English is the international language and speaking it can open many doors, both in social life and in the business world. Yet enrolling in a private school or hiring a private teacher can be very expensive and time-consuming. Thankfully, it is possible to learn English online. And without paying a penny! All you need is a working internet connection and the right amount of motivation. Online language courses are delivered on a number of platforms. In our opinion, the most effective ones are websites, YouTube channels, and podcasts. Here are some great online courses to learn English for free.
There are many websites that offer free English teaching material to online students. Here are some of the best ones:
PerfectlySpoken.com – This is a great online resource for those who want to learn or improve their English. It offers 3 different plans, one of which is entirely free. When you sign up for the free plan, you‘ll have access to 1) an English test to assess your current level of English 2) elementary to advanced English courses 3) 60 video lessons per course. The website is very user-friendly and signing up only takes one minute.
ESOL Courses – A very simple yet incredibly resourceful website. It offers specific teaching material for beginners and for elementary, pre-elementary, intermediate, and advanced students. Contents range from grammar to vocabulary to listening exercises to reading and writing tasks. You can either take this course class after class or aim straight at the areas on which you need to work the most.
english-at-home.com – This website is very simple and user-friendly. In addition to having functional learning sections (speaking, vocabulary, and grammar) it also offers a week-by-week study program. It’s literally like going to class, except you can do it from the comfort of your home. It takes 18 weeks to complete the entire study program and if you follow it with enough discipline, you‘ll see a massive improvement in your English skills.
Massive Open Online English Course – MOOEC is an initiative of IES, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to international education. It offers several online resources for English learners. Its main 5 categories are: 1) Reading 2) Writing 3) Listening 4) Speaking 5) Short Courses. It offers both general language courses and modules aimed at improving your English knowledge and vocabulary in specific areas. You need to sign up with your email, but access to learning material is entirely free.
The use of YouTube for learning purposes has increased a lot in the last years. Many people now use YouTube to watch tutorials and lessons on various topics. Here are some of the best YouTube channels for learning English:
EnglishClass101.com– This channel has over3,5 million subscribers and offers a huge number of free videos for English learners. Not only does it cover all the main areas of language learning and has targeted lessons for American and British English but is also offers live videos (with a chat on which students can interact with each other). Almost all videos contain lessons from the same, extremely competent teacher. It really feels like attending private classes, except it is free and you don’t have to take the bus to get there.
Oxford Online English – This YouTube Channel is managed by an online English school. In the past 5 years, it has uploaded over 150 free videos for English learners. It is very useful for people who want to improve their knowledge of English in specific vocabulary, grammar, writing, and pronunciation areas. For example, you might want to improve your English telephone vocabulary or you are looking for a lesson on how to use articles or you want to learn how to write a proper essay in English. All videos include lessons from real teachers and are between 7 and 20 minutes long.
BBC Learning English – The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is the UK’s largest broadcaster, and it also has a YouTube channel for English language learners. We suggest that you start by visiting the “Playlists” section. There you’ll find the following categories: “Our picks for you“, “Improve your vocabulary”, “Improve your grammar”, “Improve your Pronunciation“, “Learn English with the News“, “Help with Exams“, “Learn English through Drama”. The channel is updated daily and is a great, free resource for English learners at all levels.
Learn English with Let’s Talk – Another great channel with more than 4 million subscribers, 8 certified teachers, and over 1000 free lessons. It is a great source if you are looking for a way to improve your grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation skills or if you are preparing for IELTS exams. You can choose from over 80 playlists (such as “Spoken English Lessons” or “New English Phrases and Expressions” or “Accent Training Course”), each one with several free videos.
English Language Podcasts are regularly-updated audio series that contain a number of episodes. Most of them can be downloaded from the podcast’s website or from platforms like iTunes or Stitcher (in case you’re often “on the road” and want to learn English with your smartphone and earphones). Here are some of the best podcasts for learning English:
BBC Podcasts – The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) offers various podcasts to English learners. The greatest thing about BBC Podcasts is the fact that they are updated daily (sometimes even hourly), which allows you to improve your English naturally, day after day. Some of the most popular BBC podcasts are “Learning English News Review”, “6 Minute English”, “BBC Learning English Drama” and “The English with Speak”.
podcastsinenglish.com – This podcast series is structured like a typical English language course. The main course is composed of 3 levels (Level 1 for elementary and pre-intermediate students; Level 2 for intermediate students; Level 3 for upper intermediate students and above). It also offers podcasts aimed at improving your pronunciation and your Business English. Every episode is quite short (3 or 4 minutes), which can be very helpful for those who don’t have a lot of time and want to study English during the break between two activities.
English Across the Pond – Created by both a British and an American teacher, this podcast series is updated weekly and has over 180 episodes. Over the years it has reached more than half a million downloads. Each episode deals with a particular aspect of everyday life, allowing you to improve your English skills in various situations. The two teachers often converse with each other about various topics, which allows you to immerse yourself in daily, real-life conversations.
Voice of America Podcasts – Voice of America is the largest U.S. international broadcaster. It also offers several podcasts for English language learners. Some of its podcast series (like “Let’s learn English”, “Everyday Grammar TV podcast” or “English in a minute” ) help you improve your English with audio lessons on basic aspects of the language, while other podcast series (like “American stories”, “Science and Technology” or “English @ the Movies”) take a more indirect approach.
Find the Right Combination!
As somebody who has studied 3 different foreign languages and who has often used free online sources in his learning journey, I have found that the most effective approach is to combine various learning tools.
For example, you could listen to a short news podcast in the morning, take a basic online course in the afternoon and watch short videos form an English-teaching YouTube channel in the evening.
Everybody is different, has different learning methods, and has different learning needs. So the best thing to do is to try out some of the tools we’ve listed and found the right combination for you.
Good look on your English language learning journey! Check also other articles in the language learning category.
Should you have any questions or ideas or suggestions, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below.