Online learning

Online learning activities and independent learning tools

On this page you can find some online learning tools to help you improve your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. These online tools and activities are a great way to make learning English fun and they also can help your confidence.

We suggest you follow these 5 steps when using these resources:

  1. Scroll down the page and click on an area you want to focus on. For example, there’s material for:
    • each of the skills: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing
    • pronunciation
    • Business English
    • IELTS
    • Speaking with Others
    • your online workbook.
  2. Explore at least 1 website in the area you want to focus on.
  3. Identify at least 1 activity on the website you think is interesting and will be useful for you.
  4. Write down:
    • the name of the activity
    • where you found it (i.e. the name of the website)
    • why you think it’s interesting
    • how this activity will help you with your English.
  5. Why not start the activity now? If not, write down when you will do it.

Visit a different website on another day and find a different activity and repeat steps 1-5.

Perfect your pronunciation 

Watch Rachel at Rachel’s English pronounce sounds then record yourself making the same sound in another tab using  Vocaroo,  a simple voice recorder.  Ever wondered what that word or phrase sounds like in real life? YouGlish has around 15 million examples of real English in context. Download Sounds app to perfect your pronunciation on the go.

Prepare for conversation

Learn about conventional topics of conversation and ways of saying things with English Club Speaking.  

Teacher's tip: being social is the fastest way to improve your conversational English - take advantage of the activities organised by ICTE to use your skills and grow your confidence in speaking in English.

Start with small amounts of text at an easy level and then increase the length and difficulty of the texts you read.


Memrise is a wonderful vocabulary and content learning app that blends science with a sense of community and fun. 

Short reads

Tiny Texts is a great little blog that lets you listen and learn English in little bits at a time.  

Breaking News English provides short texts and podcasts on current news stories organised in 7 levels (similar to our 7 levels of General English). 

Longer reads

News in Levels and Read it English each begin with a test of your English level and then shows you articles to suit your level. At News in levels you can also listen to the news and follow up by finding a speaking partner in the Skype or chat section. Read it English offers interesting articles beyond regular news and you can provide feedback at anytime to get more difficult articles as you progress.

Teacher's tip: the more you read, the better you get so read for fun.  To stay motivated, look for texts about things you enjoy and read widely.  If you prefer reading from a book, visit the Learning Centre.

English Central - a great way to learn English through a huge pop-out wall of quick videos.  This site can help you improve not only your listening but also your pronunciation and vocabulary with definitions of words provided in the videos. 

Elllo - one minute videos and transcripts of real people talking with small quizzes to test your understanding. 


Subscribe to these podcasts or download individual audio files.

ESL Pod - this podcast is updated frequently and spans a wide range of topics, from Business English to Shopping and Daily Life.

Better at English - this podcast helps you improve through real English conversations and also includes lessons and language learning tips to make your learning more enjoyable.

The English We Speak - From the BBC, this short weekly podcast looks at everyday words and phrases to help you use natural English expressions…naturally!

Splendid Speaking - this podcast is for advanced learners of English who want to develop their speaking and conversation skills and will be very useful for students preparing for English tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, CAE or TOEIC. 

Teacher's tip: make a weekly 'listening schedule' where you set a specific amount of time aside for different types of listening practice every day.  Listen with a purpose and use a variety of listening types. 

Fun exercises

Sign-up to No Red Ink to practise grammar and writing skills with fun topics, engaging exercises and instant, specific feedback. With loads of grammar rules and exercises to choose from, you will become a grammar guru in no time at all! 

Quizlet - providing millions of study sets and topics, Quizlet lets you learn, review and share vocabulary in a variety of interactive and effective ways.

Instant feedback on your own work

Get instant feedback on your own written work by uploading it to Cambridge English's Write and Improve

Install the Grammarly browser extension to proofread your writing for grammar, punctuation, spelling and more as you type.

Structuring your writing 

MindMapfree a fantastic educational app that lets you create quick and easy mind-maps, hassle-free. You'll never forget another brilliant idea again! 

Evernote where you can take interactive and multimedia notes and access them from any device - you'll never need another note-taking app

Teacher's tip: practice, practice, practice! Doing some writing every day will soon become a habit and will help you make great improvements in your writing skills.  Rewrite everything you do - if your teacher makes corrections, rewrite to include these too.

Smart Company - sign up to Smart Company to receive the latest business news. It’s an Australian news source that is very informative. Reading this will help you to recycle vocabulary learnt in class and learn more about the business community here in Australia.

Business Review Weekly- visit Business Review Weekly through the UQ Library to get in-depth business articles on hot topics here in Australia like the top places to work, information on our top entrepreneurs and the latest tech & gadgets.

Business presentations tools - take a look at the Prezi website, where you will discover free online presentation software. The site has demonstration and learning tools that will help you create a simple and smart presentation using well-designed slides.[ training for this and other pres software in]

Business English Pod - Business English Pod is a world-renowned publisher of podcasts and mobile learning resources for intermediate and advanced learners of Business English. Each podcast will introduce the topic, then you listen to the dialogue and follow up with some questions to answer. A great on-the-go learning tool.

TED for Business and Economics - Watch TED's talks on Business and Economics where you will learn about different topics within Business and Economics environments through videos, a 'Think' Q&A, and a discussion board where you can interact with others to help you improve your business language skills online.

Teacher's tip: a large part of being successful in business is networking, and university is the perfect place to build your network! Find opportunities, such as networking events or social clubs and societies to get in contact with like-minded people and to practice your business English.

Many of our students are preparing to take the IELTS test. You can prepare and book your test here at ICTE,  Brisbane's first IELTS test centre, where we offer free, expert preparation online (enrol in the course or sign-in if you have enrolled already) and in monthly face-to-face classes.

Other IELTS preparation materials and resources we recommend include websites from three IELTS experts: Pauleen Cullen’s IELTS Weekly, Simon Corcoran’s IELTS-Simon .

For help with preparing for university studies in English, Using English for Academic Purposes is a great resource to improve your academic writing style, organisation and grammar, while the Academic Phrase Bank can help you find the right phrase for the right academic situation. Academic English Online is another great resource that has a number of web-based activities to improve this aspect of your English.

Teacher's tip: Attend the guest lectures and workshops held at ICTE which focus on academic topics to help you become familiar with Australian academic culture and requirements. 

Your online workbook

For EAP students who do not receive access to a textbook LMS. English language training activities tailored to suit your enrolment. Register and log in here.
For Bridging English, EAP & General English students using Cambridge textbooks (requires Cambridge login)
For General English & EAP students using Pearson textbooks (requires Pearson login)

Improve your writing

Improve your writing

This month's featured learning tool is the Cambridge English Write & Improve.

Write & Improve uses new technology developed at the University of Cambridge to mark English writing accurately, in seconds. Write & Improve also shows you the parts of your text that may need improvement and you can progress from Beginner to Advanced levels. 

Practise speaking with others

Join Vygo to practice conversations with student volunteers online. Sign in with your ICTE student information and join in on a conversation.



In 2019, over 900 ICTE students registered on Vygo and completed over 2000 hours of conversations.  

By using the Vygo App, you will be able to find more opportunities to practice English as well as helping to make local friends.  Our team of friendly conversation volunteers are there to support you and there are lots of different people you can talk to.

The App is free for ICTE Students and is really simple to use. Register an account using your university email address and join the Conversational Volunteers program to begin.

Follow these instructions on how to register for Vygo.

IELTSx Academic Test Preparation

Free online course developed at ICTE to help you prepare for the IELTS Academic tests in this comprehensive, self-paced course covering listening, speaking, reading and writing.

This IELTS course will prepare you to take the IELTS Academic tests with confidence. You will have immediate access to over 80 hours of interactive practice materials covering each of the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Free enrolment


Share your favourite ICTE moments


Share your photos using #UQICTE.

   +61 7 3346 6770

Reception, Level 4
Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Sir Llew Edwards Building (#14)
Cnr University Drive & Campbell Road
The University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4072 Australia