Last updated: Aug 13, 2016 by Jennifer Inwood
There are so many resources available to help people learn English, it is hard to choose which ones to use. I believe that mobile apps are the best assistive technology learning tools as they are widely available, most are free to use, and they are easy to use. Talking to people is the best way to practice English, however for many people that is not always possible and many mobile apps now have an interactive component which can give you a learning experience similar to talking to a native speaker. Mobile apps can help you practice your skills in reading, listening, writing and speaking (including pronunciation and expanding your vocabulary). These apps have activities that make learning fun and can help you stay motivated by keeping track of your progress.
I have weeded through lots of apps and found some that I believe are better than others as learning tools (please note that I am in no way being compensated for my recommendations), however, you should keep in mind that everyone has their own way in which they learn best. Find out what your best learning style is and use the appropriate tools to maximize your learning. For example, some people learn best by seeing things written out while others need to hear it being read. Also, If you are having fun and enjoy the topic or learning game then you will absorb more of the information quickly and easily. The same is true if you find the topic or learning game boring or too hard, you will find it difficult to learn or absorb information and will not get any benefit from it. The following four apps are the ones that I found that I thought would be the most useful.
Duolingo has a very effective way of teaching English. It helps you learn new vocabulary and grammar through interactive games and quizzes and they state that “34 hours of Duolingo” are equivalent to a semester of university-level education. On Duolingo, you can start with basic verbs, phrases,sentences, and learn new words daily. There is a strong emphasis on pronunciation since you will listen to new vocabulary and then right away practice saying those words. Duolingo also lets you set goals and shows your progress as you use the program. Here is the android Duolingo link and the Apple Duolingo link.
English Conversation Practice
The English Conversation Practice app provides hundreds of lessons designed to give you practice improving your listening, understanding and speaking skills. They have a cool conversation recording tool to help you track your progress. This is a nice feature as it is one thing to participate in the lesson, but the learning opportunity is enhanced by being able to replay that conversation/lesson and hear for yourself where you can improve or where you are doing great. The conversation lessons are divided into various practical topics that you would encounter in everyday life. The android version can be found by clicking here and is available for apple users here.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Podcast
This app is great for anyone that is trying to learn English regardless of what level they are currently studying at. The English as a Second Language app features a podcast for students (each podcast episode can be translated to native language) and comes with a detailed learning guide. You can socialize and comment with other students to discuss the episodes. The social aspect of this app allows for learning from not only the podcasts but from other people who are also learning English and may be struggling with the same topics you are. When people share their experiences (struggles and successes) everyone can benefit. Click the link for the android version of the ESL Podcast and the Apple version of the ESL Podcast.
Hello English: Learn English
Hello English: Learn English is used by over 15 million people to learn spoken English, grammar and to build their vocabulary. The app allows users to learn from 21 different languages, some of which are Hindi, Indonesian, Arabic, Malay, Urdu, Malay, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya, Assamese, Malayalam, Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish and Nepali. With 425 interactive lessons (which work offline as well) that provide immediate results and tips to help you improve, this app is great for primarily intermediate to advanced level learners, although beginners can benefit from using it as well. The 10,000-word dictionary allows you to also hear the pronunciation of the words which will help to expand your vocabulary. Click the link for the android version of Hello English: Learn English and the Apple version of Hello English: Learn English.
I hope you get a chance to check out these apps and find them useful. Keep in mind that these learning apps are great, but sometimes having the interaction with a native English speaker can offer you a more realistic experience and can offer you advice as well.
Leave a comment and let me know if you have a favourite app that you like to use to learn English. If you like this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends. Thanks for reading!