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5 Best Online Language Courses

Whether you’d like to be more fluent in English or you simply want to brush up on your English-speaking skills, online language courses can help. Regular courses will almost always cost money and not be scheduled at your convenience, but online learning often provides a free alternative to be done on your own time. Below are five of the best free online classes for learning a language:

  1. Foreign Services Institute
    This site is rather basic, but don’t let that fool you. The resources it provides are created by professional linguists committed to improving learner fluency. These include text-based PDFs and well-organized audio recordings. Through lessons focusing on grammar and repetition, this site provides the perfect instruction for those who learn well through structure.
  2. Livemocha
    This is the largest online language learning community in the world. They offer lessons in over 35 foreign languages, including English and English as a second language (ESL). The lessons are broken down into different skillsets, meaning that reading, writing, listening, and speaking are all taught through separate resources. The community itself operates like a social networking site, allowing users to connect with others taking online language courses. Premium membership to the site is not free, though a vast amount of the site’s resources are, and learners can earn credits by tutoring other learners.
  3. Busuu
    This is another site that offers networking opportunities with other language learners. It too offers a comprehensive approach to learning a language with studies in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, which can be done with the help of other online students. There’s also a Busuu app, making it extremely convenient for busy learners. Though the premium site isn’t free, you’re allowed a seven-day premium trial, during which you can access and print many of the resources unavailable through free membership.
  4. Memrise
    This site employs an interesting and unique approach to language learning, through what they call “Mems,” or mnemonic flashcards. These use the knowledge you already have to help you remember and properly pronounce new vocabulary. This is done by forming the word you’d like to know from words you already know (Ex: “yo quiero” = “you care oh”). The methods are perfect for visual learners, but be aware that all content is user-generated, so there will be a variety in quality.
  5. ESOL Courses
    This is perhaps the most straight-forward resource for free English lessons that you can find. There’s no membership, no “about” page – just a home page for the different levels of fluency (beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, and advanced) with corresponding resources for each. These will either be games, quizzes, interactive listening lessons, or reading exercises. Its basic design and different tiers of instruction make it perfect for anyone learning ESL at any level.