Which is the best English learning app for a language learner?

What’s the best English learning app for a language learner? Technology enables us to learn so much with just the touch of our fingertips these days. Whilst you’re waiting for Summer to join us at one of our Summer Schools in the UK, why not boost your English language learning with an app?

There are plenty of apps which you can download to help you learn English; but what is the best language learning app?

We’ve taken hold of our smartphones and done the research for you!

We cannot name the best as they are all good in their own way, but here’s our favourite 10 English language learning apps to help you start learning English before you join us for a Summer School in real life!


Busuu is a popular language learning app (it has 90 million users) designed by linguists. If you want to improve your English vocabulary, grammar and spelling, using Busuu is a great place to start.

The learning within this English speaking app is structured so that you can build upon what you have learnt already within the English language.

What we particularly love about the app is that your speaking and writing exercises are corrected by native speakers. You can even perfect your accent with English speech recognition exercises.

Don’t worry if you’re a beginner or close to being fluent; there are plenty of levels to keep your brain stimulated and your skills in check.

There is both a free and paid version of the Busuu app. We recommend trying out the free content first to find out how to learn English, and then try the paid version if you’re happy with it.

Available on Android | iTunes
Free and paid versions available

male student raising his hand in class
two students sit at a computer working

British Council Learn English Apps

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, has a number of learning apps that you can download to help you with your English grammar and speaking and listening skills.

They have podcasts, videos, pronunciation charts and grammar word challenges too. Our favourites include:

LearnEnglish Grammar (UK edition)

Whether you’re a beginner or expert, you can practice your English grammar at different levels covering 12 grammar topics. Activities include reordering words, labelling and fill-in-the-blanks questions.

Need extra help? The app is currently available in Spanish and Japanese to assist your learning.

Available on Android | iTunes

This app is free.

LearnEnglish Sounds Right

The sounds and pronunciation of the English language can be difficult for learners. Now you can practice the English phonetic alphabet easily with the Sounds Right app: just tap the sound and you will be able to hear it, along with 3 example words that use that sound!

Available on Android | iTunes

This app is free.

Want to learn about English culture too?

We particularly love the British Council’s LearnEnglish GREAT Videos listening app, which explores London’s attractions and other important sites around the UK! Why not take a look before you study with us this Summer to see some sites yourself?

Find LearnEnglish GREAT Videos on Android and iTunes.

This app is free.

BBC Learning English

What better way to learn English than with the BBC? Their app is simple to use, updates daily and is perfect for learning and practicing your English grammar, knowledge and pronunciation.

This app allows you to listen to some great videos and is specifically fantastic for learning the latest phrases that we are using over here in the UK as native speakers. The lessons are fun and topical too; expect to be tested with some quizzes to see if you are taking the lessons onboard!

We recommend this app particularly for our SBC Headington and Oxford College students. The videos feature real-life news clips, Business English sections and snippets from popular BBC shows. Have fun!

Available on Android | iTunes

This app is free.

student doing a time to shine presentation


Now this is a fun app! Would you like to learn English through real-world music videos, funny advertisements, news and talk-show interviews? If you are an audio-visual learner, this might just be the app for you.

Almost like watching YouTube, you can click on the video you want to watch and follow along with the English captions. If there is a word you don’t understand or want to learn more about, you can click on the word in the caption to find out more.

This app is particularly useful if you want to focus on English listening with a real English conversation and learn the vocabulary used within.

Available on Android | iTunes
Free and paid versions available.

Learn English in real life at one of our Summer Schools

three students outside on a trip smiling


Do you want to focus on your English vocabulary? Memrise is a great app, which helps you learn through humour, to focus on your English words and expand your inner English dictionary.

Most of the lessons, which include videos, are in a game format: you may not even realise that you are actually studying.

Over 35 million language learners use Memrise. First you learn the vocabulary and then you are encouraged to speak it. You can record your pronunciation to see if it sounds like a local and also set daily goals for yourself too.

If you want to learn useful, everyday words and phrases, Memrise is a good choice. Once you reach the UK and one of our Summer Schools, you’ll be able to speak with us and other students from around the world a little bit more easily.

Available on Android | iTunes
Free and paid versions available.


If you want to start learning English quickly as a beginner, Duolingo English can help!

They recommend learning with the app 20 minutes a day. You will learn 7 news words in each lesson. These words are based on a topic such as science or school.

There’s lots of different exercises that they will ask you to complete, which involve many interactive games to learn English. These exercises can include having to repeat a phrase or match pictures.

Advanced users can also use this app to improve their writing, speaking and vocabulary. If you’re not sure what level you currently are, Duolingo also have a handy English test to help you understand your proficiency.

Their exercises nclude plenty of review opportunities so that you do not forget what you have learned too.

Available on Android | iTunes
Free and paid versions available.


Another app perfect for beginners is Babbel, which helps users acquire basic conversational skills with a strong focus on vocabulary. It is important for an English language learner to be able to communicate; hence Babbel focuses on teaching you the basics so that you can interact with others as soon as possible. Each lesson is 15 minutes.

You will have the chance to learn how to recognise sounds and pictures, try spelling and filling in blanks. Pronunciation practice is included as well as lots of opportunities for review.

The topics included are everything a beginner can hope for: including introducing yourself, eating in a restaurant and taking local transport.

Available on Android | iTunes
Free and paid versions available.

Rosetta Stone

Just like we teach English with English at Summer Boarding Courses, Rosetta Stone also does the same with this spoken English app. There are no explanations in your native language here. Rosetta Stone starts with basic words, then gradually progresses to phrases then full sentences.

Try being fully immersed in an English environment by trying Rosetta Stone if you cannot reach us in the UK this Summer.

Available on Android | iTunes
Free trial and paid version available.

two young sbc students writing in a classroom together


If you would like to focus more on your reading skills, Beelinguapp is a great app for reading comprehension with an English book. Settle into an English story by being able to read a mirrored text in two separate languages at the same time.

You can also choose to have the text read aloud like an audiobook.

10 languages are included and the stories have a lot of variety from fairytales and novels to news and science papers.

Available on Android | iTunes
Free and paid versions available.

Google Translate

Last but not least, you cannot forget Google Translate. Yes, it’s not technically an English learning app, but Google Translate is incredibly useful.

With text-to-text translation, it covers 103 languages online and 59 languages offline. You can also use your camera to take pictures of menu items or street signs and ask Google to translate it for you.

It can be really fun to try translating English speaking in real-time. Speak into the microphone and Google Translate will say what your spoken English is into the language you choose.

If you’re really stuck, Google is a great tool to use, but there is nothing better than having the fluency and knowledge yourself.

We recommend you join us at one of our Summer Schools

Learn how to speak English in the UK

We are the UK’s highest-ranked multicentric Summer School for international students aged 8-17. With schools in Oxford, Bournemouth and Eton, you can spend your Summer with the best English teachers in  the most prestigious school locations in the UK.

Find out more about us here