After reading those comments/stories, I've concluded that Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading, Listening, and Speaking are the most common problems for learners out there. English learning is Experiential Learning, so here are some helpful steps for you to improve your English skills:
LISTENING & VOCABULARY
1. Youtube, movies, podcast, etc will do just fine as long as you make time for self-exercise afterwards. Repeat phrases that native speakers say, say it with facial expression/non-verbal language so that you can feel it (to confirm understanding).
2. You'll learn vocabulary while paying attention to repeated phrases/sentences. If you catch some key words, new words, important terms, imitate the pronunciation. Don't worry about the spelling of alphabet yet because looking up dictionary might disturb the process of your Listening Comprehension. When you're ready, start consulting online dictionaries to get more details about new vocabulary.
GRAMMAR (is in the conversation but don't panic, just let if flow)
If you catch some key words about actions (Verbs), tenses (present, past, future,etc), grammar forms (gerund, passive voice, etc), just LISTEN carefully, rewind recording, replay, and repeat. No need to open your Grammar book (not yet). Start to get familiar with those grammar forms and apply them for different situations, with different time reference, actions, objects, names, people, etc. After that, you need to put it into practice in SPEAKING.
1. Start wider networking for more chat friends, meet more people to have practice together (VOCABULARY needs to be put into practice with real people). Then, when you and your conversation partner understand each other, don't be shy to speak because you are afraid of making mistakes. Begin with phrases that you're already familiar with and continue with more challenging ones. Start with friends and relatives who really know you.
2. Then, as your understanding, fluency, and confidence improve, continue your practice with more learners out there, including strangers, and eventually native speakers who are not all Grammar Accurate/English Teachers but they'll appreciate your effort to communicate actively. Isn't it your purpose of learning English: improve your ability to communicate in English ?
3. When you're ready, connect words/phrases by applying Grammar forms that you already know (understand correctly and feel confident to use for a certain context). The more you listen, the more you know. The more you learn, finally the more confident you will be.
READING & VOCABULARY
After you know a lot more by practicing your Listening & Speaking, start expanding your knowledge by READING more passages with various topics. It's ok if you don't know all the words/phrases -- even if you don't know more than you know :-)
1. Passages/articles/readings with some Reading Comprehension Questions are the best for you if you want to test your own understanding of what you've read, so you have a purpose of reading it. Highlight unfamiliar words while reading the passage carefully. Picture in your mind/imagine the objects/situations/people, etc being described in the passage. Get ready with bookmark of reliable online dictionaries (you'll get the links below) but don't use them before you finish highlighting those unfamiliar words (because it might distract you from Reading Comprehension Process you are actually doing). Read the questions and link the keywords to phrases/words you have underlined while reading them.
2. Then, you can consult dictionaries to get BETTER UNDERSTANDING of words/phrases in the passage and questions OR to CORRECT MISUNDERSTANDING you've had earlier while you're still reading the passage. Write little notes of your understanding related to those words/phrases/terms.
3. Finally, answer those Reading Comprehension Questions with better understanding and confidence :-).
GRAMMAR (is in the Reading Passage, just give yourself a chance to feel it)
If you discover new key words about actions (Verbs), tenses, grammar forms, and main ideas, just READ it carefully, READ PHRASES/WORDS/SENTENCES before and after them, READ AGAIN the IMPORTANT SENTENCES, and READ AGAIN the whole PARAGRAPH. Don't consult Grammar book yet. Start to get familiar with some grammar forms and apply them for different situations BY WRITING YOUR OWN SENTENCES/PARAGRAPHS (maybe summary/synopsis/journal of that passage), with suitable time reference (adverb of time), actions (verbs), things (noun), names of people (subject & object of sentences), etc. Use more vocabulary that you have learned as you add up more words/phrases each day, each week, each month.
Now, start your own pieces of writing with better awareness of VOCABULARY, CONTEXT (including your own feelings/opinions as well as readers'), and of course GRAMMAR (something that you shouldn't be afraid of anymore when you've done previous steps successfully). You can share or publish your own writing and discuss it with other learners or perhaps consult more experienced writers. Be proud of what you've achieved and don't be ashamed if they correct your mistakes. Just be prepared to make correction and improvement.
Lastly, here are some of my favorite online dictionaries:
PS: These really help me as a translator. DON'T trust Google translate, its translation result may sound strange, funny, or even stupid. Machine doesn't have feelings/experience, but we do!
I hope you find this useful and have a nice learning!
Thank you all so much for sharing and I end this thread with more motivation to focus on those problems to help my students and English learners around me.