Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Online Video Sites For Learning English


'All Video Sites - The List' photo (c) 2008, HH-Michael - license:

Here’s another one of my “The Best…” lists, this one focusing on online video sites for learning English.

This list is not about students creating their own videos. If you’re interested in those sites, you can check-out one of my previous lists — The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Videos (Using Someone Else’s Content).

Also, check out: The Best — And Easiest — Ways To Use YouTube If, Like Us, Only Teachers Have Access To It

Here I’m focusing on sites that are specifically designed for providing online videos to assist English Language Learners develop their language skills. In addition to meeting that criteria, in order to make this list a site has had to have the following elements:

* The videos had to provide engaging content, and not just a teacher talking.

* It was free-of-charge.

* It had online follow-up language development activities after watching the video.

* It had to have classroom content appropriate for the classroom.

There really aren’t many sites out there that meet all of that criteria, so this list is short. In fact, I considered narrowing it even further by excluding sites that use a lot of YouTube videos since many school districts, like ours, have content filters that not only block the YouTube site but also block all YouTube videos that are embedded in other sites. But if I had done that this list would have even been smaller. I do, however, place those nearer the bottom of the list.

Here are my picks for The Best Online Video Sites For Learning English:

Number seven is ESL Video. It allows you to easily create a quiz for just about any online video out there. Plus, it has a bunch of videos and quizzes that have already been posted.

(The original numbers four,  five and six arent’t working any longer)

Lingual Net is number three and has a particularly wide range of videos along with quizzes.

I particularly like the sites I’m ranking as number two and number one because they both allow teachers to create virtual classrooms so student work can be monitored. It works great with our Family Literacy Project.

And now, my pick for the number one Best Online Video Site For Learning English is…. English For All (EFA). Its videos cover many life skills and have numerous online activities..

Since I created this list, English Central has come online. This is now not only the best video site for learning English, but is perhaps the best site — period.

Many English Language Learner teachers and students are familiar with Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab. It’s provided high-quality listening exercises on the web for a longtime.  It’s now gotten even better with the addition of videos. Video Snapshots for ESL/EFL Students show short video clips along with comprehension quizzes for students to take.

I’m adding The Learning English Video Project to this list.

Grockit Answers lets you pick any video from YouTube and create a series of questions about it. The great feature is that you can set the time on the video for each question to alert the viewer when the answer will appear. It’s an excellent scaffold for Beginning English Language Learners (though I’d say it’s probably too much of one for many other students). ESL Video is still clearly the overall best video quiz creation site for ELL’s. Grockit Answers, though, is also easy to use, and it’s timing annotation could be very helpful to Beginners. Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip. You can read more about it there, and see a sample video here.

Nik Peachey sent out a tweet about a site called Voscreen. After signing-up and choosing your native language from a list of nine, you’re shown a series of very short video TV/movie video clips where a phrase is said. Then, you have a choice of either clicking “I understand” or “Show Me The Script.” If you clip “Show Me The Script,” you’re shown two versions in your native language, and you have to choose which one is correct. Click on one and it shows if it’s the right one or not and then you can move to the next clip (it’s unclear what happens if you click on “I understand” because it doesn’t appear to be working.

It has other bells and whistles, but I couldn’t figure out what they were, and there is no FAQ.

It didn’t appear that the video clips were from YouTube, which would be nice because that means they might get by the student content filter at our school.

EngVid has hundreds of video lessons for learning English.

Captionpop is a free site that shows you the audio of videos in two languages – the one you speak and the one you are learning.There’s not an enormous selection, but English Language Learners might find it useful.

Feel free to offer feedback in the comments section. You can also find links to other sites that didn’t make this list on my website under Video.

If you’ve found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Hi i have gone through Your comment it was interesting that online video for learning some good communication skills and also good thing senses some test u are conduct through online is very good.
    Overseas Education Consultant

  2. Thanks for ranking English for All #1, Larry! It really is a good site, and free. And a new version with more interactivity and more activity types will be coming on line in September as part of USA Learns, so stay tuned.

  3. Larry,

    Your best sites are simply wonderful. I’m using many of them. thanks a lot, from Buenos Aires,


  4. I just want to thank you for your wonderful work you have been doing and sharing with educators and teachers from all over the world!
    I have been using your suggestions and have created a wikispace for my EFL students which includes lots of website links you share with us!
    Many thanks again!

    ATTILIO – EFL Teacher from Bergamo – Italy

  5. Hi Larry! LOVE your blog and use ESL materials to teach my daughter with down syndrome concepts, language and even some social stories.
    I was wondering with your vast knowledge if you were aware of an app or site that has words that can be manipulated to form sentences? She can form a sentence with such help, but is not able to make one from ‘thin air’
    Thanks for any help you can give me.

  6. I came across this article by chance and I am glad that I did. We have been looking for online English Courses for clients and we can refer them to the ones mentioned in this blog.

    Study abroad Education Consultants.

  7. Hi Larry, thanks for the useful links (some I knew about, but some are great new finds for me). But I do have one small-ish problem.

    I deal mainly with ESL learners located in China (of whom there are about 500 million!), behind the Great Firewall that blocks YouTube (as well as Vimeo, Daily Motion, Metacafé and other non-China-based video hosting sites open to the public for upload). So YouTube-based videos are no good for me & my students.

    It would be great if there was a quick, easy way to tell which of these sites do NOT use Youtube (or other blocked video hosts). (I think this could also be useful not only for China-based students but also for onsite teachers/learners in the many schools around the world that block YouTube.) Maybe asterisks, colours, sections or some other indicator.

    As far as I can tell, most of these sites do use YouTube.

    The ones that seem not to (and so should be available in China) are:
    * Australia Network > Study English (self-hosted, Flash?)
    * English for All (self-hosted, Quicktime)
    * English Central (self-hosted, Flash?)
    * Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab (self-hosted, Flash?)

    (By the way, I’m using “self-hosted” here to mean hosted somewhere other than a public upload video host like YouTube, Daily Motion etc)

    One I’m not sure of:
    * Voscreen (I couldn’t tell from a quick glance, and I quickly closed it: nothing more annoying than a site that auto-plays video on its home page, especially when you’re working with a dozen pages open)

    Anyways, I hope a simple indicator of “YouTube or not” won’t be too hard to do, and thanks again for the great links.

    • Thanks for the feedback. When I originally made the list, my intention was to do just that — only include videos not hosted on YouTube. However, it’s possible that some of the sites have changed since that time. I’ll put it on my “to do” list…


  8. Thank you so much for this post!! I will introduce some of these sites tomorrow to my kids 🙂

  9. thanks , i read a lot of post on your blog , very useful for me , thank you

  10. Larry-

    Thanks for putting the list together. Good point on the Youtube videos being blocked by some networks. Let’s not forget that China (one of the largest consumers of English language lessons online) has the Great Firewall that also blocks Youtube content. I will be sure to link to these resources at

    Maybe you could conduct a similar ranking for sites specialized in Business English online.

    Eric Stevens
    Professional English School

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