Learning is like exercise.
The older you get, the harder it seems.
But just like adults who work out, people who keep learning after school get a lot of benefits.
This is especially true for working adults.
To gain promotions, employees need to keep learning new skills. And English proficiency is the best skill any employee almost anywhere in the world can learn.
But, of course, it can be extremely hard to learn a language as a working adult.
Between work, family and all of our other obligations, how can anyone find time to study English?
Do not worry—even the busiest professional can find time to learn English, as long as they have the right resources.
In this post, we will look at the best study techniques and flexible online courses to learn English for working adults.
Why Learn English as a Working Adult?
- It opens up new employment opportunities: English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. All jobs in English-speaking countries require fluency in English. In other countries, too, companies that work internationally often require employees to have good English skills.
- You can communicate with the world online: Most internet sites are in English. And most internet users, regardless of their native language, use English to talk with others online.
Being fluent in English makes it quite easy to make new professional and personal connections all over the world via the internet, and get information about almost anything.
- You can keep up with the latest developments from your field: Most professional networks on social media (such as LinkedIn) generally use English. Most media sites and scholarly articles are written in English. Regardless of your occupation, you can find out about the latest trends of your field with English resources.
How to Make Time for English Practice While Working
- Listen to podcasts while traveling: You can practice English while commuting or traveling for work. Just select an English-language podcast, download some episodes to your device and use headphones to listen to them while traveling.
- Use multimedia learning materials: You can practice listening, reading, speaking and other skills all at once with multimedia resources. For example, the videos and courses in this article will require you to watch, listen to and sometimes read English, so you will master many skills within a short span of time.
- Use apps to manage your time and learning: Time-management apps such a Pomodroido (Android) or Pomodoro-Tracker (iOS) as well as flashcard apps such as Quizlet help you focus and become more efficient in English learning.
- Look for practice opportunities in your daily life: Talking to English speakers around you, interacting online and copying how actors in English movies speak can improve your English skills dramatically without taking extra time out of your day.
7 Incredible, Flexible Courses to Learn English as a Working Adult
Our favorite courses to learn English for working adults are below. They are all highly flexible, so they are easy to fit into your work schedule. Several even have a specific focus on professional English to help you excel in your career.
EnglishLive offers courses that can match your specific needs. That means you will not waste any time on lessons that are not relevant to you. Plus, you can focus on English to help your career, if that is your goal.
They have a general English course with 16 levels. Each level teaches you practical skills. For example, in level one, you will learn how to greet others and introduce your family.
But they also have courses for business English, travel English, job-specific English and English for competitive exams. These English courses are for people who have an intermediate level of knowledge about English. If you want to learn the basics, then it is best to start with general English and then choose a more specialized course.
The job-specific English course covers seven professional fields. If you want to learn English to work in the banking, medical, legal, travel/hospitality, science, automotive (dealing with vehicles like cars) or information technology sectors then this course will be the best for you.
FluentU is a highly personalized English course that you will actually want to use during your off-work hours.
FluentU provides authentic English videos, like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks and more, and transforms them into language learning experiences.
Each video comes with interactive captions—hover over any word and the video will automatically pause to show you a definition and visual learning aid. You will actively learn new words while absorbing English the way native speakers actually use it. And since learners focus on the words and phrases they do not recognize, everyone has a totally unique experience, even watching the same videos!
FluentU also provides flashcards, exercises, vocabulary lists and full transcripts so you can be sure you are building your English skills even when you are done watching.
You can watch as many videos as you like, whenever you want, on your computer or mobile device. That means it is easy to practice before you leave for work in the morning, on your lunch break, etc. The videos are organized by genre and learning level, so it is easy to find the ones that work for you.
You will find everything from a famous fashion designer explaining what “business casual” means, to this behind-the-scenes clip from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” You can check out the full video library for free with a FluentU trial.
This YouTube course is a good starting point for beginners. It focuses on English listening and speaking and is best for people who are trying to learn American English.
It has many types of videos that are easily organized into different categories, so you can build your own learning plan and study whenever your work schedule allows.
You can start with their English sentences playlist, where they list out various sentences related to one topic. The sentences are read aloud several times with various intonations.
For more advanced listening practice you can also listen to their short stories and English speeches.
Steve Ford is a well-known English teacher who provides free English lessons on YouTube. Similar to Boston English Centre, this is a great self-paced learning option for working adults.
Along with the usual tips and rules, he also gives advice to people from specific regions. For instance, he has made special pronunciation videos for people who speak Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese and so on.
Working adults will find his business English videos especially useful. He teaches learners how to speak in job interviews, introduces vocabulary that is used in offices and also talks about how to speak in professional situations.
If you are planning to take a competitive English exam, then he also has special lessons for both students and professionals.
As the name suggests, this course is meant for people who want to use their English skills specifically for their work. The course uses videos and audio recordings of people speaking authentically in a professional setting. Learners also take part in quizzes and discussions to check their progress.
Since learners will only need two hours per week to finish this course, most people will find it easy to make time for daily studying. However, the course requires some basic English skills so only intermediate and advanced learners can enroll.
The course focuses on topics like interviews, working with colleagues, starting a new job and other relevant skills.
Level: Intermediate to advanced
This course focuses more on face-to-face conversations than the other courses on this list. It uses videos, quizzes, role plays (acting out a realistic scene) and assignments to teach professional English. It also has specific lessons on online discussions and phone conversations.
The special thing about this course is that it teaches a lot about body language. It also teaches you the appropriate things to do during specific situations. The course focuses on practical skills like how to introduce yourself, how to agree or disagree with your coworkers and how to propose your ideas to others.
This online class is offered on Coursera, which makes university-quality education available to anyone online. While the course follows a set schedule, you can watch the lessons and complete assignments on your own time. You can also earn a certificate for your resume after completing this course.
Level: Intermediate to advanced
If you want to improve your American English speaking skills, then this course is made for you. It focuses on the practical aspects of English speaking and aims to help learners speak like natives.
For example, you will learn to blend sounds like native speakers do so your English sounds more natural. It also helps you practice your pace, tone and intonation.
You will get three hours of video lessons where you can watch how the tutor moves their mouth to pronounce words in English. You can imitate the tutors while they are speaking.
Each lesson also focuses on one concept so learners can take their time to master the basics of English speaking. This course is offered through the online learning platform Udemy , which makes it very easy to study as a working adult—once you sign up for a course, you can access the materials at any time with no expiration date.
At first if it seems too hard to take a course while working, start with some video lessons. Once you get used to regular practice you can enroll in a course and see how it goes. The best thing about online learning is that you can set your own schedule and be very flexible with your sessions.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.