30 Unusual Ways to Learn English Online (+INFOGRAPHIC)

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      Lingua franca: a global common language

      ‘Lingua franca’ refers to a language spoken internationally by many people. Throughout history, there have been many different lingua francas, with Latin being one of the earliest ones. To learn English online, this era’s lingua franca, keep reading.

      A young man with a laptop learning English online

      English as a lingua franca

      English is referred to as a lingua franca because it is spoken by more than 350 million people in the world as their first language and another half a billion as a second language. English, being a dominant language when it comes to business, politics, and academia worldwide, has developed into a common language that enables people to understand one another regardless of their nationality.

      Reasons why you should learn English online

      Learning English online is a great option because:

      • It is cost-effective, helping you save on unnecessary expenses.
      • It is self-paced: English learning online means you can learn to speak English at the pace that best suits your needs.
      • It is fun: English tutors online can integrate many fun resources into their lessons, making learning the English language an engaging experience.

      Online resources

      1. Online dictionaries

      Online dictionaries have certain advantages over paper dictionaries. They are free, quick, and detailed. Some of the best online dictionaries for English learners include:

      2. PDF textbooks

      PDF textbooks can be taken anywhere on a student’s laptop and they are easily searchable which helps students take notes. Some of the best textbooks for learning English are:

      • English the American Way: A Fun ESL Guide to Language & Culture in the U.S.
      • Practice Makes Perfect: Basic English
      • English Made Easy
      • Global Beginner Coursebook
      • English Unlimited: Intermediate Coursebook


      3. Movies

      Understanding non-adapted English-speaking movies can sometimes cause difficulties with learners. This can occur due to many reasons, such as the actors having thick regional accents and making use of location-specific cultural references.

      Using subtitles is the best way to learn English and get out of the problem of not fully understanding English-speaking movies. Reading words at the same time as seeing them used in movie situations makes learners more likely to remember them and their spelling.

      Movies made especially for English learners

      You can also opt to watch a movie specifically made for English learners! For example, the educational TV series “Extra” is about a character with a limited grasp of English who travels to stay with his pen pal. The comic situations stemming from this scenario are designed to help learners improve their fluency while having fun.

      4. English versions of your favorite TV shows

      Find popular TV shows originating from English-speaking countries on the Internet and watch them in English. Even though a lot of shows are dubbed, some classic TV shows that originated in Britain and the USA that you can watch to practice your skills are: Who wants to be a millionaire, Friends, and The Bachelor.

      Watching TV shows in English instead of your mother language has a lot of benefits. Watching the original will enrich your vocabulary. The type of vocabulary you can expect to learn from a show is authentic vocabulary and slang that is not necessarily what you would get taught in an English class.


      5. English versions of your favorite magazines

      You can find popular magazines originating from English-speaking countries on the web and read them in English. Reading English magazines, like Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, and People can be a great and entertaining way to work on one’s skills.

      Reading magazines in English instead of your mother language has got its own benefits. Magazines are written in a way that is easy to consume, magazine content will enhance your grasp of English.

      6. Comparing books

      A great tip for English learners is to find a book of an English-speaking author and its translation into your mother language and compare the texts sentence by sentence.

      Choose short stories over longer novels. Longer pieces containing many unknown words can put you off reading, whereas finishing reading shorter works will give you a sense of accomplishment.

      Young man wearing headphones sitting in front of his laptop and writing something on a piece of paper

      7. Slang

      The importance of learning English slang can hardly be overestimated. Slang is an important part of any language. Learning it allows you to remain current and means you will be able to talk to younger people easily.

      Here are some interesting articles that explain common English slang words:

      Social media

      8. Twitter

      Twitter allows users to create short posts called tweets that can be shared by and commented on by their followers.

      How to use Twitter to improve your English

      To improve your skills using Twitter, you can follow accounts of English speakers with whom you have common interests, as well as educational accounts focusing on how to learn English online and read and post comments.

      9. Facebook Messenger Rooms

      This is a relatively new group video chat rolled out by Facebook to compete with services like Zoom and Skype. Facebook Messenger Rooms allows up to 50 people to join a video call on which there are no time limits.

      Using Facebook Messenger Rooms to improve your English

      Whether you are using Facebook Messenger Rooms for English classes online or to casually talk to other learners, the opportunity that the platform provides to talk with natives is particularly helpful for English language learning.

      10. YouTube

      Start your own YouTube channel in English as a non-native speaker. It can be intimidating, but the content published in English is bound to reach a larger audience, which makes it a good idea to try and create videos in English for your YouTube channel. Keep your language simple and double-check your videos for mistakes that you need to edit out.

      11. Blogs

      From the BBC’s Learning English blog featuring videos, articles, and free exercises to the blogs of popular influencers, there is a blog out there to suit everyone’s tastes.

      Start your own blog in English as a non-native speaker. You should not let being a non-native speaker deter you from starting your own blog in English. To reach a global readership, one must use the language of the Internet – English.

      Digital technologies

      12. Mobile apps

      There are many apps available that cover all aspects of language learning. Through interactive games, videos, flashcards, and other fun features, mobile apps can keep you engaged in your journey to learn the English language.

      For some of the best mobile apps to help you build on your vocabulary, check out:

      13. Mnemonics apps

      The word ‘mnemonics’ refers to any learning technique that aids our memory with information retention or retrieval. Common mnemonic devices involve methods like association with imagery and phonetics.

      Some mnemonic apps to check out if you are looking for useful techniques are:

      14. Tracking your progress

      Motivate yourself by tracking your progress in English. Help to reassure yourself that your time and money is being well spent. This can be easily achieved with online language learning trackers. For example, one of the most popular online resources for tracking your progress is LingQ. It allows you to track your vocabulary growth.


      15. Scrabble

      Scrabble is one of the most popular word games in the world. There are many sites offering Scrabble online, try Facebook Scrabble, Pogo.com, and Lexulous.com.

      Enhance your English skills with online Scrabble. It can help you learn new vocabulary and makes for great spelling practice.

      A male teacher writing English words on whiteboard

      16. Chess & checkers

      If Scrabble is not your cup of tea, there are websites where you can play chess and checkers against opponents from around the globe while communicating with them in English. The most popular options include:

      17. Gaming

      If gaming is your thing, you can use it to advance your English. Some popular games that you can play with teams online are:

      Enriching your English by playing online computer games

      Live talking while playing online computer games can be very helpful for enriching your English. Additionally, you are more likely to retain the knowledge gained while performing an activity you enjoy.


      18. Practicing your hobby in English

      If you are a fan of running, dancing, or another physical activity, try to find a related ex-pat group in your area to join or chat with like-minded people on online forums. Even a practical hobby, like drawing or learning an instrument, can be practiced by watching video tutorials in English. There is virtually no hobby that you cannot enjoy in English!

      19. Singing

      If you are a singer learning English, it can be a good idea to learn some English songs. Singing a foreign song can be an incredibly fun way to learn a language.

      Also, you can use the occasional karaoke session to improve your language skills! Choose English songs that will force you to work on your pronunciation.

      20. Virtual museum tours

      Virtual museum tours are an educational experience that can assist you with your goal to improve your English.

      Digital tours are offered by the following museums:

      Online tutoring

      21. Online lessons with natives

      Online lessons with an English native have plenty of advantages. Learning a language with a native speaker can help you to:

      • get to know a country’s culture better;
      • understand a language’s local dialects;
      • learn idioms and slang.

      English natives teaching on Eurekly

      Have a look at some native English teachers on Eurekly that can help you with your learning goals!

      • For British English, Steven is the teacher for you. With 12 years of teaching experience and a BA in Computer Science, he can adapt his English lessons online to your needs – from passing language exams to preparing for business interviews.
      • For American English, Lily is a great tutor choice! A qualified visual communication and design expert from Colorado, she uses her creative skills to make the perfect custom lesson for you.
      • For Australian English, choose Ken, who is a qualified TESOL teacher. As a student of languages himself, he is perfectly positioned to solve challenges faced by foreign language learners.

      22. Language Exchange

      Eurekly’s Language Exchange project allows users to exchange meaningful and educational language conversation online. Users can connect with others in real-time to share practical tips that complement their official syllabus. The Language Exchange project is completely free, as participants are being rewarded for offering their skills by receiving other skills.

      23. Q&A websites

      For an online space where you can ask English natives language questions, head to the forums like WordReference and HiNative. Make a post with your question and wait for the answers to roll in, which usually happens very quickly. You will get many responses from users from different English speaking countries, which can be an advantage if you are looking to gain some cultural insight into the language.

      Eurekly also allows learners to have their questions answered at record time, as it features an instant online chat with native tutors.

      24. Test prep websites

      Some of the most important ESL exams are the following:

      • TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language
      • IELTS – International English Language Testing System
      • TOEIC – Test of English for International Communication
      • FCE – First Certificate in English
      • CAE – Certificate in Advanced English

      Using the above organizations’ websites to help you prep for your ESL exam is a great idea because they:

      • can offer you the right study guidance as official creators of the exams;
      • are designed specifically to help you achieve success in a particular exam;
      • specialize in teaching foreigners and recognizing their learning needs.

      25. Teaching

      You can gain a better understanding of English grammar through teaching others. When you explain the basics of something to somebody else, you start understanding it better yourself. As a learner of English yourself, it may not be an option to do paid tutoring, but you can certainly benefit from helping a younger sibling or friend.

      Three tips for real language nerds (+INFOGRAPHIC)

      Infographic enlisting three exercises for English learners

      26. Repetition & transcripts

      To really work on your language skills, find a video or audio where people speak English. Pause it after each sentence and repeat what has been said. You can also write the text down.

      27. Interpreting news articles

      Multilingual content websites

      To find articles with the same content published in different languages, visit:

      A brilliant technique for practicing your skills using a multilingual content website is the following:

      • read an article in English;
      • open the same article written in your mother language;
      • translate it into English.

      28. Consecutive and simultaneous interpreting

      Try translating English videos and audios into your mother language and vice versa.

      Consecutive interpreting is when an interpreter reproduces a message in the target language after listening to the source-language speaker. To practice it, do the following:

      • switch on a video/an audio;
      • make a pause after each sentence;
      • translate the sentence orally.

      Simultaneous interpreting is when an interpreter translates the message from the source language to the target language in real-time. To practice it, do the following:

      • find a video or audio where people speak slowly and switch it on;
      • translate their words while they are speaking without clicking the ‘pause’ button.


      29. Online shopping

      Some of the most popular online shops and shopping platforms, like ASOS, Etsy, and Amazon, originate from English-speaking countries. When you are ordering from abroad, use it as an opportunity to practice and use the English version of the website instead of the one in your mother language.

      30. Meetup

      Meetup is an online service used by online groups to organize in-person events for people with similar interests. Some events you can attend to improve your English skills are language practice groups, English book clubs, and ex-pat meet-ups.

      Surround yourself with English!

      Learning English should be a no-brainer, and doing it online is an excellent option. If traditional learning is not for you and if you are looking to improve your English in a fun way, there are many online resources that can help you with that. No matter where you live, on the Internet you can surround yourself with English.

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