that it’s available in so many languages and as an app makes its popularity no surprise.

Practice activities on Duolingo are engaging and never take more than a couple of minutes. It’s ideal for anyone looking for an easy way to get some low-commitment practice in their spare time. It’s also got a visually appealing layout, feeling more like a game than a learning resource. There are better options for getting serious language practice, but for a free way to pick up some English vocab, Duolingo’s just right.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • Practice is convenient and fun

Cons

  • The audio isn’t the best
  • You won’t get to produce your own sentences
  • Lacks useful practice at higher levels

See our Super-Detailed Duolingo Review

Free Online Courses

FREE ONLINE COURSES

Alison is a source of free online courses, with quite a few for learners of English. Topics covered in the courses are diverse, and there’s content that will be valuable to just about anyone, whether you’re learning English to work in the tourism industry or for academic reasons. Many courses include a certificate or diploma, but note that you will have to pay for one upon completion.

Pros

  • Content is of good quality and free
  • You can progress at your own pace

Cons

  • Certificates are available but at a cost

Varied Practice Opportunities

VARIED PRACTICE OPPORTUNITIES

This is a resource that’s been around since 1999, providing support to both teachers and learners of English. Instruction is only available in English, so you’ll need a basic understanding of the language to get much use out of the site, but there are lots of activities covering a variety of topics and difficulty levels, including some basics for learners at lower levels. One exciting thing about this free resource is the variety of practice opportunities. There are interactive quizzes and games alongside pronunciation lessons, spelling drills, and lessons on British culture.

Pros

  • Lots of content and material available
  • The course is very affordable

Cons

  • Basic understanding of English is needed

Free English Course Library

FREE ENGLISH COURSE LIBRARY

This is another source of free online university courses, but the ones here are all curated for English learners. Registration is required to use the content, but a name and email address is all you’ll need to provide. The courses are divided into categories based on which skills they focus on: reading, writing, speaking, or listening. All instruction is English and therefore most suitable for learners beyond the absolute beginner stage.

Pros

  • Courses tend to be of high quality
  • Short and long courses are available
  • Most of the courses are free

Cons

  • May not be suitable if you prefer one-on-one learning
  • Course may not be very engaging

For Self-Directed Learners

FOR SELF-DIRECTED LEARNERS

This resource serves as a useful tool for independent learners looking for extra English practice at a time that suits their schedule.

There are three separate English courses offered by USA Learns, and collectively they cover 800 English words and material at the beginner and intermediate levels. All instruction is in English, and all courses are completely free to use. The interface and material may not be the most exciting, but there’s a lot of value here for self-directed learners interested in taking advantage of a free resource.

Pros

  • Courses cover lots of content
  • Courses is very comprehensive and well structured

Cons

  • Only available via web browser

Free Content for Independent Learners

FREE CONTENT FOR INDEPENDENT LEARNERS

This is an English language website with a bunch of free educational material for learners and teachers of English. It started as a place for adult learners in the UK to get free learning materials. It has since transitioned into offering materials such as lesson plans for English teachers as well as content for independent learners.

For learners looking for access to free practice in a variety of skills such as grammar, listening, writing, or for cultural lessons on the UK or USA, the site is worth checking out.

Pros

  • So much content to help you improve your English language skills
  • English material is free and great for beginners

Cons

  • May not be suitable for you if you prefer interacting with a teacher
  • No tutor support is available

Free Lecture Videos

FREE LECTURE VIDEOS

If you’re looking for free English video lessons, engVid is a great place to look. There are over 1500 videos on the site, all available for free and covering topics at a range of difficulty levels, though the majority seem to be best for learners at lower levels. Instruction happens in English, though, so absolute beginners may struggle to understand what’s going on.

The videos are of English teachers in front of a whiteboard and are similar in form to a lecture. They aren’t super engaging because of this, but it’s a decent free resource if you enjoy lots of in-depth explanations.

Pros

  • Lessons are categorized according to English proficieny level, topic and your choice of instructor
  • There’s so much English content to choose from
  • Courses are free and easily accessible

Cons

  • The material isn’t very engaging

Great Spaced-Repetition Flashcards

Rating 4.1

Free

THE GO-TO SRS FLASHCARD APP

It is the go-to app for free (except on iOS) Spaced Repetition System (SRS) flashcards. It has a simple user interface with various features that more hard-core users can dive into if they choose. Your flashcards will appear according to your natural forgetting curve; the app will test you in increasingly spaced out intervals, with more difficult cards appearing more than once in a session, while easier cards spacing out over weeks — or even months and years.

An SRS system is the most effective way to drive information into your long-term memory. The cards can sync between the web, desktop app, and mobile versions to keep your flashcards updated and with you at all times. You can add images and audio clips to your cards and change the text formatting (if you use it on your computer).

One feature unique to Anki, as opposed to other SRS flashcard apps, is the “Cloze deletion” function, which allows you to block out parts of your card and create a “fill-in-the-blanks” type card format. If you want a resource for how to make effective flashcards, check out the book, FluentForever. The author leaves a whole section dedicated to understanding how to use your Anki deck to advance your skills quickly.

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of features
  • Allows synching across multiple devices

Cons

  • Anki’s interface may be a bit intimidating for beginners
  • The aesthetic isn’t very appealing

See our Super-Detailed Anki Review

So, What is the Best Course for YOU to Learn English?

Unsurprisingly, this list is very long, and it’s nowhere near complete. You could spend a lifetime looking for new English-learning resources and never come up short.

Online courses are great if you’re looking to get a bigger-picture introduction to a language with practice in several different skills, but they won’t be the only resource you need if your goal is to reach fluency. We’ve also compiled a list of our favorite apps for learning English, and the best podcasts for learning the language, some of which can make great supplementary tools.

In your search for online English courses, remember that the numbers are on your side! With a little patience, you should be able to find the perfect course for you.

Don’t see your favorite online English course in this post? Let us know below!

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