Studying English in the current age has gone beyond immersing oneself in grammar, vocabulary, and phonetics textbooks alone. Advancements in educational technologies have triggered a landmark development in the teaching of English Language.
From a personal experience, reading textbooks of English grammar, vocabulary, phonetics, etc. can only make one be theoretically sound in the use of English language. One has to experience the language in practical forms (formal and informal settings) to have a full mastery of it. The gap between a strictly academic and theoretical approach and practical and informal approach is what majority of the new websites offering tutorials on English language studies are bridging. They also add games and other forms of exciting educational approaches to make the English language learning less bookish and enjoyable.
This piece examines some of the top websites students, professionals and language enthusiasts can use to learn the English language more efficiently.
British Council: LearnEnglish
This is one of the topmost online platforms to study English language efficiently. It is owned and managed by the British Council. It’s “Listen and Watch” segment caters to the listening skills of the learners. The “Grammar and Vocabulary” segment offers lessons and practice on the use of grammar and vocabulary. The “Word on the Street” segment introduces learners to everyday English expressions. Other segments are; “LearnEnglish Teens”, LearnEnglish Kids, etc. The website address is http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/. Besides, the lessons featured on the website are some of the best materials for IELTS and other related exams. British Council: LearnEnglish is free to use. This is an effective online platform to learn the English language for academics, business and work (corporate communications) and informal purposes.
This is also a recommendable platform to learn English online. The main sections on this platform I personally prefer are; “English at Work”, “English at University”, “English at Work”, and “News Report”. The “English at Work” section provides practical lessons on the use of English in office settings through animated videos; the “English at University” provides hands-on practical lessons on English words and usages needed to know by first-year students studying abroad—for instance, the ESL students. The “News Report” uses authentic audio news reports by BBC to teach listening skills. The website is free to use here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/.
Let’s Learn English
This online platform owned by VOA focuses on American English. It covers writing, speaking, and vocabulary skills. Let’s Learn English uses video tutorials, printable worksheets, lesson plans, etc. to present interactive lessons on writing, speaking, and vocabulary on weekly basis.
Let’s Learn English is available here: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/z/4729.
This platform, among other features, provides resourceful lessons for anyone studying for Cambridge’s First Certificate, TOEFL, etc. I’m personally interested in this platform because of its resourceful lessons on idioms and special expressions. This website is available on http://esl.about.com/.
Voice Tube is a video focused platform for learning English: speaking, listening, pronunciation, and Vocabulary. Voice Tube teaches through Ted Talk videos, movies, talks, and music videos. Users can opt for their website (www.voicetube.com) or download the mobile app on Google Play Store and Apple Apps Store.
This is one of the best online platforms to learn pronunciation. By using minimal pair approach (presenting two words with similar sounds), it helps learners to easily identify and pronounce correctly words with similar meanings but different sounds. The web address is http://www.shiporsheep.com/.
The uniqueness of this platform is a private personality attached to it—Rachael’s English; users can contact the administrator of the website (Rachael, may be?) in case they have further questions to ask on the lessons provided. This website provides video lessons on sounds and conversational expressions, grammar, etc. in American English. It also features Rachael’s English Academy which focuses more on conversation and listening skills. The website is http://www.rachelsenglish.com/.