online english courses

The 10 Best Sites for Taking Free English Courses Online

Wake up! Turn on your computer.

Now you’re ready to take a college-level English course.

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas. You don’t even need to get out of bed.

Don’t worry, it won’t cost you anything.

All you need is an internet connection, a little time and the desire to learn.

What? How is this possible?

Well, you might already know that lots of colleges have online courses.

They can be expensive, though, and often take a lot of time.

But a different kind of learning is becoming popular.

It’s called MOOC.

What’s a MOOC?

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. What that means is that it’s a course given on the internet, usually at college level, that is open to anyone to enroll (become a student). Many times, these courses are taught by real university professors, and they’re usually free.

These courses are a fantastic way to take a real class taught by a real teacher, but without having to actually go to a university.

Millions of people are using MOOCs now. You can become a student in a MOOC, too. Here’s why you should.

Why Take a MOOC?

There are many benefits to taking an open online course!

  • It’s free!
  • It’s online, so you can learn from anywhere.
  • Many times, you can earn a certificate that shows you completed a course.
  • Many times, the course is taught by real professors from actual universities. You can even take a course from a Harvard professor for free!
  • You can drop out anytime. Unlike with an actual university, it doesn’t matter if you suddenly don’t have enough time to finish your class. You can start and stop anytime and you won’t lose anything.
  • Did we mention it’s free?

MOOCs are a pretty new idea, but already there are a lot of places you can find them online. Some websites have paid courses as well, and some even give college credit.

Another online option for English learning is FluentU. FluentU is designed to get you comfortable with everyday English, by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with easy-to-read subtitles.

MOOCs are a great way to improve your English language skills. Below is a list of some of the best websites to find free online English courses. Start learning today!

The 10 Best Sites for Taking Free English Courses Online

Alison

online english courses

This is the one that started it all. Opened in 2007, Alison is considered by most to be the first MOOC.

And it’s still a great place to learn! The website has over 750 courses. Its focus is on improving work skills to help you get a new job, or to get a promotion in your current job. Because of this, Alison has an entire section of English language courses with lots of great English courses for all different levels.

Courses you should be taking:

MOOEC

online english courses

This website is just for English learners. As you may have guessed, MOOEC stands for Massive Open Online English Course. This site has classes for learners at all levels, from beginner to advanced.

The courses offered here are shorter than in most MOOCs. Instead of taking weeks to complete, MOOEC gives its courses as single lessons. If you’re not sure if online study is right for you, MOOEC is a good place to start, since it will take less of your time.

MOOEC was created in Australia, and some of the lessons make that very clear (easy to see). There are some classes about places in Australia. Some of the spelling might be different from American English, so keep that in mind.

Courses you should be taking:

  • Elementary English Course: Here’s a perfect course if you’re just starting out.
  • Common Mistakes: This course covers some of the most common English mistakes people make.
  • Coffee Culture: For anyone interested in Australian English and culture, this class teaches everyday listening and speaking skills.

FutureLearn

online english courses

Many online courses can be done on your own, but FutureLearn encourages students to be social and talk with the other people taking the same courses. With over a million enrolled in the classes here, there will be lots of people to talk to!

The courses offered come from 40 places all across the world, including some top British institutions like the British Council and British Museum. FutureLearn has no partners in the U.S., so if you’re looking for American English, you might want to try a different website.

FutureLearn works like many MOOCs—lessons are given every week for a certain number of weeks. You can learn along with the class, which is highly encouraged (so you can talk to other students). But if the class doesn’t fit into your schedule, you can take it at your own pace.

Courses you should be taking:

edX

online english courses

EdX is one of the biggest MOOC websites out there. It was created by Harvard and MIT, two very famous and expensive universities in America. You can find a lot of college-level courses here, created and taught by actual professors from top universities.

You can actually earn college credits on edX, through Arizona State University. It’s not free, but it’s cheaper than being in an actual college. Some of the courses have certificates you can get for completing them. Most of these cost some money, so make sure you check the details before you sign up!

Like most other MOOCs, classes here are similar to college courses and some take a few weeks to complete. A certain number of hours is needed each week to learn all the material. You can learn along with the class, or read through a course after it’s complete (though you won’t get to talk to others about it if you choose to do that!).

Courses you should be taking:

Udemy

online english courses

Udemy wants to teach everything! There are over 25,000 courses to choose from, and even though not all of them are from well-known universities, they have some great classes to choose from.

Not all the courses on Udemy are free, but there’s a good number of free ones. Even the courses that are not free can be pretty affordable.

Udemy uses video lectures, written materials and quizzes to help you learn. You can watch a video or read a lesson, then test yourself to make sure you understood. You can go as fast or as slow as you want!

Courses you should be taking:

Open Learning

online english courses

You will find a very friendly environment at Open Learning. Here, anyone can take or create a course. You might not find as many college professors, but you will find experts who want to share their skills.

Open Learning does work with a number of universities, so you can find a good mix of both professional and more casual courses here. Not all the courses on Open Learning are free, but there are some that are free and open to anyone.

Courses you should be taking:

Canvas Network

online english courses

The Canvas Network is a website for “lifelong learners,” or people who want to continue learning even when they’re finished with school. They have courses from a lot of universities, and many of the classes are very professional.

This website encourages students to learn along with the class and have conversations about the lessons. If you prefer to learn on your own, you can do that, too. All the material is available for you to see once a course is over.

Courses you should be taking:

Coursera

online english courses

Recommended for advanced learners, Coursera is another MOOC that lets you learn at your own pace (as fast or slow as you want). You can complete courses as they take place, or just look over the material when they’re over.

Each course has instructional videos, followed by quizzes and exercises you can take to make sure you understood the materials. There are a few peer-rated (graded by your fellow students) assignments, so it’s a good place to exchange information with other students who are learning just like you.

Coursera has a huge number of partners, institutions and universities offering courses. More are constantly being added, so it’s worth checking back regularly to see if anything interesting has popped up.

Courses you should be taking:

World Education University

online english courses

Also recommended for those beyond an intermediate level of English, The WEU is dedicated to 100% free college-level education. It lets you learn at your own pace, but makes sure that you’re keeping up. If you take a break for longer than 45 days, you can take a test covering the things you should have learned up to that point to refresh your memory.

Since the WEU has all their own courses, they are currently trying to become accredited (officially recognized), which means that one day you may be able to actually get a degree from taking WEU courses online!

Courses you should be taking:

Saylor

online english courses

Our final advanced-level option, Saylor offers many courses for free. This website is a non-profit, meaning it doesn’t make any money from teaching online courses.

There are no start dates here—all courses can be taken at any time. Some courses even offer college credit if you can pass a final exam for a $25 fee!

Courses you should be taking:

Pre-college English: This course prepares you for college-level writing.

So what are you waiting for?

Get comfortable, pick a course on this list that interests you, and start learning!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.

Experience English immersion online!

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