There’s no doubt that learning a new language is harder the older we get. Thankfully, with the creation of platforms like Duolingo, FluentU, and Rosetta Stone, it has become a little easier. With so many new language learning apps out there, though, picking the right one can be tough.
These are five of the best apps for learning English, whether you want to use them yourself or if you are a certified TEFL/TESOL English teacher looking to help supplement your students’ learning.
Although Duolingo has only been around since 2011, it has quickly become the most popular language-learning apps worldwide. With over 300 million active users, you may be wondering what makes the app so successful. The main reason is likely that Duolingo is free!
Paid plans are available if you don’t want to see advertisements, but free users can access all the same features and course material. Duolingo is also extremely easy to use. It almost makes language learning feel like a game! There are pictures to help you learn vocabulary, fill in the blank activities for sentence building, and you can even read fun stories to help with comprehension.
English is the most popular language on Duolingo, so you can find solace in the fact that 399 million other English language learners are in the same boat as you! You can add friends on the app and track their progress compared to yours. Creating a friendly competition out of it may even encourage you to practice more.
Duolingo is available for Android, iOS, and even as a desktop app; all you need to do is sign up for free!
According to CNN, one of the best ways to learn a new language is through media, as learners are likely to be more engaged. This is where FluentU comes in. It is an app that takes current videos, whether it’s music videos, commercials, or TED talks, and adds interactive captions to aid English language learners.
Learners can click any word in the caption they don’t understand to get a full definition, the part of speech the word is, and examples of how to use it. After the video, learners can test their comprehension with fun vocabulary quizzes. Supplemental activities like standalone flashcards and PDF printouts are also readily available for learners.
FluentU is thus a great app for audio/visual learners to learn English. It is available for free for Android, iOS, and on the web, but the free version is quite limited. Paid plans are available for $15 to $30 a month, and you can test them out with a free trial first to see if FluentU is the app for you.
3. Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is one of the oldest online language learning platforms, released in 1992. It started as paid software you had to download onto your computer with a CD-ROM. Now, Rosetta Stone is easily accessible through its Android or iOS app.
Rosetta Stone is broken up into modules with different 15 to 30 minute long sections in each. It is purposely designed this way so you can easily complete at least one section every day. Each module is centered around a specific topic, such as dining out, telling time, etc.
You will learn vocabulary, sentences, and grammar rules about each topic and can easily practice what you’re learning with Rosetta Stone’s real-time pronunciation feedback. Rosetta Stone utilizes pictures, flashcards, quizzes, fill-in-the-blank activities, and much more to help immerse English learners in the language.
When signing up, learners can choose between American English or British English. You can pay for Rosetta Stone monthly or get lifetime access for $199, which tends to be the most popular choice. This allows users to access the software whenever they want. Rosetta Stone offers a free three-day trial you can take advantage of before deciding if you want to purchase it or not.
Babbel is great for beginner or intermediate English language learners as it can be used to build vocabulary. Each vocabulary course presents learners with pictures of new words and an audio recording of the word. The grammar courses will present a new grammar concept. For both courses, Babbel will offer matching, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions to practice the new concepts.
Babbel’s grammar courses are especially excellent as they go into detail about grammar concepts, unlike other vocabulary-centric apps like Duolingo.
The one downfall Babbel has is after its beginner levels, the material is sparse, so this is not a great app for advanced language learners.
Babbel is affordable as a monthly membership ranges from $9.99 to $19.99, and if you aren’t satisfied with the service, you can get a refund within 20 days.
Many language learning apps excel in certain aspects -Duolingo is great for learning vocabulary, and Babbel is great for grammar. Busuu, however, is one of the best comprehensive language learning apps.
Busuu teaches English through traditional means like flashcards and quizzes, but the best feature is their speech recognition tool. Most apps lack a speaking aspect, but Busuu users can practice speaking the sentences and vocabulary they are learning and receive instant feedback on their pronunciation. You can also find language exchange partners on the app so you can both practise your target languages together.
Busuu is also super affordable as it ranges from $4.99 to $9.99 per month. There is a free version with limited features available as well.
Duolingo, FluentU, Rosetta Stone, Babbel, and Busuu are all great language learning apps for different reasons.
For learners who want a free service, check out Duolingo. Audio/visual learners may prefer an app like FluentU. Long-term language learners should love Rosetta Stone. Beginner and intermediate learners will enjoy Babbel’s services, and last but not least, Busuu provides a great overall learning experience.
No matter which language learning app you choose from this list, you’re in good hands!