You can feel your eyes getting heavy.
It’s so hard to concentrate.
You’re not interested in studying English right now.
You need to learn, but you’re so bored it’s making you sleepy.
You’d rather just play around on your laptop.
Sure, you could buy some fancy language learning software, but maybe you don’t have a fancy computer.
Don’t most of those cool, colorful, fun programs require a Mac, or a lot of money, or… something?
Not at all.
There are plenty of affordable programs available for your PC that are sophisticated enough to satisfy any learner’s needs.
In this post, we’ll go over some online and software options that will give you a fresh look at the English language and new opportunities to practice it.
Why Using English Learning Programs on Your PC Is a Great Idea
Language learning programs have become a software genre (type) of their own, with different programs having different strengths. Some programs will give you more practice in pronunciation than others, for example, while others focus more on grammar. A lot of these programs are available for PC. This means that, if you’re a PC user, you can easily find programs that build all of the skills you need.
Are you in school? If so, your teacher may or may not use technology in class, but you can benefit from using English language software along with studying and homework. Using a program that makes learning feel more like a game takes the stress out of learning. Many newer programs are designed to be fun and will make you forget that you’re studying. You may still have school work to complete, but it’s good to take your head out of your book every once in a while. Language learning works best when you use a variety of methods.
English language learning software also gives you a way to immerse yourself if you’re unable to travel. English learning programs often offer interactive speaking and pronunciation lessons. While this is no substitute for a real partner, it’s great for getting some practice. Many programs also teach you about English-language culture, so you can feel closer to people who speak English even if you can’t go to an English-speaking country.
Wake Up! 10 Refreshing English Learning PC Software Options
These days, lots of people prefer to use online programs rather than software that you can install directly on your computer, so this list includes programs that give you either or both of these options. Some of these can be used on both PC and Mac computers, and some can also be used on mobile devices, but they can all be used on a PC.
While prices are included, they may vary depending on what features you want. Also, some of these programs are free! Keep in mind that you may even be able to access some of the paid programs for free through your school or library.
Learn Speak English
Description: Learn Speak English is an application provided by Microsoft. It will work both on your Android mobile device as well as your PC computer. The Learn Speak English application will help you with your English pronunciation.
What makes it great: Learn Speak English does have an emphasis on British English, but the exercises will be good practice for you no matter what kind of English you’re learning. The app uses Microsoft Speech Recognition and sounds with samples from Cambridge University Press. It also comes with video guides from the BBC.
With audio and video recordings accompanying each sound, you’ll always learn correct pronunciation. Since this program is easy to use and focuses on beginner vocabulary, it’s a great way to get started with English learning software!
Description: Like Learn Speak English, you can download Hello English from Microsoft. The application is available for your Android mobile device and your PC computer. Hello English is used by millions of English learners to master English speaking. This is another free application that’s a good introduction to English learning software.
What makes it great: This application, unlike Learn Speak English, allows you to practice grammar and vocabulary building in addition to spoken English. You get access to 475 lessons that you can download for offline use. You also get a dictionary, games and chats with real English teachers.
Cost: 15-day free trial. $20-30 monthly.
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It even reminds you when it’s time to review! Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
Cost: About $7 to $19 monthly for the English program. The price varies depending on subscription type and length. If you’re a student, you can use the link above to register and get 10% off!
Description: Rosetta Stone is a popular program that has been around for many years. It allows you to learn English on your own schedule and on various devices. The program focuses on building vocabulary with interactive lessons.
What makes it great: Rosetta Stone prides itself on speech technology. It uses technology that’s been trusted by government programs such as NASA and the U.S. State Department. Rosetta Stone allows you to learn through fun activities like reading stories and practicing your accent with advanced technology.
Cost: Check price on Amazon.
Description: Instant Immersion is another program that builds your language skills with interactive exercises. While it’s available as computer software, you can transfer lessons to your mobile device. You also get an interactive DVD.
What makes it great: The Instant Immersion program uses various methods such as voice technology that compares your accent to a native speaker. You can also play games, including “Who Is Oscar Lake?,” a mystery with three possible endings and 1200 vocabulary words. You can have fun by participating in conversations using virtual reality.
Cost: Varies greatly depending on your program format.
Description: Innovative Language provides learners podcast video lessons accessible on a variety of devices. There are a ton of optional features like extra lessons, study tools, access to a teacher and more.
What makes it great: Innovative Language truly has something for everyone. With all of the different program formats and material for all levels, you’ll find something that’s right for you and your learning style. When you download your lessons onto your Apple or Android device, you can take your lessons and study on the go.
Cost: $39 and up.
Description: With downloadable software or a subscription program, Living Language provides English learners with three levels of learning, from “essential” English to advanced English. You can also choose from specialty courses such as business, travel and career-specific (law enforcement, health, education) English.
What makes it great: The program builds a foundation (a base) on basic phrases and grows to advanced language skills, including discussing technology and current events. Living Language uses audio and visual resources, games and recall (memory) exercises to help you best remember the information. Since there are many different courses for you to choose from, you can choose the Living Language course that’s best for you.
Learn It Now English
Cost: Around $40.
Description: Learn It Now English Premier allows you to study with games and interactive lessons. The program guarantees that you gain confidence in your English speaking skills in 30 days.
What makes it great: This program is good for English learners of all levels. You can learn using the computer software or the on-the-go mobile lessons. You can start with a beginner program—where you’ll master the basics in greetings, travel English and introductions—and go all the way to the advanced program where you can speak in conversations. You can learn while playing games, and also utilize a flashcard system and advanced speech analysis.
Cost: $15 per month, with some other options. (May vary depending on current sales and offers.)
Description: Rocket Languages was started in 2004 by two friends. The program is designed to have users speaking from the first lesson and reduce study time. You can use lessons across a variety of devices.
What makes it great: The Rocket English program includes interactive audio lessons, flashcards, pronunciation practice and lessons in culture. To help yourself remember information, you can use the memory-enhancing testing tools and chat with other English learners on the online member’s forum.
Cost: Free with a premium ad-free option.
Description: Duolingo understands that learning a language can be expensive. They’ve created a program that will teach you the same information you would learn in a semester of a university-level language course, but in an interactive way, and for free.
What makes it great: Duolingo is a cost-effective way to help you master the basics of the English language. Your lessons are automatically graded, giving you an idea of where you stand with each skill. The Duolingo program uses a game format by rewarding you for completing your lessons with incentives to keep you coming back.
The Duolingo program is great for beginning learners and more advanced learners because it offers constant reviews to make sure you remember the material.
As you can see, there are plenty of fun, affordable ways to learn English right on your PC.
Try one of the above options right now!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.