Best English-Speaking Courses

Best English-Speaking Courses

Across the planet, English has become a vital language for business, travel, and social media. Most of us study English in school, but the basic English training, often from non-native speakers, can make us feel unprepared to actually speak it with others.

A good English-speaking course helps you get language off the page and turn it into a tool you can use to confidently communicate. In this guide, we evaluate the best online English-speaking courses currently available so that you know which ones will help you reach your goals.

Orientation

Knowing what you’re looking for from a class is the first step to finding the right one for you. There are several different categories that classes fall into, and that’s how we’ll be classifying them in this guide.

Level

Choosing a level-appropriate English course plays a big role in your success. If it’s too difficult, you may feel lost or discouraged. Or, if it’s too easy, it will feel like you’re wasting your time. Therefore, it’s important to honestly think about how well you know the English language and how well you speak it.

For example, are you just getting started with serious English studies, with little confidence in your reading or listening skills? Then you are probably looking for a beginner course. If your reading and writing skills are good, but you find it challenging expressing yourself with spoken English, then you may want to start with an intermediate-level class. Students who have some experience with speaking and can read and write well, but are looking to polish up their speaking and sound more natural and native, would likely want an advanced class.

Style of English

In certain areas, specific styles or dialects of English are more desirable than others. Do you want to learn British English from instructors in the UK? American English is also popular, but those are not your only option. There are other commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that have plenty of skilled teachers — each with their own slight twist on the English language.

Deciding how you want to use your English skills can help you determine which style you need. If you are looking for a more generic form of English that is easily understandable almost anywhere, American Standard English is a good choice. But if you are learning English to study abroad or work with an international company, choosing whichever form is most spoken there could be more useful.

Instruction Style

There are many different ways to improve your English-speaking online, and classes offer a variety of experiences. One-on-one classes are the most intensive, giving you personalized instruction from a teacher. They can work with you on your specific goals and correct your pronunciation and speech habits directly. Of course, these tend to be the most expensive classes and require you to be present at set times that work for both you and an instructor who is potentially in another time zone.

Group classes can be a less expensive option that still gives you the benefit of live instruction and feedback from a teacher. These also happen on a set schedule, sometimes with students from all over the world.

There are also self-directed learning programs that usually involve video lessons that give students exercises and assignments to practice on their own time. In some cases, you may have the opportunity to upload a video of yourself speaking for the teacher to evaluate. This is the most flexible method of learning but has less immediate feedback for students.

Top 10 Best English-Speaking Courses 2022


1. Best Overall English Course: Perfectly Spoken

  • Open-ended $10-30/month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to Upper-Intermediate
  • Style of English: UK and Commonwealth
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed and group classes

Why we like it

This flexible course offers students opportunities to practice their English on their own and with teachers from many different countries.

Course Review

Perfectly Spoken stands out as a course that has a lot of flexibility. Students can choose between two plans, the Student Plan for $10 per month and the Pro Plan for $30. Both plans give students access to a series of classes covering different levels and different English topics. All course material is available on-demand on any device.

The classes are comprised of video lessons with tests, listening and reading comprehension exercises, and other resources. The classes are organized by level and can be taken in sequence. Certain classes cover more specialized vocabulary and situations, such as the series, English for Hospitality, covering topics like hotels and restaurants. These classes all help boost your vocabulary and listening skills.

Students can put their new English skills into practice with the masterclasses and open classes that are included in both levels of subscription. These classes are held weekly for students to participate in live, but they can also be watched on-demand later. Students can also schedule one-on-one sessions with any of the teachers from the course for more intensive, personal work.

Who It’s For

If you are looking to have a flexible course that focuses on a wide range of practical English skills, Perfectly Spoken offers excellent value. No matter your level, there is material that can help you sharpen your skills. The blend of live classes and self-study material offers the best of both worlds for busy adults, allowing you to fit learning into your schedule.

Most of the teachers in this course are from the UK, with a few from Commonwealth countries, making this ideal for students looking to learn British English.

The one downside to the live classes may be their times. All of the open classes are scheduled in UK time. While there are some free resources on the site, and the $10 membership offers a wide range of content, some of the more speaking-focused live classes, along with personalized writing tutorials, are only available with the higher tier membership for $30 a month.

Pros

  • Classes for every level
  • Live classes weekly to practice speaking
  • Practical English for real-life situations
  • Flexible program
  • Optional one-on-one tutoring

Cons

  • Some personalized features only available at the top membership tier
  • Live classes based on the UK time zone


2. Best Business Speaking Course: Speak English Professionally

  • 5 weeks Free Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Style of English: American
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed

Why we like it

This well-rounded business-English class gives students assignments to gauge their progress and instructor feedback.

Course Review

This free-to-audit class by Georgia Tech is geared towards people looking to improve their business English skills. The class focuses on professional conversational skills in face-to-face scenarios along with modules on video conferences, phone calls, interviews, and presentations.

Essential vocabulary for each situation is covered, and students are instructed in the nuances of intonation and pronunciation to help their speech sound more natural and fluent. Even topics such as how culture affects communication are discussed in this course, and students are taught to consider how body language plays a role in communication.

This class is approximately 16 hours long and spread out over five weeks, though the deadlines are somewhat flexible. Each module has video lessons, readings, and quizzes for students to complete. This helps you evaluate your understanding of each section and deepen your knowledge.

Who It’s For

If you are looking to work abroad or at a company where English is commonly used, this class helps you understand what to expect so you can feel more prepared. Interviewing in English or taking business phone calls can feel different that more casual, in-person conversations, so giving those areas extra focus makes this course valuable.

If your employer or prospective employer is looking for you to receive certification, you have the option to get a certificate once you complete this course. All assignments are graded, and there are some opportunities for feedback, but since this class is designed for flexible, self-directed learning, you won’t have the chance for one-on-one work with an instructor, which can take a speaking class to the next level.

The start dates for the class are on a rolling schedule, so you may have to wait a few weeks until the next start date.

Pros

  • Business-oriented English
  • Covers common professional vocabulary and scenarios
  • Helps you prepare to interview in English
  • Touches on cultural communication and body language

Cons

  • No one-on-one time with an instructor
  • Periodic start times


3. Best Personal Tutoring Course: London School

  • Open-ended $82/hour Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Style of English: British English
  • Instruction Style: One-on-one

Why we like it

Students can enjoy truly personalized learning from highly competent teachers through the London School.

Course Review

One of the best ways to improve your speaking is to practice with a native-level speaker. If you don’t have the opportunity to do this where you live, it can be hard to gain confidence and the hands-on skills to communicate. The one-on-one tutoring offered by London School Online gives you the opportunity to receive personalized English training from the comfort of your own home.

The classes are for students of any level, age 18 or older. Start dates are flexible, and you can choose an intensive training track with up to 15 hours of tutoring a week or an on-demand track with a more flexible schedule spread out over time.

A professional team of tutors offers instruction in various English topics. Students can practice their general English skills, prepare for specific exams like the IELTS, or improve the skills they need to study abroad at a foreign university. English for professional situations, such as the legal and medical fields can also be specialized in depending on the student’s needs and level.

Who It’s For

Students who are serious about leveling up their speaking skills can get a lot of value from private tutoring. If you live in an area where it may be difficult to find someone to tutor you, or you simply want to ensure that your tutor is properly trained and will give you high-quality lessons, the London School can be a great resource.

Working with a person will give you more opportunities to practice speaking and allow them to correct your mistakes immediately. Of course, this is one of the most expensive options for online English because it’s so personalized. Hours of availability are also restricted to 8 am to 6 pm UK time on weekdays, which may not fit your schedule if you live in another time zone. You also must be able to use Skype for the classes.

London School does offer a few more affordable options for more standard online classes that may suit your needs better if you’re not ready to jump into private tutoring.

Pros

  • Personalized education
  • More opportunities to speak and receive feedback
  • Instruction in a range of specializations are available

Cons

  • More expensive than other courses
  • Limited available hours for those in other time zones


4. Best Speaking Class for University Students: Advanced Academic Speaking and Listening Specialization

  • 5 months Free or $49/month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Style of English: American English
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed with interactive features

Why we like it

Essential skills for studying at an English-language university are covered in this class.

Course Review

Offered by the University of California, Irvine, this specialization course is specifically for students who want to study at English-speaking universities around the world. It focuses on the unique skills that students need in an academic environment and is broken into 4 modules.

The first module is on listening and note-taking to help students follow lectures in English and take effective study notes. The second switches gears to speaking and giving presentations. The third module looks at academic discussions and how to express yourself in a group setting. Finally, the class finishes with a module where students can prepare and present an academic speech using the skills in the previous sections of the course.

While most of the information in this course is presented through video units so that students have the flexibility to study according to their schedule, there are also interactive features. This includes quizzes in each module to track your progress and peer feedback on your hands-on projects.

Who It’s For

If you have already been accepted to a university abroad, or that is your goal, this course has many features that can help you feel more prepared and less anxious. The skills this class teaches are practical ones that you will use every day in the classroom while studying abroad.

Even if your semester has already started, but you’re struggling to listen in class and feel comfortable speaking in academic settings, enrolling in this class can be very worthwhile. The flexibility of the lessons also mean it will fit around your other classes and commitments.

While the video portions of this class are available with the free membership to Coursera, to participate in the quizzes and activities, as well as to receive feedback on your work, you must pay for the class. Completion certificates are also only granted to paying students.

Most of the interaction is between you and other learners, however, so you won’t get one-on-one attention from the instructors. For that, you may want to look into private tutoring, such as through the London School’s program.

Pros

  • Teaches listening and note-taking skills
  • Helps students prepare for presentations
  • Hands-on projects with feedback

Cons

  • Free version lacks many features
  • Most feedback is from other learners


5. ABA English

  • Open-ended $30/month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Style of English: General English
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed with group classes

Why we like it

Combing video learning with exercises and live classes, this is one of the best language-learning apps we’ve found.

Course Review

ABA English is designed for learners on the go with their fully-featured and easy-to-use app. The learning program aims to give students an immersive experience wherever they live and no matter how busy they are.

Short films with surprisingly high production values demonstrate everyday English speech. These films have exercises and activities based around them that get students involved by practicing their listening, speaking, and writing skills.

There are also live classes offered every day for students to get to practice speaking with teachers and other learners on a variety of topics. This helps students apply their studies in a real-world setting.

As you study, you also have the option to message members of the teaching staff with any questions. When you first start the course, you will also have your English level tested to ensure that you are starting with appropriate material to help you reach your goals.

Who It’s For

For English learners who want to be able to practice any time, perhaps while on public transit, during a lunch break, or even just before bed, having all your learning tools available on an app is very handy. To help keep you motivated, the app provides daily goals and allows you to keep up with your studies by using micro-lessons that only take a few minutes.

For students who want the opportunity to practice their speaking with others in real-time, the live classes are an excellent feature that sets ABA English apart from other learning apps. However, they are only offered at certain times of the day, which may not be convenient for all their students across the globe.

Since this is an app, there are some downsides, such as the occasional glitch and updates that may change the interface while you’re in the midst of the program. Overall though, it’s a convenient way to take your learning with you.

Pros

  • Convenient app-based learning
  • Daily live classes for real-world speaking practice
  • Features short films showing real-life scenarios

Cons

  • Classes may be at inconvenient times
  • Some app glitches and updates may affect your learning


6. English Language Pro: Spoken English Conversation + Culture

  • 8 hours $100 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Style of English: American
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed

Why we like it

We like the way this course connects to the cultural aspects of communicating in English.

Course Review

Organized by conversation topics, this practical English guide helps students learn about the nuances of English. Rather than being like a grammatically conscious textbook, this class is all about everyday speaking and helps students to understand and use common phrases and idioms, as well as the rhythms of English conversation.

Learning the technical aspects of a language is just the beginning of fluency. This course is mindful of the cultural aspects of communication as well. In each section of the course, students are given common scenarios and are then shown how to interact. Self-expression and informal phrases are carefully explained and repeated, and students are given time to practice and respond at various points. There are also practice exercises throughout to help you remember and apply the course content immediately.

This course is grounded in informality to help you in social situations when living or studying in an English-speaking country. Discussing hobbies, health, and relationships are all things you’ll need to navigate your social life. The class wraps up with a unit on Business English, helping students to understand what level of formality is expected in the workplace versus the other scenarios discussed in the course.

Who It’s For

It’s important to have a foundational knowledge of English to get the most out of this course. Since this class is mainly about informal English, it can be confusing if you don’t know the rules of proper English yet.

For students who have good academic or business English skills but are struggling to speak in informal settings, this is a really valuable class, particularly for American English and culture. While you don’t get the benefit of a teacher correcting you personally, the class can still help boost your confidence in speaking thanks to its clear and simple instruction and opportunities for practice.

While you can send the instructor messages, it is mainly a self-directed course, so it’s flexible and can fit into your schedule. It is a little pricey for a class without one-on-one contact, but ultimately, it offers a lot of value.

Pros

  • Covers idioms and other common expressions
  • Helps you understand cultural communication
  • Provides practical everyday scenarios

Cons

  • Focuses on American English only
  • No personal contact with the instructor


7. Best Cambridge Curriculum Englis Course: British Council, Learn English

  • Open-ended $8 and up Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Style of English: British
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed with optional one-on-one

Why we like it

The British Council offers a wide variety of options to customize your English learning.

Course Review

The British Council offers a wide variety of English courses under the heading “Learn English.” The most basic subscription is for their self-access courses. This grants you access to a large library of pre-recorded material and to the learner community. There are live online events where students have access to teachers, and they can practice with other learners. This gives what is otherwise an independent study course some live speaking practice opportunities.

When joining the course, you can take a level test that will place you in one of 5 English proficiency levels, and then they will recommend study material to suit that level. Material ranges from everyday English that you need to get by when traveling to business-oriented English; there is prep material available for the IELTS exam as well.

Beyond the self-directed course, the British Council also offers credited online courses that give you access to group and private classes throughout the month for more focused and personalized learning.

Who It’s For

If you would like to focus on British English, all of the learning materials offered by the British Council are based on the English-learning curriculum set by Cambridge University Press and are designed to help students prepare for life and business in the UK. It’s the standard style of English found on the IELTS exam as well.

The course seems specifically geared towards students in continental Europe, both in the style of instruction and the design and scheduling of community events in the lower subscriptions tier. Students in other regions may find it a little harder to relate to and may find it less time-zone friendly for them. Of course, in the upper subscription tiers, classes are offered 24/7 to suit students around the world. That is one of the benefits of the more expensive option.

If you are looking for a low-cost option for an English course that is based on a proven standard, the British Council has many good features. It offers a large variety of learning materials that will help you boost your listening and speaking skills. Like most self-directed courses, though, it is limited when it comes to opportunities for students to practice their speaking with native speakers, and it puts much of the onus on you to stay organized and progress with your studies.

Pros

  • Cambridge University Press-based curriculum
  • A huge library of learning materials
  • Level-based lessons and learning programs
  • Some live events for practice and interaction

Cons

  • Geared more toward European students
  • Limited schedules for live events in lower subscription tier


8. Best Free English Course: Oxford Online English, Free Spoken English

  • Open-ended Free, with optional add-ons Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Style of English: Various
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed with optional one-on-one

Why we like it

Students can enjoy video lessons on practical, everyday scenarios and add optional live learning opportunities to their studies.

Course Review

Oxford Online English offers a variety of tools and options for English learners. They offer a series of video lessons on various speaking topics, such as how to express opinions, apologize, or discuss topics like food and technology. The lessons cover pronunciation and common expressions as well as demonstrations to show you how to follow the rhythm of English conversation.

After each lesson, students take a quiz to test what they’ve learned about spoken English from the video, covering sentence structure, vocabulary, and comprehension. Full transcripts of the videos are also provided so students can follow along.

You can optionally sign up for a subscription membership that ranges from about $11 a month all the way up to $324 a month. These different tiers give you access to additional study materials; higher levels give you live classes and even personal tutoring sessions.

Who It’s For

If you enjoy learning from videos but want a more structured series of lessons that help you build on skills, rather than just random videos on YouTube, the free lessons from Oxford Online English give you a more organized set of skills and vocabulary. The post-video quizzes are also really helpful to gauge your progress. The open-ended nature also allows you to pick topics and scenarios relevant to you, so you have control over your study.

The optional membership tiers and private tutoring sessions help make this a one-stop shop for cranking up the intensity of your English study — if need be. However, the membership tiers get expensive very quickly. Booking one-on-one classes as needed are an option as well, but you may not always get the same teacher due to scheduling, and it can be hard to make consistent progress with the course.

Overall, we recommend this course if you’re looking for a low-cost option to brush up on spoken English concepts and vocabulary.

Pros

  • Free video course
  • Organized and practical lessons
  • Quizzes to measure understanding and progress
  • Optional membership and tutoring

Cons

  • Membership can be expensive
  • Hard to make consistent progress


9. Best English Course for Job-Seekers: Learn How to Speak English Fluently

  • 14.5 $20 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Style of English: General English
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed

Why we like it

Learn from an experienced instructor who uses his English skills to succeed in the business world.

Course Review

When it comes to working for large countries with an international presence, English skills can become a necessity in your career. This class is made for job-seekers who need to improve their English-speaking skills in a professional environment. The course focuses on practical techniques to improve your English and correct common issues that ESL speakers have.

Listening and speaking skills are the focus of the class, but some common issues with written communication are also covered to help you write and understand business correspondence better. Learners are given assignments to help them practice and apply the skills being covered in this course with the help of 73 downloadable resources.

The course is broken down into a number of bite-size units focusing on practical topics like asking questions, common grammar mistakes, and vocabulary related to different topics you may face in the workplace. Students look at dialogue examples and go over techniques and questions throughout these sections to understand how they apply.

Who It’s For

If you are interviewing for a job in an English-speaking country or looking to take on a position that requires you to speak English with clients at work, the content of this course is geared toward you. Many aspects of speaking English in the workplace are covered, from making small talk to giving presentations.

The course instructor, unlike many online teachers, is not a native speaker but is someone who studied English and worked at an English-speaking company. His experience is similar to that of his students, so he can uniquely relate to the challenges you face in learning business English. This can be really valuable for you as a student. However, he does speak English with a specific accent. If you really want your spoken English to sound as native as possible, you might prefer someone with a native or almost native accent.

This course offers many practice exercises, which is excellent, but unfortunately, there’s no real way to get feedback on your work due to the self-directed nature of the course. We would recommend combining this class with a few sessions of private tutoring to help you get the immediate feedback and correction you need to level up your skills before going to that big interview.

Pros

  • All about English in the workplace
  • Tips and techniques to correct common issues
  • Instructor has similar experience with English as a second language

Cons

  • Instructor speaks with a specific accent
  • No system for feedback or correction


10. Best Vocabulary Learning Course: FluentU English Immersion Online

  • Open-ended $20-30/month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Style of English: General English
  • Instruction Style: Self-directed

Why we like it

This course offers a more structured approach to video learning and helps students harness memorization techniques to learn.

Course Review

What if you could experience immersive language learning without leaving home? That’s the concept behind FluentU. This app can be used on any device for learning English on the go. Similar to ABA English, this is a video-based course on an app.

Students have access to a variety of videos on different topics in their target language. Besides subtitles, they provide in-context definitions for words and phrases that are used in the video. Practice vocabulary and sentences relate images and sounds to these words to help students form a mental association with it, similar to the immersive way we naturally learn our native language.

Vocabulary drills help you practice and memorize terms, while audio and video learning helps you contextualize and better remember and apply them. Short videos and quizzes help students learn in chunks and offers the flexibility to fit learning into their schedule.

Who It’s For

Learning by watching videos is nothing new, and it can be one of the most enjoyable ways to familiarize yourself with the natural rhythms of English, making it easier for you to speak it. If you enjoy this style of learning, FluentU offers extra features that make this style of learning a better method for remembering what you’re learning. Drills and visual techniques help students better solidify new terms in their mind.

The biggest downside to this course is the fact that you are paying for something that you can basically get for free elsewhere. In other words, English videos exist all over the internet with subtitles. The extra vocabulary features are nice, but some learners may not find it to be worth it. The convenience of the app can also sometimes be spoiled by technical issues, such as the vocabulary image popping up in a quiz before you have a chance to answer.

We recommend trying the 2-week free trial to see if this style of learning is right for you before subscribing to the service. When it comes to learning apps, we believe ABA English is more well-rounded thanks to its live class opportunities to help you actually practice speaking.

Pros

  • Teaches language in context
  • Bite-sized lessons and flexible learning schedule
  • Quizzes and drills to practice

Cons

  • No live speaking practice opportunities
  • Only provides a few extra learning features compared to free versions
  • Quizzes sometimes give you the answer before you complete them


Frequently Asked Questions About Learning English-Speaking Skills

Many language learners have questions and concerns when they are looking to improve their speaking skills, as outlined below.

There is some debate about whether native English speakers are better at teaching English than those who learned it later on. Ultimately, whether a person was born in an English-speaking country or not is almost irrelevant. The most important skills your teacher needs to have is good teaching skills and the ability to speak English at a very high level.

Some companies will hire native speakers who may not have the knowledge or experience to effectively teach because speaking a language and teaching it are two very different skills. All the recommendations on our list that provide tutoring or live classes require higher standards from their teachers, or they provide their own teacher training.

Native speakers will most likely speak English in a more relaxed and natural way and can provide you with whatever your desired English dialect is (American, British, etc.) Someone who learned English, though, may understand your learning challenges and anticipate your mistakes more easily. This is especially true if they speak the same native language as you.

Like any language that is spoken by a very large number of people, English has many different dialects or accents. Even within the UK or the United States, there is a range of pronunciation and differences in phrasing and slang. Some people consider US standard English to be a bit easier to speak and understand because it is less idiomatic than British English — also because a lot of media (e.g. movies) is created in that style of English.

Ultimately, as mentioned above, you should choose whichever style will be most useful for your study and career goals. Some courses will also expose you to a number of English dialects, which can be very valuable if you are not sure what you may encounter in the future.

To improve your speaking skills, practice is essential, and practice with feedback is the best way. Otherwise, you might be making mistakes and have no real way of knowing it. Practicing live with an instructor is the best way to get those immediate corrections. Of course, thanks to modern technology, you don’t necessarily have to travel to a school and learn in person.

Depending on your level and learning style, you may also be able to improve through self-directed learning that is more listening-based. For the most improvement, we recommend a learning program with some live interaction with a teacher, however.



Extra Credit

Learning a language is a complicated process that works differently depending on the person. One person’s surefire method could be useless to someone else. If you’re really serious about becoming fluent and confident in the way you speak English, here are a few tips for you to try out.

Immerse Yourself in English

If you have the opportunity to visit an English-speaking country, this is one of the best ways to improve your skills. You are surrounded by people speaking English about every topic under the sun, allowing you to improve your vocabulary and listening skills.

While international travel may not be available to everyone all the time, there are other ways to practice immersion. You may be able to find native-level English speakers to practice with in your community or in-person or online conversation groups.

Listen to English Constantly

A big key to improving your speaking is listening. For better or worse, English is one of the most popular languages for media. There are plenty of movies, TV shows, and YouTube videos produced in English that you can listen to. Audiobooks and podcasts in English can also be valuable.

While commuting to work or school or cleaning your house, listen to or watch English content to make it part of your day. If you enjoy English movies and TV, try watching them without subtitles to challenge yourself to pay extra attention to the dialogue.

Just Say The Word… In English

Taking a course that focuses on improving your speaking skills in English can be incredibly useful. While many students are taught “testing English” in school and may have good reading skills, being able to comfortably and confidently express yourself in English can open many doors for you.

The courses we’ve reviewed on this list offer a range of study options that can fit anyone’s schedule or budget. We hope that we’ve introduced you to a course that can help you meet your language learning goals.