How to Learn English Online

Instructor: Jessica Keys
You can find many different ways to learn English right here on the Internet. Online learning is convenient because it lets you practice on your own time, in a way that works best for you. This article introduces a few websites for learning English and some other ideas to get you started.

Try an Online English as a Second Language (ESL) Course

There are plenty of ESL courses, lessons and resources that are 100% online! For example, websites like USA Learns! have free, self-paced lessons for beginners and intermediate students. If you prefer staying on the go, the DuoLingo mobile app is also free and features quick English lessons in a game-like format.

What About a College Course?

Nowadays, many colleges offer traditional ESL courses online as well. Other courses are offered in a 'hybrid' format (a mix of classroom time and online learning). If you want to earn college credit, a certificate or eventually work toward a different college degree, this may be the best option for you. However, note that:

  • A college ESL program may not be totally online. Online availability may be limited at some schools.
  • If you are a visa-holder or international student, there might be restrictions on how many online courses you can take in a semester. Different schools have different policies.
  • You may have to take a placement test before signing up.
  • College can be expensive!

If this interests you and you do not mind possibly having some in-person classes, contact an advisor in the ESL department at your local community college. They will be able to help you get started with enrollment, scheduling and financial aid.

Learn with

Another online course option is right here at! If you are preparing to take your ESL Accuplacer exam in preparation for college entry, offers a range of comprehensive courses that cover the material:

Each study guide course is divided into fast and fun video lessons, and a quiz at the end of each one lets you test yourself before you take the real thing! You'll also find practice exams throughout each course. Also, don't miss out on these additional English study resources for more practice:

All of's resources are completely online. Courses and lessons are accessible by computer or through our mobile app for smartphones and tablets.

Immerse Yourself

You can learn and improve your English just by surrounding yourself in the language while you browse the web! Try reading the news in English, playing games, listening to music or looking up things that interest you.

Through constant exposure, you'll get better at understanding context, while encountering useful idioms or slang that you may not see in a classroom. It may help to keep a list of new phrases or confusing language, so you can look them up later.

Watch and Listen

You can train your eyes and ears by watching videos in English. In class, the English you hear may be very slow and deliberate. However, by watching videos on a website like YouTube, you'll get to hear English spoken with different voices, speeds and accents. If you need a little more help, many videos feature captioning or subtitles. And of course, there are video lessons created just for English language learners too.

Similarly, try a podcast for more listening practice. There are also podcasts designed specifically to help you learn and improve your English, but don't be afraid to branch out and listen to other subjects that interest you.

Get Social

Maybe you have a favorite book, television show or movie? Are you a sports fan? Do you have a hobby or area of expertise? Chances are you can find an online community of other people with the same interests. Socializing with people in English is a great way to put your skills to the test.

There are even communities for English-learning students, where you can chat about your interests, make friends and find a study partner/group.

If you want to practice your writing skills further, why not start your own English-language blog? A blog is like an online journal, and you can write about anything you like. You can keep it private or show it to others. It's up to you!

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

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