There’s no doubt about it, we’re living in a digital world. We have more power at our fingertips than ever before.
Did you know a smartphone has over 100,000 times more power than the computers that landed the Apollo 13 spacecraft on the moon?
What will you do with all that power?
Watch funny animal videos on YouTube?
Endlessly scroll through social media apps?
What about practicing a skill that will have real benefits in the future?
What about studying a language that will introduce you to the globalized world?
I’m talking about studying English, of course!
With the right apps, you’ll be able to introduce English study into your daily life with ease.
So what are you waiting for?
Let’s take a look at everything we need to know about learning English with apps.
Why Learn English with Apps?
As we’ve discussed previously, learning English with apps has many advantages and real-world applications. Maybe you already use apps as part of your study plan or are wondering about which apps to download.
Either way, let’s do a quick recap of the benefits of app learning.
- It’s convenient: To say something is “convenient” means it’s easy and quick. Apps are definitely a convenient way to learn. They make a great resource for studying when you’re busy. When you’re on the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office or having a coffee, you can use your time to do a short English lesson.
You might only practice for a few minutes at a time, but this practice adds up!
- It’s fun and interactive: While English learning apps are designed to teach you English, they’re also designed to be fun. This is a great way to have a break if you’re learning with a more traditional method such as an English class. It’s also a pressure-free environment. You can learn at your own pace and take your time with the games and activities.
- It’s inexpensive: Many apps are free or very low-cost. Apps make a perfect and cheap introduction to English learning or a support system for your main learning method.
- There are solo and interactive options: With English apps, you can choose from options that are individual or social. Sometimes, you can challenge another app user to a contest. You can talk, play games and solve puzzles with English speakers or learners from around the world and then take a break with some solo study.
- It’s rewarding: While English apps may not be as official as an exam or grade, they usually follow a structure. In this way, you can see your performance improve over time. In many apps, you can earn points towards an overall score. This will make you feel good and keep you motivated!
How to Learn English with Apps
Unfortunately, learning with apps isn’t as easy as simply opening the app and hoping English will pour into your brain. Apps need to be thought of as instruments. And like all instruments, there are particular ways that they should be used to increase their power and benefit.
Below you’ll find general tips that can be used for all types of apps.
Start with Your Personal Interests
There’s an expression in English: “start with what you know.” One of the best ways to start learning English with apps is to begin with apps that you’re already familiar with.
If you’re an Instagram user, you can start by following some new accounts that promote English learning. You can then begin to discover all the fun ways to learn English with Instagram.
If you love music, look for an app that connects you to English-language music.
If you love video games, find an app that is structured like a video game.
There are so many apps to help you learn English. There’s truly something perfect for everyone.
Make Use of Your Free Time
One of the best things about learning with apps is that you can learn in just a few minutes every day. Even the busiest learners can squeeze in some learning.
For example, if you’re a Twitter user, you can start by interacting with fellow users in English. Of course, this is just one of many cool ways you can use Twitter to learn English and enjoy your free time.
If you use an app such as Facebook, switch the official language over to English. Secondly, find some good Facebook pages for learning English. Finally, use messenger to communicate with English speakers from around the world.
As you can see, you’re making some minor (but very important) changes to the way you use these apps.
Form a Habit
One of my friends was learning Spanish, so he switched his Facebook language to Spanish. When I asked him why his Facebook was in Spanish, he said he barely even noticed it. It had been in Spanish for over a year!
He was reading and learning a little bit of Spanish every time he opened his phone, and he didn’t even realize it! It just became part of his daily routine and app use.
You can learn English in the same way. Do a little bit every single day, and at some point, it’ll just become part of your daily routine.
The most important step in habit-forming is consistency. Try to choose apps that offer daily challenges or apps that can track your performance over time. If you check your social media accounts daily, then start by putting those apps in English.
Use Apps to Interact with Other People
One of the great benefits of using apps is the ability to connect with other people. You’ll be surprised how many people are out there wanting to chat with you!
If you’re using chatting apps like WhatsApp with your friends already, then why not use messaging apps to meet new people and practice English?
You can make new friends, discuss interesting topics and most importantly, practice your English.
If you ask nicely, you’ll find that many people are happy to correct your English and give you advice.
If you’re using a messaging app like WhatsApp, it’s always a good idea to set up an “exchange” situation where you can help the other person with your native language, too.
Consider Apps as a Supplementary Tool
Supplementary means something additional or extra.
It’s good to think of English learning apps as a supplementary tool in your English learning program.
English apps are great for learning and unbeatable in terms of convenience. However, an organized classroom setting or English course is great to have as a main focus, especially as a beginner.
Apps are great for specific components of English such as vocabulary or grammar. Alongside an English class, they’ll help you get fluent faster.
What Types of English Learning Apps Are There?
So, we know that apps are a great supplement to our general English learning. We also know that they often focus on one particular area of learning such as spelling, grammar or verb conjugation.
Therefore, it’s important that you decide which type of app will best suit your learning needs and language goals. This is because apps range in level, skill and topics.
For example, are you looking for an English app for beginners or something more advanced?
There are many options to choose from.
There are many apps for many different needs, and it’s up to you to decide what’s the best option.
One of the best starting places is to choose an app that focuses on areas that you consider weak or have some difficulties with and go from there. You can explore all the different choices to find the ultimate English improvement apps for your learning situation.
However, to get an overall look at the different apps, let’s break them down into smaller categories.
There are heaps of new and exciting developments when it comes to translator apps. These range from basic apps that translate typed words all the way to augmented reality apps that read text from your phone.
Translator apps would be best suited to a self-learner who may not have the resources or opportunity to ask questions about word meaning or definitions. They’re also a great resource for English learners who are living in an English-speaking country and may need an immediate translation of a particular word or phrase.
Spelling and Dictionary Apps
Spelling apps are great fun! This is because they’re often in the form of a quiz or challenge. Spelling apps are the perfect resource for an English learner who’s hoping to improve their reading comprehension and writing skills. They offer the opportunity to learn lots of vocabulary and practice a sometimes forgotten but very important skill: spelling!
Of course, they’re also a great way to introduce English spelling to small children who are skilled in technology.
In addition to this, a language dictionary app should be on every language learner’s phone or computer. Whether you want to learn English fast with dictionary apps, or take it to the next level with an interactive dictionary app, there’s a whole range of options to choose from.
We’ve discussed the benefits of using speaking apps. They offer the opportunity to exchange with native English speakers from across the world. And thankfully, there are many innovative English speaking apps to choose from.
There are many benefits to using these apps. You’ll be able to ask specific questions to native speakers. You’ll also be able to learn about cultural differences and make new friends along the way.
Many conversation apps will suit a learner with an intermediate to a high level of English. This is because some English speaking skills are required to begin.
There are several options for English learners to take advantage of conversation practice apps. These are also great for confidence-building purposes.
If you want to learn to speak English like a native, speaking apps are a fantastic learning option.
Flashcards are a classic way to practice and study vocabulary. That’s why there’s such a huge range of flashcard apps for English learning. You can choose apps with pre-set words or even create your own set of flashcards.
Flashcard apps are a great resource for learners who are busy, or those who don’t spend much time at home. With a flashcard app, you can review your flashcards whenever you have a bit of free time.
Flashcards are also great for those who are taking an English class, since they’re a great way to review for a big exam.
In addition to this, they’re a great introduction to new vocabulary. Start by making your way through the top must-try English flashcard apps and then branch out from there.
To make the most of English flashcard apps, be sure to do a little bit every day. This will ensure that all the information sticks to your brain!
Grammar apps are a handy resource to brush up on (improve your understanding) all things English grammar. The great thing about grammar apps is that many are very broad meaning you can learn English grammar with nothing but your device.
Once you discover a new structure or grammatical rule you can add it to your notebook or even keep a special note on your device. It’s always recommended to try these new discoveries in a real situation such as writing or speaking!
Proper pronunciation takes practice.
Thankfully, there’s an incredible range of pronunciation apps for you to choose from.
You can start with basic android apps for English pronunciation. If you’re a more advanced learner, look at pronunciation apps that focus on speaking clear and confident English. This will depend entirely on your level and English speaking confidence.
Speaking English can be scary at first. One of the great benefits of pronunciation apps is that you can practice at home on your own! Once you’re slightly more confident, you can practice speaking in public.
To use these apps effectively, you should be putting what you learn into practice. This means taking these tips and skills from the apps and using them to help you with native conversations and communication.
Vocabulary apps are another common option. These are a fun way to introduce new and interesting vocabulary into your study routine. You can start with the top pronunciation apps and see how much you learn.
You can also challenge yourself with some unconventional English vocabulary apps. One of the most important parts of using these apps is making sure you remember the vocabulary that you learn. Choose apps the let you save vocabulary or keep a note of new words that you come across. You can begin to build a vocabulary base in this way.
Make sure to use new vocabulary when speaking and writing. This is the best way to make sure you’re learning.
Listening apps are perhaps one of the best app types for your commute. (A commute is the time you spend going from your home to your workplace.)
Listening apps are fantastic as they cover a huge range of different topics. That means they’re entertaining and a lot of fun. Get started with some listening apps to help build your fluency.
Listening apps can be a passive form of learning. If you want, you can make the lessons active. After listening to something, try to give yourself a quiz on the content and summarize the information that you were listening to.
Listening apps will suit learners of all levels, although some comprehension skills will be required to listen to more advanced audio.
That being said, beginners will find good listening apps with slow, simple audio.
New apps are being created all the time. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up-to-date with all the latest developments!
While I’m a big believer in conversation apps, you might prefer talking to a chat robot to learn English. This can be a great way to boost your writing confidence. These apps are great for beginners who aren’t quite ready to attempt native conversations in English.
If you’re interested in technology, you can check out virtual reality tools to help you discover a whole new world of English.
Finally, there are many entertainment-based apps that will help you with your English learning through movies, TV and pop culture. For example, there are English android TV apps for you to practice English with. Using entertainment-based apps can be a fun and engaging way to study authentic English.
But what if you want to find just one app that accomplishes many of these tasks?
There are some incredible apps that combine modern content with meaningful and results-based activities. This leads us nicely to our next point. For example, the FluentU English app has found a great balance between fun and learning.
Why the FluentU App Is a Great Choice for English Learners
FluentU is what I’d consider an all-around great app. This means it has many different functions to help you learn English. You can use it to practice vocabulary, listening comprehension, grammar and more.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
FluentU solves a very common problem for English learners. Many believe that simply watching TV series or movies in English is enough. However, this is a passive form of learning. FluentU turns it into active learning.
FluentU takes entertaining content and turns it into something great. Every video is carefully subtitled in English. You can find flashcards for review, a dictionary, audio lessons and additional features. Every piece of content is its own structured language learning lesson.
You might note that many of these types of content are offered as single apps above. The FluentU English learning program is a mixture of all the best features from several types of learning apps in one.
Best of all, the entire library is made up of native content. This means that everything that you find on the app is completely authentic. This is perhaps the most important benefit of using the FluentU app. You’ll be learning English the way that it’s used and spoken by everyday English speakers.
Sign up for free and see just how much English you absorb from one app.
Other Great Apps to Supplement FluentU Learning
From my experience, one of the best approaches to learning with apps is to focus on one app but download a few other apps to supplement it.
As we’ve discussed, choosing FluentU as your central app will cover a number of different learning goals.
You can then introduce other apps to help you with the overall learning experience once you’re familiar with the FluentU program.
If you’re looking for more English apps, read our list of the best apps for English learning to get you started.
Want even more? Consider the options in this list of English app downloads.
If you have an Android phone, make sure to look at this list of addictive android apps that make English learning easy.
Looking for something more specific? Here are our picks:
- Free apps: If you’re on a budget or already paying for classes then there are a number of convenient and free English learning apps for you to choose from.
- Language exchange apps: You may sometimes find it difficult to incorporate a speaking practice routine into your English study. This is especially true for self-learners or those who study at home. Because of this, you should download a language exchange app to start practicing your native English speaking skills with ease. The Hello English app is a good choice.
- App-based English courses: If you’re searching for more structure to incorporate into your study schedule, you might want to consider an app-based English course. You can use an app like Gymglish alongside your FluentU studies.
Language apps are convenient, fun and energizing. With the right approach, apps can take your English skills to the next level.
Most importantly, apps are really fun and rewarding. So, what are you waiting for?
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.