Best Online Sign Language Classes (2022)

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McKenzie Lambson

Best Online Sign Language Classes (1)

McKenzie Lambson

McKenzie is deeply passionate about bridging the global culture gap through sustainable travel, language acquisition, and socioeconomic development. She previously worked as a copywriter, itinerary writer, and location scout for various small businesses.

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Updated on September 13, 2022

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Fernando Flores

Best Online Sign Language Classes (2)

Fact checked byFernando Flores

Fernando Flores is an anti-money laundering specialist for Transnetwork, an international remittances payment aggregator. He began his career working as compliance support for BBVA Transfer Services where he was exposed to the anti-money laundering field. He is now a certified anti-money laundering specialist by ACAMS with a specialization in fintech regulation.

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Understanding American Sign Language (ASL) is becoming an increasingly important asset in the job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for translators and interpreters is projected to increase by 24% by 2030.

Language learning has been shown to improve brain function, increase creative ability, and improve memory. As a visual language, ASL improves spatial awareness, reaction time, and concentration ability. Being able to communicate with people using ASL is a valuable skill in both personal and professional settings.

The 7 Best Online Sign Language Classes of 2022

Best Online Sign Language Classes

Best Online Sign Language Classes

(Video) Online ASL Classes? - TakeLessons

  • Our Top Picks
  • Gallaudet University
  • American Sign Language University
  • ASL Meredith
  • Sign It! ASL
  • Start ASL
  • SignOn Connect
  • ASLDeafined
  • See More (4)
  • FAQs

  • Methodology

Best Overall : Gallaudet University

Pros

  • Free ASL beginner courses

  • Many options for advanced education

  • Specializes in the language and culture of deaf people

Cons

  • Beginner courses are somewhat short

  • Courses for special topics are expensive

Why We Chose It

Founded in 1864, Gallaudet University is a federally chartered and fully accredited liberal arts college that specializes in the language and culture of deaf people. While both hearing and deaf students are admitted into the school, it remains the only higher education institution that structures its curriculum to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Not only does Gallaudet offer free ASL basics courses, but the university also has a variety of paid ASL courses for adult learners, including ASL levels 1 through 4, Fingerspelling, and Visual Gestural Communication, all taught by ASL professionals and structured to improve comprehension and communication.

Beyond language learning, the university offers several bilingual deaf studies courses, a catalog that includes Introduction to Deaf Studies, Black Deaf People Studies, Deaf Women’s Studies, and more.

Beginner lessons through Gallaudet are free of charge and are intended to prepare students for the more advanced paid ASL courses. Fingerspelling courses are around $316, and ASL courses on special topics are about $950.

Best Budget : American Sign Language University

Pros

  • Self-guided courses are free

  • Taught by an experienced ASL teacher

Cons

  • Instructor-guided courses are relatively expensive

  • Website does not have a modern design

Why We Chose It

Lauded by instructors, students, and families, American Sign Language University (ASLU) is a completely free ASL resource for teachers and learners. The service was created by Dr. Bill Vicars, a deaf person and an associate professor of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at California State University in Sacramento; Dr. Vicars has been teaching ASL for 20 years.

In 1997, Dr. Vicars launched ASLU as a resource for rural families without access to sign language classes. Since then, ASLU has been used to supplement sign language learning and to fulfill academic language requirements. Additionally, teachers are able to download entire lessons and activities, free of charge, to boost classroom learning.

Though Dr. Vicar’s ASLU provides instructor-guided ASL courses for around $483 each, all of the self-guided resources are available completely free, making ASLU the best budget option for online ASL courses.

The lessons, listed in chronological order at the top of the site’s main page, include an instructional video, a vocabulary list, practice assignments, recommended reading, and lessons on Deaf culture. Dr. Vicar’s First 100 Signs video is an excellent place to start for communication between parents and children.

(Video) 20+ Basic Sign Language Phrases for Beginners | ASL

Best for Beginners : ASL Meredith

Pros

  • Comprehensive course with extra resources

  • Plenty of free content on social media

Cons

  • Self-guided course, so no personal advice

  • Relatively expensive beginner course

Why We Chose It

For a complete ASL beginner, ASL Meredith is an online, self-paced course designed to teach the foundations of grammar, vocabulary, and conversation.

The creator of the beginner course, Meredith, is a certified ASL instructor with a Master’s degree in Teaching ASL as a Foreign Language. Meredith, a hearing person, learned sign language from a childhood friend at an early age. She now teaches lessons in person, through her online portal, and on YouTube and Instagram.

ASL Meredith’s Foundations of ASL course was created to assist potential learners who didn’t have financial or physical access to sign language courses. It consists of six modules, complete with video instruction, practice assignments, and quizzes designed to guide students through conversation and comprehension with increasing complexity.

The estimated completion time for the course is six weeks, but as it is self-guided, learners can take as little or as much time as they need.The beginner class costs around $179 and includes lifetime access, but ASL Meredith offers a payment plan of about $49 per month to be made over the course of four months.

Best for Families : Sign It! ASL

Pros

  • Free for eligible U.S. families

  • Lessons taught by deaf actors, advocates, and performers

Cons

  • No direct communication with instructors

  • Lessons are only available online

Why We Chose It

Designed with homeschoolers in mind, Sign It! ASL is a self-paced, online sign language course and resource. Through a partnership with the Signing Time Foundation and the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, Sign It! ASL is completely free for families in the United States with a child under 36 months old who has any degree of hearing loss.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, between 2 and 3 babies out of every 1,000 are born with some degree of hearing loss; most infants are identified as deaf or hard of hearing by six months old. This time is critical for communication and development. In contrast to spoken language, babies are able to use sign language as early as six months.

(Video) Free Sign Language online courses, websites and apps to learn to sign on your own

Sign It! ASL's course consists of about 20 units, each of which includes vocabulary, stories, conversation practice, lessons on deaf culture, quizzes, and more. All lessons are taught by deaf actors, advocates, and performers.

Units of five are available to purchase with lifetime access for around $50 each, though all 20 units can be bought in a bundle for about $160.

Best for School Credit : Start ASL

Pros

  • Models a classroom setting

  • Video feedback available

  • Exclusive Facebook group

Cons

  • Website is difficult to navigate

  • Some course instructions are confusing

Why We Chose It

The founders of Start ASL created their ASL program as a curriculum-supported, sign language learning platform modeled after classrooms. It comes as no surprise that Start ASL, with hundreds of school partnerships, is an excellent online resource for learning ASL for academic credit.

The curriculum of Start ASL is designed to model a classroom setting as closely as possible, with conversation practice at its core. Each unit consists of vocabulary, video lessons and assignments, and reading material. Start ASL connects students with each other through an exclusive Facebook group, allowing the students to practice.

Access to Start ASL includes all three levels, each of which is equivalent to roughly one year of a high school language class or one semester of a college language course. Students move through these levels, which are further divided into units, progressively and at their own pace.

Start ASL offers two different subscriptions to best suit learners’ needs: Silver and Gold. Silver is the basic subscription, which includes course access, a certificate of completion, and written feedback on assignments. Gold features everything offered in Silver, along with video feedback and increased student support. Gold is required for students using Start ASL for academic credit.

Prices for the Silver and Gold levels are about $25 and $50 per month, respectively, though Start ASL offers annual payment options for optimal savings. These subscriptions can be upgraded, downgraded, or canceled at any time.

Best for One-on-One Lessons : SignOn Connect

Pros

  • Excellent one-on-one learning environment

  • Students are paired with SignOn deaf ambassadors

  • Eligible children can get five lessons for free

Cons

  • Individual sessions can be expensive

Why We Chose It

While many online ASL programs offer video lessons and assignment feedback, very few pair learners directly with native sign language users in one-on-one video conferencing settings. SignOn was developed to bridge this gap, connecting online learners with the deaf community and facilitating an immersive learning experience.

Each student is paired with one of SignOn’s deaf ambassadors, based on the student’s learning objectives. The primary goals of each 30-minute session are to build relationships with the deaf community and improve language retention. SignOn says that students who use its platform with college courses demonstrate an average 37% increase in test scores.

(Video) Everything That Helped me Learn ASL| Tips and Tricks

Every ambassador at SignOn identifies as deaf. It is vital, according to the American Society for Deaf Children, for deaf or hard-of-hearing children to connect with adult deaf role models in order to combat false misconceptions about the deaf community.

An individual session costs around $25, although there are significant savings when the sessions are purchased in bundles.

Members of the American Society for Deaf Children have access to five free sessions of SignOn, and membership is open to all. An annual membership costs $35.

Best for Vocabulary : ASLDeafined

Pros

  • Video dictionary of over 15,000 words

  • Three-day free trial

  • Annual subscription of only $36

Cons

  • Not much guidance for beginners

  • Website has some technical problems

Why We Chose It

With a continuously expanding video dictionary of more than 15,000 words, ASLDeafined is an expansive, self-guided way to learn ASL vocabulary.

Before beginning lessons, ASLDeafined users must self-identify as deaf learners, a parent of a deaf or hard-of-hearing child, or a member of the general public. Within these groups, lessons and vocabulary are divided into categories to improve retention. Each user has a progress chart that details the changes in learning and retention, a particularly useful tool for parents using ASLDeafined for children.

The program also offers more than 300 themed lessons and activities designed to improve memorization, as well as ways to save notable or difficult words or signs for future study.

ASLDeafined is available online and through the company’s app and offers a renewable, three-day free trial. An annual subscription is approximately $36, while the price is only $12 for educators. Subscriptions can be canceled at any point, and access will continue through the end of the subscription period.

Final Verdict

Our top pick, Gallaudet University, is a well-established liberal arts college that specializes in services for the deaf. It provides free ASL beginner courses, and a wide variety of continuing education courses. Our other top picks are worth considering as well; some specialize in courses for beginners or families, while others are more affordable or designed for one-on-one leaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Basics of Learning Sign Language Online?

Some of the basics of learning sign language online include:

  • Learning the sign language alphabet
  • Communicating with your hands
  • Mastering grammar
  • Expanding your vocabulary
  • Improving comprehension
  • Fingerspelling (spelling words with hand movements)

How Long Does It Take To Learn Sign Language?

Everyone learns at a different pace, so it may take one person longer to learn sign language than others. It also depends on how much time you have to devote to learning sign language and how quickly you pick up new concepts and remember them. Some classes are self-paced, and others can take up to six weeks to complete. By the time you’re finished with a class, you should have a better understanding of sign language but may not be completely fluent. In general, it can take several years of regular practice to become fluent in sign language.

Who Can Benefit From an Online Sign Language Class?

Online sign language classes can benefit you if you, a friend, or a family member is experiencing any type of hearing loss. It can broaden your career options and increase your productivity and your communication skills. You can also benefit if you’re a teacher, a tutor, or someone who enjoys learning languages. Finally, an online sign class can be beneficial if you want to become a translator or an interpreter.

How Much Does an Online Sign Language Class Cost?

Costs for sign language classes vary, as do the number of lessons, teaching styles, and the length of the specific class. Some classes are as inexpensive as $15–$25 per class; others cost $199 per year. More intensive classes can range from around $500 to $1,000.

How We Chose The Best Online Sign Language Classes

We looked at dozens of online sign language classes before deciding on the top seven. We chose these as the best online sign language classes based on student reviews, pricing, accreditation organizations, and categories that they specialize in. We also considered learning styles and how progress is tracked.

Article Sources

FAQs

What is the best website to learn ASL? ›

The 7 Best Online Sign Language Classes of 2022
  • Best Overall: Gallaudet University.
  • Best Budget: American Sign Language University.
  • Best for Beginners: ASL Meredith.
  • Best for Families: Sign It! ASL.
  • Best for School Credit: Start ASL.
  • Best for One-on-One Lessons: SignOn Connect.
  • Best for Vocabulary: ASLDeafined.
13 Sept 2022

Is there something like Duolingo for ASL? ›

Lingvano is an interactive way to learn ASL. The activities are fun and the lessons help you learn how to connect signs into sentences to have a conversation. Lingvano makes learning sign language into a game. The lesson style is very similar to Duolingo.

How many years does it take to become fluent in ASL? ›

Overall, it can take several years of regular study and practice to become fluent in sign language. It may take from three months to three years to learn sign language. Moreover, it's all about your learning goal setting, and it all depends on your end goal.

How many hours does it take to become fluent in ASL? ›

If so, you might be surprised to learn that learning the basics of ASL can take just 60 to 90-hours. By comparison, learning a new spoken language like French can take anywhere from three to six months.

Is Rosetta Stone or Duolingo better? ›

Yes. After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning app, we found Rosetta Stone to be a superior program to Duolingo. While we like Duolingo's gamification of learning, Rosetta Stone is simply more comprehensive and effective.

Is there a universal ASL? ›

Many people ask, “Is American Sign Language (ASL) universal?” Well, the answer is no, it is not universal. American Sign Language is unique and is commonly used within the United States and Canada. Canada actually has two official sign languages known as American Sign Language and Quebec Sign Language (LSQ).

Is there an ASL fluency test? ›

The ASLPI is a holistic language evaluation used to determine global ASL proficiency.

Can you learn ASL by yourself? ›

There are numerous ways to learn American Sign Language (ASL) outside the old classroom method. From free online lessons to video tutorials, a world of possibilities is open for those aspiring to teach themselves this hands-on language.

What is the most Recognised sign language? ›

American Sign Language (ASL) is the most widely-used sign language around the world. Signers are spread across the USA and Canada, as well as parts of Mexico, Africa, and Asia.

What is the most used sign language? ›

ASL, short for American Sign Language, is the sign language most commonly used by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the United States. Approximately more than a half-million people throughout the US (1) use ASL to communicate as their native language.

Is ASL the hardest language to learn? ›

Sign language is one of the easiest languages to learn. So many of the signs are commonplace gestures. Children pick up on the signs quickly and are eager to use them.

Can you learn ASL in 6 months? ›

Learning fundamental American Sign Language (ASL) can be accomplished in as little as 60-90 hours. In contrast, this could take approximately 6 (3 – credit) ASL courses spread out over two to three years to go from beginner to intermediate proficiency.

Is there an app that teaches you ASL? ›

SignSchool. This free app works for those wanting to learn American Sign Language or develop their ASL vocabulary. Choose from a diverse group of signers and dialects in the dictionary and reinforce your learning with multiple-choice games. Set the daily reminder to learn a new sign every day.

How many levels of ASL are there? ›

Students may complete all ASL course work (ASL levels 1-5), Advanced Conversational ASL (ASLS 214) and Pre-Interpreting Skills (INTR 216) prior to obtaining their ASLPI score. How do I sign up?

Is ASL faster than speaking? ›

She compared the speed at which stories were signed and spoken. On average, the children communicated at the rate of 4.7 words and 2.3 signs per second. Signing and speaking the same story took almost exactly the same time. However, only 122 signs were used compared to 210 words, less than 60% as many.

At what age does ASL start? ›

When to start baby sign language. Typically, most babies can begin signing in the range of 8-12 months of age. Rebelo suggests that interested parents begin using sign language when their baby is 6-8 months old but says not to worry if your child is older since there isn't a magical window that closes.

Are ASL classes hard? ›

Individual signs are relatively easy to learn. Like any spoken language, ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. To learn enough signs for basic communication and to sign them comfortably, can take a year or more.

How fast can you realistically learn a language? ›

The correct answer is: “it depends,” but you probably already knew that. The next and most accurate answer is that it can take anywhere between three months to two years to learn how to speak, write, and read in a new language fluently.

How many signs are in ASL? ›

How many ASL signs are there? About 10,000 different ASL signs exist that corresponds to English, which has about 200,000 words. How much do ASL interpreters make?

What is the most effective language-learning app? ›

The 7 best language learning apps: Rosetta Stone it at home
  • Babbel. Best language learning app. View now.
  • Duolingo. Best free language learning app. View now.
  • Rosetta Stone. Best for immersive language learning. View now.
  • Memrise. Best for learning real-world phrases. View now.
  • Busuu. Best for goal-oriented learning. View now.
13 May 2022

Can Duolingo actually make you fluent? ›

Can Duolingo make me fluent? Research shows that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language! But the truth is that no single course, app, method, or book can help you reach all your language goals.

What words do not exist in ASL? ›

In addition, ASL does not use the English words “and,” “or,” “the,” “of,” and “is” to convey information. Instead, these concepts are expressed through facial expressions, role shifting, and pointing.

What is the number 9 rule in ASL? ›

The "Rule of 9" in ASL is a means of incorporating the numbers up to nine with particular concepts into a single sign. Those concepts include: minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and money. Learn all about the Rule of 9 and practice using those number/signs in sentences.

Why is there a no talking rule in ASL? ›

The no talking aloud rule helps students focus on what they are saying with their hands, Knox said. “It helps them learn the syntax and sentence structure. If they are talking (aloud), they can't do that.” All of her students — beginners and advanced alike — are scheduled to be silent for an entire day in the spring.

What part of the brain does ASL affect? ›

The researchers found that especially the so-called Broca's area in the frontal brain of the left hemisphere is one of the regions that was involved in the processing of sign language in almost every study evaluated.

Is ASL considered a disability? ›

Individuals who are deaf clearly fall within the definition of disability which entitles those individuals to the protections of U.S. disability rights laws, regardless of whether those individuals consider themselves as having a disability." This makes the Deaf Community's position that deafness is not a disability ...

What are the 3 types of ASL? ›

There are three major forms of Sign Language currently used in the United States: American Sign (ASL), Pidgin Signed English (PSE), and Signed Exact English (SEE). ASL is used by many deaf in the United States, thus its use promotes assimilation into the Deaf Community.

Is ASL harder than spoken language? ›

It's at least as difficult. Sign languages have the same complexity and abstraction that spoken languages do. Some of the signs are iconic (i.e., they look like what they describe), but most aren't. The grammars of sign languages have syntax, morphology, phonology--- all the tricky bits of spoken languages.

Is ASL easier than English? ›

As with anything new, learning a language takes time, patience, and hard work. Some have the misconseption that learning ASL is easier than learning a spoken language. This is incorrect. Experts estimate that it takes 3-4 years to become fluent in a new language on average.

Is ASL a valuable skill? ›

Learning sign language is crucial for those who are deaf or hearing impaired, as well as their friends and family members. But, what many people may not realize is that sign language can be a valuable life skill for just about anyone to develop.

What sign language is closest to ASL? ›

ASL is most closely related to French Sign Language (LSF). It has been proposed that ASL is a creole language of LSF, although ASL shows features atypical of creole languages, such as agglutinative morphology.

Which country uses ASL the most? ›

ASL is used predominantly in the United States and in many parts of Canada. ASL is accepted by many high schools, colleges, and universities in fulfillment of modern and “foreign” language academic degree requirements across the United States.

What is the least spoken language in the world sign language? ›

Dumi is the world's least spoken language and one of the rarest.

Is there a sign for every word? ›

Answer: There is not a sign for every word in the English dictionary. However, there is usually a sign for most concepts expressed in English. Conceptually correctness is the key. If you are trying to find a sign on Signing Savvy, first think about the meaning behind what you want to say.

Is there only 1 sign language? ›

One of the most common misconceptions about sign language is that it's the same wherever you go. That's not the case. In fact, there are somewhere between 138 and 300 different types of sign language used throughout the world today. New sign languages frequently evolve amongst groups of deaf children and adults.

What is the 3 hardest language to learn? ›

Let's explore the 10 hardest languages for English speakers to learn, and the challenges they deliver:
  1. Mandarin. Mandarin is spoken by 70% of the Chinese population, and is the most spoken language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. 3. Japanese. ...
  4. Hungarian. ...
  5. Korean. ...
  6. Finnish. ...
  7. Basque. ...
  8. Navajo.
16 Sept 2022

What is the 2 most hardest language to learn? ›

The Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers
  1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. Polish. ...
  4. Russian. ...
  5. Turkish. ...
  6. Danish.
25 Feb 2021

Should I learn Spanish or ASL? ›

If you're an auditory learner, you'll probably find it easier to learn Spanish than ASL, which is spoken in the visual modality. But if you're a visual learner, you might find ASL to be easier to learn.

Does learning ASL delay speech? ›

Some parents are wary, however – the most frequent question I've come across is, “Will learning sign language delay my child's speech?” The answer is no – learning sign language will not hurt your child's speech development.

Can you learn ASL on duolingo? ›

Is ASL on Duolingo? Duolingo doesn't have ASL available. But there are plenty of other apps that do. Rocket Languages is another well-known language app that offers a complete ASL course.

What's the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

How can I learn ASL for free? ›

If you ask around for free sign language resources, ASL University from Bill Vicars is often recommended. It stood out from multiple websites as the most comprehensive and organized option. With 60 available lessons, ASL University covers frequently used subjects, such as food, clothing, and emotions.

Is there a translator for ASL? ›

According to research professionals and leading tech companies, SignAll is the best automatic sign language translation system available worldwide. How It Works: The system translates both ways between sign languages and written / spoken text.

What should I start learning ASL? ›

Sign Language Alphabet

Learning to sign the alphabet (known as the manual alphabet) is usually the first place to begin. Sign language alphabet: Each of the 26 letters in the English alphabet is represented with a unique sign in American Sign Language (ASL).

Where do I start with ASL? ›

You can start learning ASL by attending a sign language class. Sign language classes can be found at community colleges, universities, libraries, churches, organizations/clubs of the deaf, and lots of other places.

Is ASL worth learning? ›

Knowing ASL gives you a way to build relationships with countless deaf people and a way to enjoy the richness of the Deaf community nationwide. Beyond communicating with deaf friends, ASL is also a surprisingly versatile language.

What language is closest to ASL? ›

ASL is most closely related to French Sign Language (LSF). It has been proposed that ASL is a creole language of LSF, although ASL shows features atypical of creole languages, such as agglutinative morphology.

What is the hardest part about learning ASL? ›

One of the challenges people face when learning American sign language (ASL) is that it requires them to stop "thinking straight English" and rely on abstraction and other skills to communicate both dynamically and accurately.

What are the five rules of ASL? ›

In American Sign Language (ASL), we use the 5 Parameters of ASL to describe how a sign behaves within the signer's space. The parameters are handshape, palm orientation, movement, location, and expression/non-manual signals.

Videos

1. The Fastest Way to Learn American Sign Language!
(drunkcrier)
2. Taking Online American Sign Language Classes for Credit
(At The Core LLC)
3. Virtual Sign Language Class
(Newark Public Library)
4. Free Sign Language Classes
(The City of Irving)
5. ICCD Online Sign Language Class- week 1
(ICCD Missions)
6. Can We Follow Directions In Sign Language?
(Good Mythical Morning)

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