With an astounding 1.5 billion speakers (out of a global population of 7.5 billion), it’s no wonder that knowledge of the English language is sought after much like mankind’s search for say, the Ark of the Covenant. The language’s flexibility, popularity and ever-growing nature makes it one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, whether as the language of the internet, international business, or just daily life!
Where earlier, the only place of learning used to be classrooms, libraries and specialized institutes, today, the internet is one of the greatest centers for learning. With their origins somewhere in the last decade, MOOCs or massive open online courses revolutionized the way people worldwide perceived and approached learning. These online courses, offered by online learning platforms such as Udemy, Udacity, Coursera and edX, to name a few, didn’t discriminate against their learners. Even better, most of these courses were offered free of cost! With this, anyone, anywhere in the world, could benefit from these courses, as long as they had an internet connection and a thirst for learning.
Today, we give you the A to Z of some of the best online courses for English. We give you the what, why, how and how much on the course and why you shouldn’t be giving these courses a miss if learning English professionally has always been on your to-do list.
Top 4 Best Online English Courses
These are the best online courses for English learners, thoroughly reviewed to ensure that you find the perfect one for your needs and skill level. Let’s take a look!
Speak English Professionally
One of the best online courses for English, Coursera’s “Speak English Professionally: In Person, Online and On the Phone” is a 5-week course that claims to boost the learner’s English-speaking skills to achieve all that the course’s rather wordy title mentions!
During the 5-week course, users will work through a combination of comprehension exercises, quizzes on vocabulary, and lectures to improve their skills. The course also employs role-play methods (in an interview setting), requires students to prepare sales pitches for products or services and provides ample practice exercises to improve the learner’s skills and confidence. In the last week, students are expected to put together a presentation with their newly-gained skills.
Like its classroom counterpart, the course follows a specific syllabus through the 5 weeks.
- Week 1: The first week offers students lessons in face-to-face communication, with a focus on “professional conversational vocabulary”, proper intonation and stress on words. By the end of this week, students are expected to be able to effectively craft and present a short “Elevator Speech”.
- Week 2: The lessons in this week’s module focus on video conferencing, group discussions and how to effectively communicate within them. Students are presented various scenarios as case studies and taught how to navigate through them. The mannerisms and vocabulary required for a group discussion will be imparted and through this week, learners will also pick up some business etiquette.
- Week 3: As the module name suggests, this week is all about the phone. During this week, learners will improve their enunciation over phone conversations, as well as their language use. The lessons will particularly attack tricky pronunciations such as “can/can’t” and pronouncing numbers the right way.
- Week 4: A much-needed week, week 4 teaches you spoken English skills that will ensure that you make an amazing first impression in your interview. The lessons focus on body language improvement, the pronunciation of words that end in “-ed” or “-s”. There are also practice interview questions available to students to further their skills.
- Week 5: The last module of the course, as mentioned earlier, expects students to prepare presentations with their new skills. The two lessons of this module will provide students with the knowledge required to make the presentation, which is counted as the final project based on which students are evaluated.
The free course (beginning with a 7-day free trial) takes 16 hours to complete and allows students to fix deadlines as per your schedule with regard to assignments. Students requiring course completion certificates will have to purchase the course (for around $47).
English Grammar and Style
No matter how great your content may be, improper usage of grammar is a huge turn-off for the reader. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that most readers judge the finesse of a writer based on their grammar! If you’re someone who’s always struggled with your pronouns, prepositions and other parts of a sentence, this course is a godsend!
“English Grammar and Style”, offered by edX, covers “various grammatical principles such as the usage of words, structuring of sentences and paragraphs, punctuation and writing style”. Learners are taught using video clips of interviews with renowned grammarians, mini-lectures, readings and writings, quizzes and writing assignments that impart grammar-building techniques and skills. Students will also be equipped to critique and edit their own work as well as their peers’.
The course, 8 weeks long, is perfect for beginners, requiring a mere investment of 3-4 hours per week. The course follows a specific syllabus throughout its 8-week period:
- Week 1: The first week introduces students to the course, discussing grammar and its importance and the functioning of various words.
- Week 2: Week 2 introduces students to sentences, teaching them about the various parts of speech, categorization of words, sentence patterns and structuring, clauses and phrases.
- Week 3: The third week is a detailed study of verbs, allowing students to explore the types of verbs and the tense, voice and mood of various verbs.
- Week 4: Week 4 introduces students to nouns and pronouns, their function, forms and common problems of pronoun usage.
- Week 5: The fifth week is a study on adjectives and determiners, focusing on their form, usage and function, including the “Royal Order of Adjectives” and various degrees of comparison.
- Week 6: The sixth week introduces students to adverbs and conjunctions, including their placement and function, as well as intensifiers and weasels.
- Week 7: Week 7 is a study of prepositions and paragraphs, including their functions and problems.
- Week 8: The final week explores the usage of punctuation marks.
Offered by the University of Queensland, the course is taught by Roslyn Petelin, Associate Professor at the university. Though the course is free of cost, purchasing it (at $99) will provide students with a verified certificate.
A part of edX’s “Professional Certificate programs” that aim to develop career-specific skills, “Upper-Intermediate English” is an offering from the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, designed for intermediate-level students (B1-level certified as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) to take their English language skills to the next level (quite literally, as it aims to take students to the B2 or upper-intermediate level).
Covering a wide range of topics such as business, daily life, technology, globalization and food, students will learn how to write various texts (both formal and informal), reports, complaints and reviews, among other things. The course also promises vocabulary and grammar enhancement and a better understanding of verbal-tense usage. Additionally, it includes preparatory material and recommendations required for students to pass the Cambridge University “First Certificate in English Examination” (FCE).
Taught by Ana Gimeno, full-time English professor at UPValencia, the self-paced course is made up of 4 different programs (Upper-Intermediate English: Business, Upper-Intermediate English: Modern Life, Upper-Intermediate English: Globalization, and Upper-Intermediate English: Technology Today) that are 4 weeks long each (with each course requiring at least 4 hours of study per week). Due to it being a Professional Certificate program, the course doesn’t come free of cost; the entire program costs $180.
English for Business Networking
It’s safe to say that efficient networking is one of the most important skills that companies look for in potential candidates. “English for Business Networking” is yet another Professional Certificate program offered by edX to help students enhance their networking skills, such as writing emails, creating “elevator speeches”, tips on preparing for and attending networking events, and conducting informational interviews that lead to skill strengthening.
The program, spread over 16 weeks and comprising 4 different programs, is a perfect fit for those who are already proficient in English at the intermediate level. Offered by the University of Washington and taught by Daphne Mackey, Joel Ozretich and Richard Moore, the course, as mentioned earlier, is made up of 4 different programs. Each program takes about 4-6 weeks to complete and requires 3-5 hours of study time per week. Just like the previous course, “English for Business Networking” is a Professional Certificate program; hence, it doesn’t come free of cost. The entire self-paced program will cost you a neat $356.40.
Honestly, is there any need the internet can’t satisfy these days? Whether it’s as mundane as buying groceries or as specific as learning English professionally, the World Wide Web has you covered! Learning English may be the need of the hour but learning it in a structured manner with professional guidance is as important, especially for uses that aren’t colloquial. With platforms like Coursera and edX offering carefully crafted content and lectures that cater to specific needs, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that these are some of the best online courses for English available to learners the world over.
Whether you’re looking to learn English for a better job or just for the love of the language, there’s just no going wrong with these courses.
If you want to discover more learning opportunities, then be sure to take a look at our list of the best online courses. Thanks for reading and as always, have a great day!