You’ve had another long day and the last thing you want to do is bury your head in a textbook, but you don’t want to lose a day of studying English.
Perhaps you just got a big promotion at work or you’re looking forward to that big trip this summer. You just can’t afford to lose another day.
But you just want to relax and watch videos. Can’t you watch YouTube or something and study at the same time?
With these videos to help you learn English online, you can learn English and watch videos at the same time!
You probably know all about YouTube, but did you know that videos are constantly being uploaded to various sites all over the internet to help you learn English?
So no more excuses and no more boring vocabulary charts—make your learning interactive and brighten up your English learning sessions with some awesome videos!
Tips to Make Learning with Videos Interactive
In the world of education, the “teaching and learning interaction” is any method that gets the information from the teacher to you, the learner. It’s a fact that you retain information much better if you actively participate in learning activities.
When it comes to watching videos online, you’re doing all the work to learn the information from the “teacher” (the video). In essence, you’re responsible for making sure that watching these videos is a great learning experience.
But you’re probably thinking, “How can I interact with a screen? What methods do I use to make sure I understand the information?”
Some of the videos that we’ve included in this list come with instructions, recommendations and ideas on how to get the most out of them (some even come with worksheets and scripts!). For those that don’t, you’ll find some ways below to help you make them more interactive.
- Identify your learning style. Learners can usually identify themselves using common learning types. The types are usually visual, auditory (listening), kinesthetic (learn by doing) or tactile (feeling). You don’t identify as a visual learner? No problem. Videos can help you no matter how you learn. If you use the provided activities, you’ll get the most out of your videos.
- Have a plan. Before you start watching a video, have an idea of what you’re going to do. Are you going to jot down unfamiliar words? Make sure you have a notebook handy. Are you planning on stopping the video and repeating what the speaker says? Great! Be ready to hit “Pause” frequently.
- Break up the sessions into different activities. Sometimes, doing the same thing with each video makes the experience dull. Stop periodically to write down questions. Watch a portion of the video a couple of times, then pretend you’re teaching the concept to someone. Draw out the information instead of write it. Whatever you do, mix it up to stay motivated.
- Pay attention. Sometimes when the TV is on, we become distracted. We may be on our phone or tablet, playing games, cooking, even reading. Many people become used to the sound of the television, using it as background noise rather than a learning tool.
When you load your English videos, turn off any other distractions. Think of it as your study time. Have a notebook in front of you to write down unfamiliar words. Take your viewing time seriously.
- Use provided activities. As I said before, some of the suggested sites below include interactive activities to help you engage in your learning. For example, FluentU includes transcripts, subtitles, reviews and quizzes to help you review what you’ve seen in your videos. Take advantage of anything that’s provided to you.
- Keep your sessions brief. You can suffer study burnout even from videos. It helps to choose content that interests you. If you like music, go with music videos. If you like dramas, select television programs with the subject matter you enjoy. Still, listening to dialogue in a language other than your own while taking notes may leave you feeling like you’re doing homework. Incorporating videos into your study routine is supposed to be fun. Keep it fun without overdoing it.
Great Interactive Videos to Help You Learn English Online
The following video websites are suggestions to get you started in looking for videos in your English learning process. Some are specifically geared towards children, but you can benefit from any of these English video sites no matter your age.
English Learning Websites for Kids
Established in 2004, this site offers free video courseware designed for learners ages 5-12. While E-learning for kids is not specifically an ESL website, the language arts section features videos on word recognition, learning letters and more.
You may find this site especially beneficial since these resources were designed for native English-speaking children to learn to read and recognize letters.
The British Council’s English for Kids web page features videos with songs, stories and grammar rules. Many of the videos include documents that give you the words in the videos, related lessons and activities and answer sheets so you can check your progress.
While these videos are designed for children, adults may enjoy the activities as well. Remember, since this is a British website, expect to see the British spelling (i.e., colour instead of color).
English 4 Kids offers many different videos to help children understand different concepts of the English language. The videos are divided into grade levels from kindergarten to sixth grade.
The website provides instructions on how to get the most from watching the videos and they also include worksheets, games, flashcards and other resources to help children understand and interact with the material. There are even additional resources for parents and teachers to help guide their children and students during the learning process.
For older learners, English 4 Kids also runs English Media Lab, a similar website with lessons geared towards adults.
“Sesame Street” is a very popular TV show, even outside of the U.S. This children’s television show has been on the air since 1969, teaching children how to read and count, as well as some everyday life skills.
While “Sesame Street” is translated into languages all over the globe, English learners will find the simple lessons in letters and numbers suitable for their children and themselves. The video website features popular videos from the kid’s show.
English Learning Websites for Teens and Adults
5. English Club
English Club is a free resource for English learners. Founded in 1997, English Club has provided videos, games, blogs and more for English learners. They report that many student visitors to the website aren’t native English speakers.
English Club is mainly in British English, though most lessons can be used for English learners in America as well. English Club states that they make the differences clear when they come up.
While they have tons of video clips for a variety of topics, check out their “Learning English Videos” section for specific videos about the English language.
FluentU has made it their mission to expand language learning beyond traditional textbooks. They realize it’s easy to remember words you hear through material that means something to you. That’s why their website features videos from many different genres that will help an English learner like you understand English the way it’s naturally spoken.
FluentU features many different types of videos from movie trailers to music videos. It also tests your understanding with reviews and quizzes so you can get immediate feedback and mark your progress.
Keep in mind that FluentU is great for learners of any age and level—it may just be an especially great resource for older and more advanced English learners, since it puts native materials right in front of you.
7. Real English
Founded by American and British English teachers, Real English is devoted to providing English learners with native English in everyday environments. The videos on the website are mainly everyday, spontaneous (unplanned) dialogues. The videos feature native English speakers who aren’t actors. They include interactive exercises to help you actively learn.
Fun English Games features many different free videos for English language learners. Whether you want to focus on vocabulary, grammar or just want to have some fun, there’s a video you’ll enjoy.
The videos show the words to help you understand. The website also features games and activities you can use with the videos you watch. There’s even a special section for children.
Who can forget YouTube? Type “ESL videos” in the search engine and many suggestions will pop up. Many of the instructors give full lessons for free. There are too many options to list here. Each YouTube host has a different style and approach. Try different videos to see what works best for you. The variety of choices may be overwhelming. Get started with these suggestions.
We realize that YouTube is a vast universe. Here are a couple favorite channels with interactive videos to help you learn English.
- Learn English by Cartoon — From everyday scenarios to specific categories such as jobs or food, practice your English with fun cartoons.
- Learn English Conversation — These videos include simple conversations and exercises to help you hear the language and practice using what you hear.
- Daily English Conversation — Not to be confused with Learn English Conversation, Daily English Conversation is a separate, free channel that gives you exposure to grammar tenses and conversation.
Now that you have some suggestions, try the different websites to see where you’ll find your favorite English videos. Many of the resources are free, so use them to have fun learning English with videos.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.