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This article compiles the best online courses to learn American Sign Language (ASL). We put together the most reputable and effective options to help you learn ASL from the comfort of your own home. Whatever your language goals, budget, and schedule, you’re sure to find something helpful on this list.
There are more than 500,000 people in the United States that are deaf or hard of hearing. In the past, learning American Sign Language could be challenging due to a lack of resources, but now, there are more ways to learn ASL than ever before. The online courses on this list are a comprehensive way to study because they put together video lessons and written material to help you learn how to communicate in ASL quickly.
American Sign Language, as the name suggests, is only used in the United States. If you travel to another country they use a different type of sign language. Even within certain regions in the United States, there can be variations for some signs.
Sign Language is a visual language and has a unique set of grammar rules just as a spoken language does. While the grammar is somewhat similar to English, there are quite a few differences and it must be studied and practiced. The courses on this list will teach you important signs, but also how to combine those signs into correct phrases and questions.
What Are The Best Courses To Learn American Sign Language?
To find the best online American Sign Language courses, I looked at well-known language programs and recommendations from the deaf community. Next, I examined every course to see if it was useful and determine what it excelled at.
Below is the table of the 7 best online American Sign Language courses and what they are best for. Scroll down to read more about each one.
|Best Overall ASL Course||Start ASL|
|Best Course on a Budget||Rocket Sign Language|
|Best for flexibility||Udemy|
|Best for Families||ASL Deafined|
|Most Entertaining Course||Sign It! ASL|
|Best for Beginners||ASL Meredith|
|Best for Intermediate/Advanced Learners||ASL Connect|
Best Overall ASL Course
Start ASL is a developed platform that features 3 levels of online ASL courses It’s a comprehensive site that puts together all the resources you need to study ASL effectively. You learn the grammar and sentence structure to sign fluently, not just vocabulary. It’s a reputable platform and some high schools and universities accept the Start ASL course for credit
The courses are self-paced so you learn at your own speed. There are video lessons, quizzes to check progress, and much more. The Start ASL platform has quite a few additional resources available for free such as an ASL dictionary, options for live tutoring, and access to the ASL social community.
- 3 levels of courses
- Many resources that make learning interesting
- Possibly earn high school/college credit
There are a few different pricing options. A Silver membership costs $24.95 per month, and a Gold membership costs $49.95 per month. The benefits of a Gold membership include video feedback on your assignments and additional practice material. Both Silver and Gold memberships are cheaper if you buy a longer subscription.
Rocket Sign Language
Best Course on a Budget
Rocket Languages has a developed American Sign Language course that is perfect for complete beginners. The course structure is well-defined and walks you through every step of learning ASL. Each lesson features videos of people signing and detailed explanations of how to combine signs into sentences.
Rocket also includes tons of information on deaf culture, such as how to join a conversation with people who are signing and the importance of signing space. This takes their course a step further than other courses that only teach the signs, but not about the context in which they are used. Learn more about it in this Rocket Sign Language review.
- Detailed lessons that walk you through every step
- Videos that show you how to sign words and phrases
- Learn about deaf culture and the ASL community
- Video flashcards to help you practice
The Rocket Sign Language course costs $99.95, but the price is almost always discounted. This one-time payment gives you lifetime access to the entire course and all the content available. You can test out the first few lessons for free to see if you enjoy learning with Rocket. with a 7-day free trial.
Best for Flexibility
Udemy is a massive online platform that has all types of educational courses and has almost 100 options for ASL courses. Some of the most popular options are “Learn & Master Sign Language” and “First 500+ ASL Signs.” Udemy is the best for flexibility because there are so many options to choose from, and you can study whenever it’s convenient for you.
Each course has a detailed description, including how many hours of video lessons are included and what is covered in each unit. You can also read past student reviews and see how many people have taken the course to make sure you are getting a quality option. Watch a preview video of each course on the Udemy website, or read more about the overall platform in this Udemy review.
- Self-paced video lessons
- See exactly what the course covers.
- 100+ courses to choose from
Each course on Udemy has a different price, but most are relatively inexpensive and cost under $20.00.
Best for Families
ASL Deafined structures its courses for different types of learners: deaf students, family members of deaf children, and people with a special interest in learning ASL. There are over 300 lessons for each of the groups. You also get retention activities, a progress chart, an ASL dictionary, and more.
There are additional features available including access to cultural topics in the blog and grammar tips. You can also access the lessons on the ASL Deafined App. They partner with some local libraries and educational institutions, so you can see if you can access the courses for free. You can sign up for a free 3-day trial to see if ASL Deafined is a good choice for you.
- Course layout determined by your ASL interests
- Access lessons on the app
- Practice activities, dictionary, and more
The ASL Deafined course is very accessible in terms of price. It costs a personal user $36.00 per year to access the online platform and mobile app. There’s a discount for educational users that can access the course for $12.00 per year. You can try ASL Deafined with a 3-day free trial.
Sign It! ASL
Most Entertaining Course
Sign It! ASL is an entertaining course that uses videos to teach you how to sign in an effective and entertaining way. Each lesson has a humorous sketch performed by deaf actors and advocates along with fingerspelling, vocabulary, and sentence practice. There are also quizzes to track your progress and an ASL video dictionary so you can look up words and phrases you are unfamiliar with.
The Sign It! ASL course is self-paced. There are currently 20 lessons available (lessons 21-50 are being developed). It’s extensive because each lesson has about an hour of video content in addition to quizzes and other practice activities. You can try some of the lessons for free and learn more about the course by clicking the button below.
- Entertaining lessons
- Self-paced video lessons
- Tons of additional features
You can get purchase sets of 5 lessons for $49.99, but a better deal is to purchase the entire course for $159.99. Sign It! ASL partners with the Signing Time Foundation and the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management to offer the course for free to families with a child 36 months or younger who has any type of hearing loss. You can apply at MyDeafChild.org.
Best for Beginners
Meredith is an ASL instructor that created a beginner’s course to help people learn sign language online that might not have access to classes because none are available in their area or are too expensive. Her beginner course has 6 modules with 3-5 lessons in each one. There are video lessons, text readings, practice exercises, and quizzes.
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to introduce yourself and have basic conversations with correct ASL grammar. You’ll also learn to fingerspell. Meredith offers free videos on YouTube and posts about her daily life on Instagram, as well.
- Learn the basics correctly
- Learning community on social platforms
You can access the entire course for a one-time payment of $199.00. You can learn more about the course and preview what it covers by clicking the button below.
ASL Connect – Gallaudet University
Best for Intermediate/Advanced Learners
ASL Connect is a program offered by Gallaudet University’s Center for Continuing and Online Education unit. It’s one of the most reputable ASL courses offered and many universities accept this course as a foreign language credit. There are 6 levels that start with the very basics and go through an advanced level.
It’s one of the best options on this list if your goal is to become conversational in ASL or use it on a professional level. The courses are 8 or 15 weeks long. While the majority of the course is self-paced, there are 6 scheduled virtual learning sessions with instructors.
- Self-paced course with live virtual sessions
- Qualified ASL instructors
- Possibility of receiving college credit
To take the course, you must apply beforehand. They offer admission on a rolling basis, but each course is only offered a few times per year with a set start date. Each course costs $990 with a $40 application fee.
Why You Should Take an Online Course To Learn ASL
Online courses are one of the best ways to learn Sign Language because they are comprehensive and compile everything you need in one place. It’s a flexible way to learn because you take lessons on your own schedule. There are many different options available, from self-paced video lessons to live sign language classes, you’re sure to find something that fits your learning goals and budget.
How To Use Online ASL Courses
If you want to learn ASL with an online course, the most effective way is to be consistent in your studying. Dedicating time every day, or at least a few times per week, will help you remember what you previously learned and then build upon it. An online course is also best used alongside other resources such as an ASL app. Using multiple resources is more effective for improving all language skills since each type excels in different areas.
Best Online Courses To Learn Sign Language: Final Thoughts
There are many reasons to learn ASL. Perhaps you have a friend or family member that is deaf. Maybe you want to learn more about the deaf community, or even take ASL for college credit. You’re sure to find a course on this list that can help you achieve your goals. Once you’ve found the best option for you, it’s time to buckle down and practice. Consistent studying is key to seeing improvement. With practice and dedication, you’ll be signing correctly and effectively in no time!
Best Online Courses To Learn ASL: FAQ
Anybody can benefit from an online sign language class! They’re very accessible and easy to use. You can find specific options for deaf learners, children, family members, students, and more. There are also options based on learning styles such as live classes or pre-recorded lessons that you can study at your own pace.
There are many options available for online sign languag classes that can fit any budget. Some courses are completely free, or are free for family members of deaf children. A comprehensive course will range between $100-$200, but if you need a course for college credit, those are more expensive.
You can definitely learn the basics of ASL online. An online course or language app will teach you signs and how to connect them to have complete conversations. If you need to reach a fluent level of ASL, you’ll need to find a way to practice with communicating with another person. There are many social platforms available to connect you with someone else who wants to sign.
One of the fastest ways to learn ASL is to use an app like Rocket Languages or ASL Bloom. They teach the basics in a quick and entertaining way. To get a more thorough knowledge of ASL, you can take an online course. They often have comprehensive video lessons in addition to practice material to help you master the language.