By Hannah Nadobny, English Academy Centro Norteamericano
If you are not using Open Educational Resources (OER) yet, you are missing out on being the most efficient learner you can be! Basically, these are free tools learners can use to improve their studies. OERs are readily available at your fingertips, and we’ve done the hard work of finding which ones are best, so you don’t have to!
№1. Write & Improve with Cambridge
Write & Improve is an extremely useful online tool for English learners. This OER is developed by Cambridge University. Over 2 million English learners have been able to improve their English using this site.
Write & Improve offers instant feedback on learners’ English writing skills. Learners can also choose from hundreds of tasks at any level, or create their own tasks. Learners can also submit their essays and receive results based on the international scale of CEFR levels.
This OER does not stop at student help,though! Write & Improve is also a useful tool for teachers. Teachers can use the tasks as worksheets for their students. With instant feedback, teachers can motivate their students to quickly and efficiently improve their English.
№2. OER Commons
OER Commons is a universal free learning tool learners can use to improve not only their English, but multiple other subjects! This tool is an online library that students and teachers can utilize for practice materials.
OER Commons provides different materials like games, lessons,and worksheets to practice with. The material level also varies from beginner to advanced. These materials are on demand and can be used at anyone’s leisure.
Although this site is useful for practice, it is a large platform with multiple subjects. This factor can make finding the right English learning tool more complex.
№3. Purdue OWL — Online Writing Lab
Purdue Owl Writing Lab is an OER provided by Purdue University in Indiana. They offer free resources including Writing and Teaching Writing, Research, Grammar and Mechanics, Style Guides, ESL (English as a Second Language), and Job Search and Professional Writing.
This OER is a broad tool used to improve English grammar but does provide niche resources for English as a second language. The Purdue Owl Writing Lab is basically a concise online textbook for all things english language.
Along with efficient lessons, they also offer “Owl Exercises.” These are simple exercises learners can complete to practice whatever aspect of the English language they need help with.
№4. OER on YouTube: Most popular channels
YouTube is a great OER that many do not think of as being an educational tool. Although youtube has an extremely vast database of subjects, it provides a simple search engine that leads the user to whatever they need.
If the user is a visual learner, YouTube is a great tool. The platform is video based and allows viewers to see and hear english. Besides visual learning, this is a great tool to check up on verbal english skills.
The platform allows anyone to post videos, so there is a wide range of educators to choose from. With that, users should stay focused while searching the platform so they are not distracted from their goals!
Coursera is a useful tool that provides certification from verified sources. Join Coursera for free, and then browse through their affordable courses, some of which can even be covered by financial aid.
Although someCoursera products are not free, the site is a great database to use when learners need a specific certification for a career. The site provides an array of niche lessons such as “The Pronunciation of American English” to “Business English.” Lastly, within the selection of courses, you have different skill levels.
To sum up
These OERs are useful tools that are just waiting to be used! You are already taking the initiative to learn something new; spend some time to get to know each tool as each can be highly beneficial for your learning. These databases make fine tuning your skills easy, so you might as well get started!
About the author
Hannah Nadobny is Writer and Social Media Manager at English Academy Centro Norteamericano.
American girl traveling Spain with global experience in different realms of social media.