There’s never been a better time to be an English learner.
The possibilities are endless.
You’re spoiled for choice, which means you have too many great options when it comes to finding English learning resources online.
From websites to courses and YouTube channels, the biggest challenge is figuring out where to start.
Online resources can help you build an English-speaking foundation.
And of course, we want to be using the best tools available! Read on to learn where to find the absolute best English learning resources.
How to Find the Best English Learning Resources
Before you jump on Google, scroll through your phone apps or sign up for an online class, you need to think about your situation.
Think about your English learning goals and decide what you need to do to achieve them. Then, look for resources that fit your needs.
There are a few steps to help us do this.
Assess Your English Level
This is where you need to be honest about your English skills.
You can place yourself in a category such as a beginner, intermediate or advanced level.
Consider your past experience with the language. Do you use English for work? Have you traveled through English-speaking countries?
You don’t want to make the mistake of buying an advanced program if you’re a beginner learner (and vice versa).
You can even check with a local English academy or ask an online English specialist to assess your level with a quick interview.
Consider Your Learning Style
When was the last time you learned something new? How did you do it?
Do you learn by doing or do you prefer to learn by studying the theory first? Do you like fun games or serious grammar exercises?
This is important to consider, as English learning resources are very different. Some focus on listening while others may be more writing-focused. Some make you feel like you’re playing a game, and others make you feel like you’re in a college classroom. It’s all about finding what works best for you.
Think About Your Daily Schedule
Have a think about how many hours per day you can commit to your English study.
Some resources, such as online courses, can be a big investment. Think about how much time you’re willing to dedicate to this goal.
Also, think about how you’ll incorporate English resources into your life. Do you do your study in the morning or in the evening? When do you feel most motivated to work?
Start with Resources That Interest You
It’s always possible to link your personal interests to language learning.
For example, if you’re interested in cinema and film, there are many great opportunities for you to learn with movies. By linking your resources to your interests, you’ll be able able to increase your enjoyment and motivation.
How to Choose the Right English Learning Resources
Below, we’re going to look at the process of finding and using the right English learning resources.
We’re going to assess some key points that cover everything to look for in your English learning content.
As discussed above, you should always keep your personal preferences in mind, too.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing an English learning resource:
Does This Resource Teach Authentic English?
You should be seeking out English resources that are made by native English speakers or include lots of native English. This is what we mean by “authentic English.”
These can be YouTube videos, courses, books, podcasts and so on.
Authentic resources are important because they teach you vocabulary that you’ll actually use in everyday English situations. Plus, if you listen to authentic English resources, you’ll know that you’re learning correct pronunciation and word usage.
Does This Resource Fit My Study Schedule?
When considering an English learning resource, it’s important to look at the intensity of the product.
Some resources are very time-consuming or require hours of study per day.
Other resources, like videos and short poems, only take up a few minutes of your time. These can be great for busy English learners.
Don’t pick up a 600-page novel in English if you know you won’t have time to finish it. Be realistic about your time goals.
How Much Does This Resource Cost?
The first step is to consider the cost and the subscription type of a particular service.
Like all products and services, English learning resources can range from free to monthly and yearly subscription-based payments.
It’s often better to pay for a resource that’s highly regarded and respected. This is better for your learning in the long term. If a resource offers a free trial subscription, you can sign up for free to decide if it’s right for you.
Is This Resource Appropriate for My English Level?
One of the most important parts of English learning is matching the resources to your English level.
This means that if you’re an intermediate learner you should be focusing on intermediate-level products.
Check to see if the resource “learns with you” and will increase in difficulty as you progress. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re growing and developing your skills.
Do Other People Like This Resource?
It’s always advisable to look at reviews of the product that you’re considering using in your studies.
You can also look at the number of users and even reach out to the creators or support team of the product or resource. You can contact them with any questions or doubts you may have.
Is This Resource Enjoyable?
Is the product entertaining? Does it use modern technology or information?
As we’ve discussed above, making the most of real-world English resources is very important to ensure a fun and authentic learning experience.
More importantly, entertainment can often help with motivation and productivity. If you’re enjoying your studies, then naturally you’ll be encouraged to continue.
Does This Resource Meet All of My Learning Needs?
Is it possible to find a resource that covers all of these points?
Yes! It can be possible to find a resource that’s all-encompassing. What does this mean? It means a resource that covers all of our key points above.
A perfect example of this is FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
FluentU ticks all the boxes (fulfills all the main points) when it comes to choosing a learning resource.
The program uses native content that’s modern and constantly being updated. Also, the FluentU learning system grows with you, meaning you’re able to keep growing your skills at an appropriate level.
Best of all, it’s a fun way to gain exposure to spoken English with a user-friendly website. You can customize your lessons and search for videos that are related to your learning experience or interests. This means the program will fit with all learning styles and you’ll have fun while you learn.
You can try FluentU for free and see if it’s the right fit for you!
The Best English Learning Resources for Independent Learners
If you’re planning to learn English on your own, then you’ll want to maximize areas that you may miss out on if you were in a class. These include several aspects of English learning, speaking in particular.
Let’s take a look at some of the best types of resources for a self-learner below.
Online Conversation Apps
Generally speaking, self-learners may not have the same chances to practice English speaking when compared to a student who attends a class.
Because of this, one of the best ways to learn English speaking is to make the most of online conversation apps. In this way, you can engage with native speakers or English learners while receiving real-time feedback.
There’s a whole range of English apps at your fingertips!
By making the most of English learning apps you can study English at any time. Whether it’s with verb conjugations, games, quizzes or any other type of English learning app, you’ll find a handy resource to assist with your daily study needs.
Audiobooks are a great support to your English learning.
They’re very convenient to use, as you can blend them into your daily routine. Whether you’re at the gym or on the train, you can practice listening.
Best of all, there are plenty of options when it comes to audiobooks. This means you’ll find one to suit your level and learning needs.
Modern Multi-Use Platforms
If you’re a self-learner, look for resources that serve more than one purpose. FluentU is a great example. It offers videos, but you can also find flashcards, comprehension quizzes and reading practice.
FluentU is a perfect method to practice listening, English comprehension and vocabulary. You’ll also be able to gain cultural insights and learn the unique components of a particular language.
When searching for resources on your own, finding resources that offer more than one part of English learning is very important.
Lesson Plan Sites
If you’re learning on your own, you can still take advantage of all the wonderful English teaching materials that exist.
If you’re a learner who enjoys learning with structured materials that follow a logical order, you can access teacher websites to find lesson plans to do yourself.
You could even check your answers with an online conversation partner.
Entertainment and Streaming Services
When learning a language on your own it’s important to create an environment of immersion. This means that you should be creating an environment where you’re constantly hearing and seeing English.
By simply switching your entertainment and downtime to English you’re able to add lots of English listening into your everyday life. Some of the most popular ways to do this are by watching films, TV shows, documentaries and the news in English.
The Best English Resources to Supplement an English Course
Taking an English course is one of the best strategies to develop your thinking skills, cultural understanding and English language skills. You’ll also meet heaps of new people and make new friends!
There are many high-quality online English courses available that’ll suit every type of learning need. English courses are definitely recommended as a method of learning. This is because they follow a structure and have been designed by professionals. Also, they often focus on the most important or necessary parts of English learning.
Of course, it’s always advisable to support your course learning with additional resources. This is to ensure a more “complete” learning experience and make it a more personalized experience. For example, if you’re planning to move to Australia then you can supplement your course learning with Australian English materials.
For this reason, we’re going to take a look at some of the best resources available that perfectly support an online English language learning course.
Speaking and Exchange Partners
By taking an online English course, you’ll be able to acquire a deep knowledge of English grammar. However, there are sometimes limited opportunities to practice speaking. This will depend on the structure of the class and the number of students.
That’s why one of your best resources can be a speaking or exchange partner.
These aren’t necessarily the same as a conversation partner from an online app. A speaking or exchange partner can be a friend or language learner with who you exchange languages.
To make the best use of this resource you need to organize a schedule with your speaking partner. This is so you can ensure equal time spent on each language. It’s also advisable to prepare questions and topics of discussion to make the conversation like a real English class.
English Writing Apps and Spell Checkers
In addition to our previously discussed point, there may also be limited opportunities to practice English writing in an online course.
This means that we need to go beyond our online courses to practice our English writing skills. Using a writing app such as a spell checker is a great way to make sure that you’re writing in the correct format. Especially when you don’t have a professional teacher checking your skills.
If you do have opportunities to practice writing in your class, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have access to a spell checker before you turn in assignments!
English Reading Websites
There are lots of English reading resources available, ranging from very basic and children’s resources to advanced literature and poetry.
Some of the best resources for practicing English reading are websites that collect pieces of literature such as short stories or news. If you’re a beginner, look for websites with leveled content (content specifically designed for beginners).
One of the best ways to make the most of these resources is to choose a piece that you’re interested in and focus on it deeply. If you’re looking to practice your English reading skills another great approach is to search for resources on official English exam websites. These will often include additional tools such as summaries, quizzes and follow-up writing activities.
The Best English Learning Resources to Prepare for Travel or Immigration
Online Exam Resources
Many countries require some accredited level of English skills in order to immigrate.
Because of this, some of the best resources available will include sample exams, practice quizzes and speaking questions. You can always simulate these with a language partner.
The benefits of this resource are evident: The more you study for the English exam, the better your chances of receiving a higher mark and therefore fulfilling the immigration or visa requirements.
English Classes (Exam-focused)
There are many different types of English classes and many options when it comes to choosing the right course.
You’ll find that many English academies and courses often focus on an “exam-style” syllabus. This means that the courses will usually base their materials on English exams.
If your end goal is to immigrate to an English-speaking country then finding an English class that offers exam preparation would be an excellent choice. You’ll also get experience communicating in English, which will help you with travel or immigration.
News and Radio
Whether the purpose is immigration or travel, before you jump on the flight, check out local news and radio. This is a great way to study the culture and language of the country that you’re visiting or moving to.
By watching the news from the country you’re visiting, or listening to local radio stations, you’ll gain insight into the culture, slang and general feel of the country.
A great way to make these resources as useful as possible is to make sure you change stations and search for different news sources.
Luckily, there are often simplified news programs made specifically for English learners. If you use these resources, you can focus on your English learning and develop cultural understanding.
Phrasebooks and Travel Guides
Specifically for travel, you’ll find phrasebooks a very valuable resource for a last-minute trip.
This is because they’re usually shortened to contain information that’s only valuable to the country you’re planning to visit.
In addition to this, they follow a structure and are well organized. If you use a travel guide you’ll gain insight into cultural components and basic information about your destination.
Finding a private tutor can be a great option to prepare yourself for immigration and travel.
With the number of online teachers and the growth of online teaching in general, you should find a private tutor who will teach English and offer cultural information.
In addition to this, you may find a private tutor who specializes in exam preparation for visas and immigration requirements.
The Best English Learner Resources for Professional English
YouTube (Interviews and Business Channels)
YouTube is packed full of useful content for an English learner. In fact, you need only search “business English” to find tons of useful content.
You can watch interviews in action or practice answering the telephone in a professional manner. You can also learn how to take your current English skills and improve them in a more business-oriented direction.
Professional Writing Courses
Writing is a key part of the English language. It may sometimes be forgotten as learners tend to focus on improving their speaking and comprehension skills.
However, as a business English student, the importance of professional writing can’t be underestimated. From emails to briefs and even specialist areas such as copywriting and legal writing, taking a professional English writing course can be a great starting point. These can be taken with the local university or even online.
Business English Podcasts
Business English podcasts can be an excellent choice for a business English learner.
This is because they provide English learning practice and also teach you about business.
Obviously, a huge component of business English is communication, especially verbal communication. So, finding opportunities to develop your English listening and comprehension skills is an excellent option for a business English learner.
Business Books and Textbooks
Business books can be a great source of information. They’re also valuable for a long period of time.
Did you know that there are many different business English textbooks? A quick Google search will help you locate them. With these textbooks, you’re able to study this specific type of English at your own pace. It’s simply a matter of finding the right resource for your level and then going from there!
The Best Free English Learning Resources
Learning English with music has long been a favorite method for English learners. It’s enjoyable, convenient and there’s no shortage of content to use.
This approach is great for English learners because you can create enjoyable English lessons using music that you enjoy.
You can follow along with lyrics to practice vocabulary. You can sing to practice pronunciation. You can translate lyrics to practice more difficult parts of English such as metaphors and descriptive language.
Learning English with music can be a difficult approach for a beginner learner. This is because of the speed, difficulties of following a singing voice and the poetic language. If you’re a beginner, start with basic pop songs and just focus on pronunciation. Over time, slowly increase the level.
Using English videos from platforms such as YouTube is a common tool for English learners.
This is because the content is readily available. Similar to music, YouTube videos can be linked to areas of personal interest or passions.
Obviously, there are a number of free English lessons on YouTube as well as shorter clips that offer English lessons. While this is a great way to practice English listening and comprehension, there’s a lack of interaction. This means that you’ll be unable to ask questions, clarify points and engage in any speaking activities.
If you’re learning English with free videos, it’s a good idea to supplement them with another resource.
For example, you could make a powerful combo (combination) by using the FluentU program and FluentU’s English YouTube channel.
In this channel, you will find authentic content that has been transformed into amazing free English learning lessons.
Take for instance the following video, which analyzes the trailer of “To all the boys I’ve loved before:”
Or this one, where you can learn with the trailer of “Aladdin:”
With FluentU’s EnglishYouTube channel, you will get a taste of what authentic content can do to improve your English skills. Subscribe today so you do not miss any new video!
Free English Apps
Using a free English app is a great way to incorporate English studies into your day and work it around your routine.
They’re a great way to practice specific components of English study, but are often restricted to one area of focus. Free English apps are a great way to squeeze in some extra study or assist with other study areas such as spell checkers or writing assistance.
Like with other free resources, it’s a good idea to supplement them with another resource to make sure you’re practicing all skills.
English resources come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re an English language learner, then choosing the right resources will save you time, energy and money!
Take your time to consider all options available and remember that the most important resource of all is your positive attitude. Never give up, and have fun!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.