The Best Online English Learning Apps Ranking

Online English
Last update: 8 January 2024

Table of Content

  1. Which is the Best Online English Learning App?
  2. English Learning Platform User Reviews
  3. Online English Learning Apps Teacher Criteria
  4. Materials Used by English Learning Apps
  5. English Learning Application Customer and Support Service Evaluation
  6. My Trial Lesson Experiences with Online English Learning Apps
  7. Ranking of the Best English Learning Apps
  8. Ranking of the Apps in accordance with Trustpilot Grades

1. Which is the Best Online English Learning App?

In this article, I wanted to give you a ranking of the best English learning platforms. I wanted to focus on online English learning sites, for I think online learning is better than face-to-face. I conducted data-driven research without deviating from the scientific methodology. To understand which English platform is better, I analyzed four data sources:

  1. User reviews available on the internet
  2. Criteria sought by platforms when hiring English teachers
  3. Quality of educational materials used by the platforms
  4. Conducting trial lessons on the platforms

The reason for basing my analysis on these four datasets is that numerous studies have shown that teacher and material quality are the most critical factors in achieving success in language teaching. Examining the experiences of other users on the internet allowed me to make an objective evaluation by taking advantage of views from individuals other than myself. The final criterion, my own experience, is related to my philosophy. I have never recommended anything to anyone that I haven't tried myself. Hence, I believed that conducting a lesson on the platforms was a must before making any judgments.

In this text, I examined six platforms, and as I continue to explore new platforms, I will update this ranking accordingly. Among the platforms I have reviewed so far, Flalingo stood out significantly from the others and secured the top spot as the best English platform. Now, let's delve into why I chose Flalingo as the best and what I found lacking in other platforms.

2. English Learning Platform User Reviews

Before writing this article, I conducted a thorough review. In this review, I examined user comments to understand their positive and negative experiences with each platform better. Therefore, I wanted to start my article with these comments to provide you with an introduction.

Flalingo User Reviews

There aren't many comments about this platform since it is relatively newer compared to its competitors. However, based on the comments I analyzed, almost all of them were positive, with only two being negative. In positive reviews, students mentioned that Flalingo is more innovative compared to its competitors, thanks to its smart teacher algorithm that determines a personalized pool of teachers for each student. The students also appreciated the feature that allows continuing lessons with the same teacher. In negative reviews, some users mentioned the high prices and a limited number of teachers. However, based on my understanding from their official website, Flalingo works with over 1800 teachers, indicating that they have a wide pool of teachers. Therefore, although I couldn't fully comprehend this user's comment, I still wanted to include it in my article.

Cambly User Reviews

Cambly, appearing everywhere with its advertisements and partnerships, also found its place in my review. Cambly has a significant number of both positive and negative reviews. While some users highly appreciate Cambly, others don't like it at all. Positive reviews about Cambly mention the opportunity it provides for students to practice speaking with native English speakers and the helpfulness of some teachers. Negative reviews, on the other hand, mention excessive emails from Cambly, low educational quality, and teachers not being certified professionals.

Preply User Reviews

Preply, which operates with a different business approach compared to Flalingo and Cambly, is mostly preferred by users because it contains affordable lessons. Consequently, there have been numerous comments about the quality of the platform. Positive comments highlight the affordability of the lessons and their effectiveness in improving English skills. On the other hand, negative reviews mention teachers not being professional, low-quality education, the absence of a customer service department, and issues during the refund process.

Open English Reviews

Like Cambly, Open English also operates with a similar concept and aims to gain visibility through partnerships and advertisements. Therefore, I wanted to gather information about the platform by examining user reviews as well. Positive comments about Open English revolve around the ability for students to attend lessons from anywhere and the opportunity to have classes with English-speaking teachers. Negative comments mention unauthorized withdrawals from user accounts, lack of transparency regarding prices, and constant phone calls that are annoying to students.

LiveXp User Reviews

LiveXp, which operates with a similar business approach to Preply, is not widely used. Therefore, there aren't many reviews about it. In the rare positive comments, users mentioned that the website is user-friendly, they can choose lessons according to their availability, and it offers one-on-one lessons. Negative reviews, on the other hand, mention issues such as credit card information being stored and money being withdrawn without their consent, the lack of a lesson tracking system, the need for professional teachers, and difficulties in contacting customer service.

EF English Live Reviews

EF English Live is popular globally. However, unfortunately, the reviews made by the students are not very positive. There are a lot of positive reviews about the platform but there are also many negative reviews. Positive reviews are mostly about the teaching method of the platform, the teachers, and the ability to study from anywhere. On the other hand, negative reviews are about lack of private lessons, difficulty in improving knowledge and language skills, and technical problems with the website or app. 

3. Teacher Criteria for Online English Learning Apps

As far as we can understand from user comments, very few popular online English courses work with professional teachers. Therefore, I wanted to learn what the expectations and criteria of these platforms are for teachers. After all, none of us would want to have a lesson with a truck driver who has no prior experience in teaching English on a platform where we pay so much money.

Flalingo Teacher Criteria

Flalingo's website has a section where you can apply to become a teacher. In this section, you can find information about the benefits of teaching on Flalingo and the qualifications you need to have to apply. If you meet these criteria, you can initiate the application process, which takes about 10 minutes. During this process, you are required to introduce yourself, provide information about the languages you speak and your proficiency levels in those languages, mention if you have worked with children before, submit a video introducing yourself and explaining what students can expect from you, upload your CV, and demonstrate that you have a reliable internet connection.

Flalingo has a thorough application process for teachers and places great importance on professionalism and experience. To be eligible to apply as a teacher at Flalingo, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a native English speaker or speak English fluently as if you are a native speaker
  • Have completed your undergraduate education
  • Hold a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certificate
  • Have at least one year of teaching experience
  • Be enthusiastic about teaching, creative, and committed to student success
  • Have access to a computer, headphones, and webcam
  • Have a stable internet connection.

From Flalingo's teacher recruitment process and expectations, it is clear that they aim to provide the best education to their students. Their requirements for teachers, such as having a reliable internet connection, being a university graduate, holding various certificates, and having teaching experience, reflect their commitment to quality education.

Cambly Teacher Criteria

Similar to Flalingo, Cambly also has a section where teachers can apply on their website. When you enter this page, it mentions that you can set your hourly rate, continue teaching from anywhere you want, and improve yourself by meeting people from all around the world. However, they do not provide any specific information about their expectations or criteria for teachers. This is because Cambly doesn’t expect anything from teachers other than English being their mother language. Of course, when applying to teach on Cambly, having a certificate, completing your undergraduate education, or having previous teaching experience can be a plus. However, these are not requirements, which makes Cambly more like an online English conversation course with native English speakers rather than an English learning platform. This is why Cambly may not be considered suitable for beginner-level students.

Preply Teacher Criteria

On Preply's website, in the section where teachers can apply, it mentions that you can set your lesson fees, determine when and how many lessons you can teach, and enhance your professionalism by participating in webinars. Additionally, Preply does not expect experience or certifications from their teachers, but they do expect them to enjoy teaching and making an impact in students' lives, have good communication skills, and be eager to educate.

In my opinion, Preply does not judge their teachers based on actual criteria. They do not expect certifications or experience, which can potentially negatively affect the quality of education provided to students. In short, I believe Preply does not give sufficient importance to the education of their students.

Open English Teacher Criteria

On the page where you can apply to become a teacher at Open English, it mentions that you will have a flexible schedule, a ready curriculum, the opportunity to meet students from all around the world, work from anywhere you want, and gain experience. Based on this information, the criteria you need to meet to apply are:

  • English being your native language
  • Being over 18 years old
  • Having previous teaching experience (duration not specified)
  • Holding a TEFL or TESOL certificate OR being a current or graduate student with a degree 
  • Having a reliable internet connection
  • Being able to teach at least 10 hours per week.

LiveXp Teacher Criteria

In the section where you can apply to become a teacher at LiveXp, unlike other platforms, there is no mention of how much you can earn or what you can gain as a teacher. When you click on the section, it directly initiates the application process. Additionally, LiveXp does not expect teachers to have a specific certificate, previous teaching experience, or a university degree. The only requirement is to have a good level of proficiency in the language you will teach. They do not even expect enthusiasm for teaching. This reduces the quality of education provided by the platform.

EF English Live Teacher Criteria

Like its competitors, EF English Live has a page where you can apply to work as a teacher. Here, you can work remotely, face to face in your country, in a different country, or at a high school. Since this article is about online English learning, I wanted to focus solely on that. To teach English online with EF English Live you need to:

  • Have completed your undergraduate education
  • Be a fluent English speaker
  • Have at least a 40-hour TEFL certificate

When we look at the teacher selection processes of the platforms based on user reviews, the fewer expectations a platform has from teachers, the lower the quality of education provided by the platform. Therefore, before registering for a platform, we should consider their teacher selection processes and carefully examine user reviews, both positive and negative.

4. Materials Used by English Learning Apps

The quality of education provided by a platform is determined not only by its teachers but also by the materials used in the lessons. Therefore, when evaluating the best English learning Apps, it is important to consider the materials they utilize. However, the biggest problem in this regard is that most platforms do not use specific materials or follow a structured curriculum. According to the research I conducted Preply, LiveXp, and EF English Live do not rely on specific sources for their lessons. While Cambly and Open English claim to provide materials to students, they do not specify what these materials are. Thus, at this point, Flalingo takes a step ahead of its competitors.

Flalingo utilizes materials from Oxford University Press in its lessons and also offers free access to the Oxford University Press Library for its students. By using publications from one of the top universities in the UK, Flalingo demonstrates its commitment to a unique educational policy, setting itself apart from its competitors.

5. English Learning Application Customer and Support Service Evaluation

Another way for a platform focused on online English education to demonstrate its quality and commitment to students is through its customer service. In an online platform, where there is no physical space to go and express your concerns as in traditional classrooms, students must have easy access to a live support team where they can get answers to their questions and address any issues they may encounter. Unfortunately, most of the platforms I examined fell short in this regard, as many of them do not offer voice call support.

Preply, Cambly, EF English Live, and LiveXp do not provide customer service support where students can have voice calls to discuss their concerns. In Preply, students are required to visit the support page and read articles when they encounter an issue. However, this page is not sufficient just by itself. In LiveXp and Cambly, students can contact customer support through live chat when they face a problem, but these messages are often automated and it takes a long time for students to find a resolution. On EF English Live, students can voice their problems only via email and it is difficult to find a respondent after you pay for the lessons. 

On the other hand, Flalingo and Open English take a different approach and offer voice-call support. However, Open English still faces significant issues with its customer service department. Students who have expressed their concerns on complaint platforms have mentioned that customer service ignores their problems shows little willingness to resolve issues, and misleads students with incorrect information, causing them to suffer. Therefore, while Open English may be slightly ahead of other platforms, it falls short in terms of customer service.

Flalingo, on the other hand, provides students with the option to express their concerns either through voice calls or messages. It fulfills what an online platform should do. By completing the shortcomings of its competitors in this aspect as well, Flalingo once again takes a step forward and demonstrates its value for students.

6. My Trial Lesson Experiences with Online English Learning Apps

As I mentioned before, I don't recommend anything I haven't tried myself to anyone. Therefore, in preparation for this article, I wanted to examine how these 6 platforms work by taking trial lessons from them. By sharing my experiences with these lessons, I hope to help you better understand the platforms as well.

My Trial Lesson Experience with Flalingo

When I visited their website to take a trial lesson, I noticed that Flalingo offers trial lessons for only 4 Dollars. Additionally, I realized that Flalingo provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee to its students, allowing them to have another lesson with a different instructor if they encounter any issues or are not satisfied with their current teacher. Afterward, I used Flalingo's smart teacher matching algorithm to select one of the approximately 30 teachers they suggested, and I scheduled a trial lesson.

When the lesson time arrived, both the teacher and I could join the session smoothly. During the lesson, we introduced ourselves, and the teacher explained how they organize lessons for each student, customizing the content according to their needs. The teacher also took the time to understand what I needed from the lessons. It's great to hear that you didn't experience any technical issues during the lesson and that the 25-minute trial lesson allowed you to get familiar with the platform. Even from just the trial lesson, you can already recognize that Flalingo values its students and teachers, and their approach prioritizes pedagogy. It's evident that Flalingo places a strong emphasis on providing a quality learning experience. Flalingo's satisfaction guarantee, the absence of any disruptions during the lessons, and the teacher's professional approach are, in my opinion, criteria that demonstrate how professional and innovative the platform is. These aspects ensured that Flalingo received a perfect score.

My Trial Lesson Experience with Cambly

After registering on Cambly's website, you come across a button that says 'Join a Free Trial Lesson.' When you click on this button, you are immediately connected with a teacher, and you can have a 5-minute lesson. I have two things to say about this experience. Firstly, during these trial lessons, you cannot choose the teacher you want to have a trial with, so you talk to a random teacher for 5 minutes. Therefore, there is a possibility of being disappointed later on if you liked a teacher during the trial lesson but couldn't find them afterward. Secondly, the lessons last only 5 minutes. Within these 5 minutes, you can only introduce yourself. You can't gather proper information about the platform or the teacher. This might be due to the lessons being free, but I wish they offered paid and longer lessons so that students could thoroughly explore the platform before signing up. In my 5-minute trial lesson, we only had time to introduce ourselves and talk about where we're from and what we do, and then the time was up. Even though I can speak English fluently, if I had such a short lesson, I can't imagine how much improvement students who use Cambly to develop their English skills can achieve in just 5 minutes!

My Trial Lesson Experience with Preply

When I visited Preply to take a trial lesson, I noticed that I needed to choose my teacher and schedule an appointment for the trial. I also saw that the trial lesson fee varied from one teacher to another, just like regular lesson fees. So, I selected a teacher with a reasonable price (neither too cheap nor too expensive) and scheduled my trial lesson. However, to my disappointment, I couldn't even join the trial lesson! Even though I paid the fee, the lesson didn't appear in the system, and I couldn't communicate this issue to the relevant people at Preply. Feeling frustrated, I gave up on it. I decided to try again with another teacher, scheduled an appointment, and waited. Then, I found out that the teacher had canceled the lesson. Instead of going through the hassle of searching for someone to talk about my problems again, I quietly distanced myself from Preply. Although I couldn't have the trial lesson, I believe that not being able to conduct the lessons speaks volumes about the platform's quality.

My Trial Lesson Experience with Open English

When I visited the Open English website in the hope of purchasing a trial lesson, I found out that they don't offer trial lessons. Instead, they provide a three-day trial period. However, what bothered me was that they asked for my card information for this three-day trial. After all, they shouldn't need my card details for a free trial. Moreover, I read user reviews where people mentioned that Open English had withdrawn money from their accounts without their knowledge. Because of this, I decided not to start the trial period. Later, I rechecked user reviews and found a comment from a user who said they had money withdrawn from their account, and Open English promised to refund it after the trial period, but they didn't receive the refund. This made me quite uncomfortable, and to avoid paying a significant amount of money, I chose not to experience the Open English trial period. I advise you to be cautious if you plan to register for their three-day free trial period, and if possible, consider not signing up at all.

My Trial Lesson Experience with LiveXp

Similar to Preply, in LiveXp, you can choose the teacher you want to have a trial lesson with. However, the trial lesson fees are fixed for all teachers at $3.49. For the trial lesson, I first registered on the site and then answered a few questions related to my interests. Based on these interests, they presented me with teachers who had similar interests, and I selected a suitable time for a lesson and scheduled an appointment.

Later, I was ready for the lesson at the specified time, but the teacher never showed up. I had read in user reviews that regular lessons sometimes had issues with teachers not showing up, but the fact that the same happened with the trial lesson greatly disappointed me. I then tried to schedule a new lesson with another teacher. This time, the teacher showed up, but the lesson was only average, and I didn't get much out of it. Moreover, I ended up paying two trial lesson fees for just one trial lesson. Overall, my trial lesson experience with LiveXp was not satisfactory. The teacher not showing up and the lack of efficiency in the lesson, combined with having to pay for two trial lessons, made me quite discouraged with the platform.

My Trial Lesson Experience with EF English Live

When I visited EF English Live’s website, I couldn’t see where I can get trial lessons. Then I realized I couldn’t see prices or packages. Therefore, I was disappointed that neither I nor the students could take trial lessons to see if the platform suits them. I think here, EF English Live fell short in terms of trial lessons. I believe you shouldn’t purchase lessons from any platform that doesn’t offer trial lessons. Therefore, I can’t recommend EF English Live to anyone.

7. Ranking of the Best English Learning Apps

In my evaluation, Flalingo stands out significantly from its competitors, securing the top spot as the best online English learning application. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of online English learning platforms and my ranking:

1. Flalingo

Flalingo takes the top spot due to its meticulous teacher selection process, use of Oxford University Press materials, and 24/7 live support. Furthermore, Flalingo's approach to trial lessons and its smart teacher matching algorithm, which connects you with the best teachers, sets it apart from its competitors and places it in the first position.

2. Open English

Open English takes the second place due to its advantages in meeting the criteria for teacher selection compared to previous platforms. However, it falls behind Flalingo for not specifying the materials used in lessons, not providing the chance to choose teachers, and having customer service that lacks a solution-oriented approach. The inability to select your teacher in Open English creates an undeniable difference between Flalingo and Open English.

3. EF English Live

Since it requires a diploma and a certificate, it seems to be better than Cambly, Preply, and LiveXp. However, since its customer service doesn’t provide phone calls and contacts only via mail, it can’t be said that it is better than Flalingo or Open English. Also, the student reviews about EF English Live customer service being unreachable after the sale, is another reason why it ranks third.

4. Cambly

With its popularity and numerous user reviews, Cambly secures the fourth position in the ranking. Although it may not excel in teacher selection, materials used, or customer service, its advantage lies in connecting students with native English-speaking teachers, placing it ahead of Preply and LiveXp.

5. Preply

Preply is preferred by students for its affordability. It ranks fifth as it does not require specific certifications or teaching experience from its teachers. However, this flexibility may affect the overall quality of instruction.

6. LiveXp

LiveXp ranks last due to its lower recognition compared to other platforms and lower expectations from its teachers. Additionally, the absence of voice call support in its customer service contributes to its lower ranking.

8. Ranking of the Apps in accordance with Trustpilot Grades

In this blog piece, I have determined the criteria to rank English learning apps. Yet, it is also important to take a look at what customers express all around the internet. The best address to visit to learn how customer ranks, is Trustpilot. By taking Trustpilot grade granted, we can rank apps from the best to the worst in the following way:

  1. Flalingo (4.7 out of 5)
  2. Preply (4.2 out of 5)
  3. Livexp (4.1 out of 5)
  4. EF English Live (4.0 out of 5)
  5. Open English (3.9 out of 5)
  6. Cambly (3.8 out of 5)

If you want to further investigate on English learning apps and rankings, you can just

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