If you are learning English, the internet opens up a world of opportunities. In this brief study guide we will show you how to practise English online and make the most of what the World Wide Web has to offer.
Regardless of your geographical location, a fast internet connection provides access to modern learning resources, up-to-date information, audio and video material at the click of a mouse button. In addition to self study, Skype English practice is also an option for those wishing to improve their speaking skills.
The vast majority of ESL learners live in non-English speaking countries and this means they are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing native English resources (especially tutors). The internet provides unrestricted access to precisely these ESL resources and makes geography largely irrelevant. Many learners complain about having no time to study, but if you practise English online, you can use a whole host of resources 24/7. This flexibility allows learners to shape their studies around their busy daily routine to ensure regular English practice and steady progress. Online ESL resources come in all shapes and sizes so there is no excuse for adopting old-fashioned learning strategies or using boring study material. The variety offered by the internet means that practising your English online can actually contribute to better overall motivation.
Before you start looking for ESL resources online it is a good idea to decide what you really need. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
Once you have pinpointed several weaker areas to work on and set aside some time to study (perhaps 30 minutes per day), you can look for resources to help you practise English online. As mentioned above, one of the most productive ways to learn English is to establish connections with subjects you are already interested in and engage with well. For example, if you are a tennis lover, why not read the latest news on the Wimbledon website? Or if you are crazy about British accents, why not watch some short videos about them on Youtube? Learn to view English as a lifestyle and not just a boring school subject! This is a good starting point.
Here is our top-5 list of the best ways to gain good English practice online:
1) Only use websites and study resources that provide native English content. These might be well-known organisations such as the BBC, British Council or Cambridge Examinations, but also websites run by native English speakers. Stick to 100% English language sites and avoid those written and managed by non-natives who may lack knowledge of correct English usage. If you are going to practise your English online, it is important that you practise correct English.
2) Use social media! Don’t think of English as a purely academic subject when its primary function is as a “means of communication”. Many learners fail to gain good spoken English and listening comprehension. Don’t be one of them! Branch out and make contact with other ESL learners by using social networks like Facebook, Twitter and language exchange websites. Join English speaking groups and engage with others to make new friends and practise your English online. This type of informal communication (even with non-native speakers) will help improve your fluency in the language, gain confidence and learn new vocabulary.
3) Take advantage of the best online tools and resources. The internet is full of websites offering ESL tools to help improve all aspects of your English – from vocabulary to listening skills. Here are some to look out for:
4) Go mobile! Take your English with you everywhere you go by downloading mobile apps for your tablet or smart phone. There are hundreds of great apps available for iphone, android and windows phones so check out some reviews online and visit your app store to get the best tools available.
5) Skype English practice with a British tutor online. Most aspects of English can be studied without a teacher, but if you want to achieve real results with your speaking skills, then an online tutor is probably the best option. A native English teacher will help you practise your English online through a personalised programme of conversational lessons focusing on error correction, fluency and style.