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9 Free & Affordable English Online Courses You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

I’d love to take an English class!

Let me just check my schedule…

Oh.

Sometimes, it’s just not possible to take an in-person class to learn English. Between work, family and everything else that we value in our lives, finding a few hours to attend class just isn’t possible.

It can also simply be too expensive.

But I bet you know where I’m going with this, right? Luckily, we live in an age where you can learn English right from the comfort of your own home. With an English online course, you can save time and money while learning the language successfully.

Since there are so many online English courses available, we saved you even more time by compiling the best of the best, all in one handy guide.

But before we dive into our list of English online courses, let’s talk about some more benefits of learning English online.
 


 
Learn a foreign language with videos

Why Take an English Online Course?

  • They’re easy to use. Even if you’re not the most technologically savvy (knowledgable), you shouldn’t have a problem with these online courses. They’re designed to be easy to use.
  • They’re often inexpensive, free or have free trials. It’s true! Many online courses in English are free or quite affordable, especially when compared to traditional university courses.
  • They’re good for learners who are shy or may feel a little embarrassed about their English skills. An in-person class can be intimidating, especially for English beginners. Studying in the comfort of your own home can be very helpful until you become more confident in English.
  • They require no travel and only a device with an internet connection. If you don’t drive or want to save gas money, online courses are perfect for you. You can learn English from home in your pajamas.
  • Online courses are usually very flexible, so full-time workers or students can learn English in their free time. Time isn’t an easy thing to sacrifice, but online courses create flexibility for almost any kind of schedule. Study in the morning, after work, on your lunch break—whenever you have time.
  • They offer networking opportunities: You’ll likely be interacting with other English students for assistance and homework help while taking an online course. Just like with a physical class, you can network with other learners.

Learn to Speak English (from Anywhere): Top 9 English Online Courses

Let’s look at the pros, cons and costs of these nine stellar English courses online.

English as a Second Language from Aston American University

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This is one of the best English learning courses on OnlineStudies.com, a great website for online learners.

It’ll help you grow your practical English abilities, with a focus on English for the workplace. You’ll practice speaking and pronunciation, listening comprehension, writing and reading. The course promises to make you more confident in your English skills overall.

There are four levels to this course (beginner, elementary, intermediate and advanced) so all English learners can benefit.

The course itself is a bit pricey at around $1,750, but scholarships are available.

English for Career Development from the University of Pennsylvania

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The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) crafted a very useful little English course through Coursera, a popular online learning site. English for Career Development is ideal for English learners who want to perfect their business English skills.

In this course, you’ll improve your writing, communication and career development skills. It’s only about 21 hours long (it’s recommended to spread the course over two weeks) and you can start the class immediately.

Flexible deadlines also make this one worth looking into—you can complete the work on your own schedule.

You also have the option to pay $49 if you’d like an official certificate at the end of the course. UPenn is a well-known, highly regarded university in the U.S., so it would look great on your resume.

American English Speech from Carnegie Mellon University

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Carnegie Mellon University is another well known American school. Their English online course is perfect for learners who want to improve their English speech and American English accent—but don’t want to spend a lot of money. It’s a free course!

You’ll study American English intonation, pronunciations of vowels and more.

It’s self-paced so you can use this course whenever you want for as long as you’d like.

Authentic English Video Lessons from FluentU

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FluentU is a great place to learn all the aspects of English, the way native speakers really use the language—no matter what level you’re currently at.

This unique online English program teaches you through authentic English video clips and lessons. You’ll learn with real English movie clips, TV commercials, inspiring speeches, news reports and more.

Simply select your English level and start watching the video lessons. You’ll quickly notice that FluentU isn’t just a video player. Stuck on a word? Roll your cursor over the interactive subtitles to pause the video and access definitions, pronunciations and examples of that word. It’s a great and very practical way to learn English words in context.

After you’re done watching a video, FluentU quizzes you with fun exercises and flashcards.

FluentU tracks your progress to make sure you’re always moving towards fluency. It’ll suggest new videos based on what you’ve already learned. An automated system will even make sure you review words at just the right moment, before you forget them.

The system is completely self-paced—you can study as much as you want, as often as you want. You even take FluentU on-the-go with the mobile apps for iOS and Android.

TOEFL Test Preparation from ETS

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Are you a learner who wants to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)? Well, you’re in luck! This test preparation course comes straight from ETS—the organization that creates the TOEFL.

For free (or $49 if you’d like a certificate) you’ll get all the essential training and guidance necessary to pass the exam.

This six-week course focuses on reading, listening, speaking, writing and everything you’ll need to understand for the TOEFL.

Magoosh English

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Magoosh is a pretty popular program for learning English, and for good reason! This handy online English program teaches beginner and intermediate-level basic English grammar with 90 free, professionally produced video lessons.

With a premium plan (ranging between roughly $50 and $200 depending on the course), you can access lessons that were designed to help students pass the various English proficiency exams worldwide, such as the TOEFL.

This is the perfect online English course to take if you plan on passing an English exam for school or work.

Learn English for Spanish Speakers from Pimsleur

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This Pimsleur program (which comes in the form of a mobile app) costs around $350 for English levels one through three, but it’s still quite a bit cheaper than a college course. You can use it on an unlimited number of devices (phones, tablets, etc.).

It’s focused on teaching beginner English learners from a Spanish-speaking background—the teaching language is Spanish. You’ll learn basic English phrases, vocabulary words and grammar concepts. There are 90 lessons in total, plus tons of practice activities.

This app is very user-friendly and visually pleasing as well.

Not a Spanish speaker? Pimsleur has many other English online courses for everyone from Chinese speakers, to Hindi speakers, to German speakers and a lot more. Check out all of their offerings here.

Solve Communication Problems in Real Time

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This is a highly effective online course facilitated through Udemy, another popular online educational platform. The course costs $79.99, but Udemy frequently offers significant discounts.

You’ll be able to access videos, articles and resources for learning the basics of everyday English communication.

This course even teaches slang words, which can be hard to find in a typical English course! However, it’s quite necessary to know English slang if you plan on becoming fluent or want to be able to understand casual English.

This course is also great for giving tips on how to express yourself when you don’t know certain words, which can be a lifesaver for English newbies.

Upper-intermediate English from Universitat Politècnica de Valencia

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This upper-level English course (offered through edX) is a simple $200 program for breaking the barrier between intermediate and advanced English.

This course is four weeks long. It’ll teach you how to write essays and letters in English and how to use English verbs. You’ll also learn about upper-level English vocabulary and grammar, as well as how to improve your listening and speaking skills.

By the end of this course, you should be able to go to an English-language job interview without any problems.

 

What do you think about all of these awesome English online courses? We bet at least one of them will be perfect for your style of learning and schedule!


Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.

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