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The Best Sign Language Lessons

Where Can You Find the Best Sign Language Lessons Online?

Maybe you've decided to learn sign language because you have a deaf child, or perhaps there's a new student at your school who is hard of hearing and you'd like to befriend them. Or it could be that you're simply fascinated by this beautiful, expressive language and want to expand your communication skills. Whatever your reason, learning sign language opens up a new realm of possibilities for connection and understanding.

Learning sign language is unlike picking up any spoken language. You're not just memorizing vocabulary and grammar; you're learning to convey and interpret messages through gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Imagine expressing complex emotions or detailed narratives with your hands and face - it's a whole new way of thinking and communicating.

Saturday, June 22nd

2024 Sign Language Lesson Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Start ASL Review 5 Star Rating

Start ASL

5 Star Rating
  • Pricing details: Silver level costs $47 per month, $247 per semester, or $447 per year. Gold level costs $97 per month, $497 per semester, or $997 per year
  • Taught by certified interpreters and native Deaf signers
  • Material meets ACTFL and California World Language Standards
  • Provides high-quality videos, an advanced online classroom, interactive activities, and e-textbooks
  • Offers video feedback on signing assignments for Gold subscribers
  • Shows signs from different angles to aid learning
  • Offers a 30-day, risk-free guarantee
  • Provides a free ASL dictionary with over 2,300 words and phrases
  • Offers separate online one-on-one tutoring
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

When you sign up for Start ASL, you'll be learning from certified interpreters and native Deaf signers. Their material meets ACTFL and California World Language Standards, and they promise you won't need to wonder if the signs you're being taught are accurate like you might when learning from a resource like YouTube. Start ASL is trusted by a long list of academic institutions, and they've been in the game for over a decade and a half.

Free access to main course has been restricted since last review

Previously, Start ASL offered three entire levels of content totally free. That included over 170 video lessons, grammar lessons, and over 1,000 individual phrase and vocabulary videos. Now, though, free access has been limited to ASL 1 and some of the resources on their website, which we'll get into later.

30% discount might stress you out

To enroll in the free ASL 1 Course, you need to enter your name and email. After this, you'll receive a confirmation email that you need to confirm by clicking the "Confirm" link. Once you confirm your subscription, you'll be presented with the opportunity to save 30% on their Complete Online Course. Unfortunately, this offer is only available while on the checkout page to access the free level. Start ASL's stated purpose of the free level is to give you a preview of their full 4-level offering before committing, and we think this time-sensitive incentive kind of defeats that purpose. But, a discount is a discount - you might choose not to look that gift horse in the mouth, and that's okay, too.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Join an interactive community

If you spring for the complete Start ASL online course, you get complete access to ASL levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 at your own pace. You'll have access to high-quality videos, an advanced online classroom, interactive activities, and e-textbooks. You'll become part of a learning community with thousands of students. As a Gold subscriber (we'll get into that in a minute), you'll also receive video feedback on your signing assignments, have access to virtual office hours with an instructor, priority email support, and receive verified completion certificates and grade reports. Throughout these courses, you'll progressively develop your proficiency in American Sign Language and deepen your understanding of Deaf culture. Each course level builds on the last, allowing you to develop a full linguistic approach to communicate appropriately with deaf signers.

Start ASL claims to be able to take you to near-native signing

In ASL 1, you'll learn basics like fingerspelling, numbers, sign parameters, word order, sentence types, pronouns, indexing, classifiers, verbs, and Deaf culture and history. ASL 2 delves into advanced topics to refine your grammar, sentence types, temporal aspects, classifiers, pluralization, distance, inflection, and describing rooms, objects, and locations. ASL 3 teaches you to sign abstract concepts, role shifting, narratives, and communication about various subjects. ASL 4 empowers you to communicate in more native signing with detailed presentations on a wide range of topics. You'll also explore regional sign variations, idioms, interpreting, sign systems, and readings from "Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture'" This journey through Start ASL will equip you with a deep understanding of American Sign Language.

Signing shown from two angles

One thing we really like about Start ASL is that signs are shown from different angles. This helps you figure out how to position your hands and fingers - it shows where the palm is facing, if fingers are bent, the wrist's position, if the thumb touches other fingers, and small movements like wrist rotation or finger spreading. You can also choose the exact playback speed of videos, which is nice.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Gold tier is best for course credit

How much does it cost, though? Start ASL offers two subscription levels for learning American Sign Language. The Silver level, intended for hobbyists and beginners, costs $47 per month, $247 per semester, or $447 per year. As a Silver subscriber, you'll have access to all course materials. The Gold level, best if you're aiming for fluency or earning course credit, costs $97 per month, $497 per semester, or $997 per year. Gold subscribers get the extra perks we mentioned above. We're sad to report that prices have gone up a lot since our last review of Start ASL: a Silver membership used to cost $24.95 a month, while a Gold membership was $49.95.

Money-back guarantee

Start ASL offers a 30-day, risk-free guarantee for their course. If you enroll and find that the course isn't the right fit or you lack the necessary time or motivation, you can request a full refund within the first 30 days.

Free articles, dictionary, and phrasebook

Start ASL has a ton of free resources to help you on your journey to learn sign language. This includes a free ASL dictionary that boasts over 2,300 words and phrases from their complete 4-Level ASL Course in 4k video. If you work through these, you can start engaging in basic sign language conversations sooner than you think. (However, remember to also learn ASL syntax and grammar for proper communication.) Start ASL also offers a collection of videos featuring the top 150 basic sign language words. These words, organized into categories, can help you form an essential base for your vocabulary before you start a course. There's also tons of valuable information to be found by reading their blogs and articles on Deaf culture, Deaf history, and teaching sign language to babies.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Tutoring available

If you're learning ASL and need some personalized help, Start ASL also offers separate online one-on-one tutoring. This can help you get better at signing, receive quick feedback, and prepare for tests. To get started, you just need to download Skype, pick a tutoring session time, and pay. When it's time for your tutoring, you log into Skype and your tutor will start the call.

Start ASL improves relationships between hearing and deaf family members

People who have used Start ASL speak very highly of it. One person said the course is "organized, well-thought out, and fun." They were really impressed by how detailed the course is and liked the videos the most because they could practice reading different signers while learning ASL grammar. Another person said they "love" Start ASL because the coursework is easy to follow and they found the social media content great for learning. A single mom mentioned how Start ASL is affordable and allows her to learn ASL with her daughter. She said the site is "awesome" and was grateful it exists. Lastly, a user shared that the course improved his relationship with his daughter: thanks to Start ASL, they can now chat on video call using sign language.

Still our favorite resource for learning ASL

The last time we reviewed Start ASL, we gave them our highest rating - mostly because of how much you could get for free and the quality of that free content. How do they rank now? They're one of the only services in this review that offers live feedback and tutoring, and their course material is well-organized and easy to follow. The free dictionary is a great resource, too. So while they don't beat some other services on price, you get what you pay for here, and more. That's why Start ASL still earns 5 stars, despite the price increase.

Sign It! Review 4.5 Star Rating

Sign It!

4.5 Star Rating
  • Affordable pricing with lessons 1-20 costing $159.99, and bundles of five priced at $49.99
  • Course made by famous ASL community stars
  • Lessons are kept forever, allowing for self-paced learning
  • 72 hours grace period to decide if satisfied with the purchase
  • Free lessons for families of deaf children under 3 in the US
  • Comprehensive curriculum
  • Engaging and entertaining lesson format
  • ASL Gloss narration over signing for grammar acquisition
  • Free preview of selected lessons available
  • Includes free ASL dictionary with over 1,000 terms
  • Loved by users

Sign It ASL is an online course you can do at your own speed, made by well-known teachers and stars from the ASL community. It's designed for older children, teens, and adults who want to learn American Sign Language. As of the time of this review, the first 20 lessons were ready, and the next 30 were still being funded. By the time you're finished with Sign It!, you'll be able to have basic conversations in sign language.

Star-studded cast of instructors

The Sign It course boasts an impressive line-up of instructors. Keith Wann, an actor and performer, stars in an ASL Children's book app. Rachel Coleman, co-creator of Signing Time, is a strong advocate for accessible communication. Crom Saunders, the Director of Deaf Studies at Columbia College Chicago, loves horror literature. Peter S. Cook, an internationally renowned Deaf performing artist, has performed at the White House. Alexandria Wailes, a Deaf actor, starred in the musical Sleeping Beauty Wakes. Manny Hernandez, or MannyASL, works as a professional ASL storyteller. Maleni Chaitoo, a Deaf actor and activist, wrote her first script when she was just 11. Liam Coleman, a Deaf actor, starred in the Signing Time series. Sean Forbes, a Deaf hip-hop artist, co-founded D-PAN. Ben Jarashow, a Deaf Studies professor, is known for his jellyfish stories. Justin Callaway, featured in a Pepsi Superbowl Commercial, is also known as "Wormy". Finally, Patrick Fischer, with extensive experience in theater and art, provides services for those wanting to learn about theater from the Deaf perspective.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Own your lessons forever

Unlike most online sign language classes, you can keep the Sign It ASL lessons you buy forever. This lets you learn at your own speed and revisit past lessons whenever you want. If you're using a license for a school site, each user can access the course for a year from when you buy it. The pricing breakdown is as follows:

  • All lessons together (1-20) cost $159.99
  • Bundles of five are each priced at $49.99
  • Group access is available for $349.99

Only 72 hours to make up your mind

Sign It ASL gives you a short period of 72 hours, or three days, to decide if you're happy with your purchase. This time is shorter than the month most other sites give. If you'd like to request your money back, send an email to signit@signitasl.com. Just write "Sign It ASL Refund" in the subject line.

Free lessons for families of deaf children under 3

Good news! If you live in the US and have a child under 3 years old with hearing loss, you can get the Sign It ASL course for free. This is possible because of donations made to the Signing Time Foundation and their partners at NCHAM. Navigate to the FAQ page to find more information about applying.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Get a strong foundation

In lessons 1-5, you'll learn about words, spelling with your fingers, grammar, and special signs. The first lessons talk about how to introduce yourself, family, feelings, jobs, and school. In lessons 6-10, you'll learn more about ASL, studying topics like neighbors, food, numbers, time, and how to get around. Moving on to lessons 11-15, you'll keep learning ASL, studying things like the USA and other countries, government, holidays, and money. Finally, in lessons 16-20, you'll watch fun videos and practice signing. You'll take quizzes and tests to see how much you've learned. In these lessons, you'll study topics like clothes, how to describe how someone looks, hobbies, colors, and religion. Once you complete the Sign It ASL course, you'll be able to have simple conversations about these topics in sign language.

Lessons are entertaining

In the first lesson, we watched an introduction video signed and spoken by Rachel Coleman in ASL Gloss. We then met comedian Keith, who shared that he dislikes peanuts but loves peanut butter. He also told a story about how his dog went missing when he was 7, but the dog returned when he was 8. As we progressed, we learned tidbits about Deaf culture. For instance, it's typical to describe someone's family, occupation, and education as their "A to Z". We then met Rachel's friends, the rest of the crew, and learned their "A to Z". The videos autoplay, making it easy to become engrossed. Afterward, a few of the signs featured in the video were shown one by one. Finally, we were quizzed on them. It's hard to get bored with this format. The videos can also be sped up and slowed down.

Try lessons for free

You can get a taste of the Sign It course through their free preview offering. This includes access to select modules from lessons 1, 2, and 10. To start, you just need to visit the page of a lesson, click the "Free Preview" button, and then you'll be able to access them by clicking on "My Dashboard" in the menu on the website.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Free video dictionary

Sign It also includes access to a free ASL dictionary, whether you buy the course or not. This dictionary features videos of more than 1,000 vocabulary terms taught in the course. It's a helpful tool for learning and practicing American Sign Language. You do need to give them your name and email, though.

Glowing testimonials

The beauty of having such a diverse cast is that it keeps things fun and lively. Plus, it allows you to experience a range of signing styles. This way, you'll see that there's no one "right" way to sign, and that's perfectly okay. Students find the lessons to be easy to follow, entertaining, and engaging. The ASL Gloss translations, spoken aloud over the signing, are really appreciated by users, who say it's helped them grasp the grammar intuitively.

Strong contender

We're big fans of Sign It ASL. The videos are engaging and the cast is not only talented but they also clearly love what they do. We find the course to be affordable, especially when considering that you get to keep it for life, unlike other services that require a monthly or yearly payment. The only reason Sign It ASL doesn't earn the top spot is that we've been waiting for the final lessons to be funded since our last review, and the most advanced course they currently offer doesn't take you as far as the top-rated platform on our list. However, if you enjoy their lessons and want to donate to help make the more advanced lessons possible, you can do so on the site. Sign It ASL is a strong contender for sign language lessons.

Sign Language 101 Review 4.5 Star Rating

Sign Language 101

4.5 Star Rating
  • Pricing: Individual courses at $49.99 each, bundle options at discounted prices
  • Founded by Dr. Byron W. Bridges, a respected figure in Deaf Studies and ASL education
  • Courses are IACET accredited
  • Free videos covering basic vocabulary and complex elements of sign language
  • Paid courses offer HD videos, quizzes, and activity worksheets
  • Self-guided courses that allow learners to move at their own pace
  • ASL courses for children, taught by deaf actress Sandra Mae Frank
  • Active on various social media platforms, posting relevant vocabulary and occasional discount codes
  • 30-day refund policy if not satisfied with the course

Dr. Byron W. Bridges, a Deaf individual from a Deaf family who has used American Sign Language his entire life, is a respected figure in Deaf Studies and ASL education with degrees from California State University of Northridge, Gallaudet University, and Lamar University. Having over 30 years of experience, he co-founded Sign Language 101 with his son in 2013. His fun teaching style and charisma makes learning ASL really enjoyable - he reminds us a bit of Tom Hanks. It looks like his energy spreads because the other signers on this platform's social media channels are also fun to watch. The platform, initiated with a free course, has grown into a major online ASL hub, offering multiple levels of courses, ASL workbooks, the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units, and even the first ASL course for children, thus reaching hundreds of thousands of learners globally.

IACET accredited

You'll be glad to know that the sign language lessons you're considering at Sign Language 101 are accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). This accreditation is like a gold seal of approval: it means the courses are top-notch in terms of what you'll learn, how you'll learn it, and what you achieve. It's a promise that you'll be learning the very best the industry has to offer, and your teachers will be pros in their field.

What's in the free videos?

Under the Free Videos tab, you'll find a total of 10 video lessons that cover topics from basic vocabulary to more complex elements of sign language. These lessons will teach you about common words, numbers, colors, pronouns, how to read signs, hand shapes, signing speed, and more. The lessons also touch on specific topics like hobbies, people, body parts, and calendar words.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Paid course access expires after 1 year

In contrast, the paid ASL courses include all new HD video, quizzes, and activity worksheets to extend your learning. By doing the paid courses, you can track your progress across multiple devices and even earn a certificate of completion. The courses are self-guided, meaning you can start whenever you're ready, immediately after you've enrolled and registered. There's no set start or end date, so you can move at your own pace. But be aware - once you've purchased a course, you'll have access to it for only one year. (As far as we can tell, this is a recent change.) They recommend that you complete each level in a minimum of 5 weeks to give yourself enough time to practice between lessons.

$50 each or $90 for total access

There are three pricing options for learning ASL with Sign Language 101. Each option gives you different benefits, so let's break them down:

  • ASL Essentials Bundle ($89.99): This is a great starting point for committed newbies to ASL. This bundle combines two courses of 5 lessons each, Levels 1A & 1B, for a lower price than if you bought them separately. You'll learn the basics of ASL, including facial expressions, body language, numbers, colors, everyday signs, and more. It's a thorough introduction to ASL that can get you signing in no time.
  • Complete Course Bundle ($149.97): If you're serious about learning ASL, the complete bundle of 20 lessons is the best value. It includes all the content available on the platform, covering a wide variety of topics. You'll not only learn the basics but also dive deeper into more advanced topics. Just remember - your access expires after a year, so you'll need to stick to a schedule to get the most use out of all the lessons in this bundle.
  • Individual Courses ($49.99 each): Finally, if you want to take one course at a time, you can do that too. In order, they are: Getting Started with ASL, Building on the Basics of ASL, Elevating your Signing Skills, and Refining your ASL Skills. Each course contains 5 lessons.

We also spotted a pop-up advertising 15% off when you sign up for their mailing list.

ASL for kids

Sign Language 101 has two courses for kids: "Discovering Sign Language" and "Going Beyond the Basics". These are priced $49.99 each, and, just like the price structure for the adult courses, you can also get the bundle for $89.99. These lessons are taught by deaf actress Sandra Mae Frank, known for her roles in Broadway and TV shows like NBC's New Amsterdam. She uses clear signing and a lively teaching style that are loved by kids and parents alike.

Best Sign Language Lessons

30 days to get a refund

If you're not happy with your Sign Language 101 course, you can get your money back. But, there are three caveats. First, you can't have finished more than half of the course. Second, you can't have asked for a refund for this course before. And, you have to ask for the refund within 30 days of buying the course. Makes sense!

Active on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube

We suggest you follow Sign Language 101 on social media, because they're always posting vocabulary relevant to current events. You can even find discount codes sometimes - we spotted a 30% discount on all courses over a recent holiday.

Highly rated by TopConsumerReviews

While it's hard to find student feedback on Sign Language 101, you don't need to rely on reviews when you can see for yourself - the site offers tons of free content for you to explore before deciding on a paid course. While we wish the paid lessons didn't expire after a year, we still think Sign Language 101 is an excellent resource for learners of all ages.

Lingvano Review 4 Star Rating

Lingvano

4 Star Rating
  • Pricing: $120 annually, $47.97 every 3 months, or $17.99 monthly
  • Exclusively teaches ASL, BSL, and OEGS
  • No ads or data selling, completely financed by subscribers
  • Provides literal English translations for ASL phrases
  • Offers option to slow down video playback
  • Course split into 102 lessons grouped into 8 sections
  • Offers a dictionary, Vocab Trainer, and Sign Mirror with Premium account
  • Subscription fee contributes to employing deaf signers
  • High user satisfaction with a 4.7-star rating on Google Play
  • Regularly adds new content to the platform

Lingvano is a language learning platform that exclusively teaches sign languages, as opposed to offering it as one course among a dozen or so vocal-aural languages. That means their ASL platform is built for ASL specifically, including an ASL dictionary and a "sign mirror" . Their mission is to build bridges between deaf and hearing people. While the team is made up of both deaf and hearing people, all of the teachers that you'll see in their videos are deaf.

Teaches BSL and OEGS

In addition to ASL, one of the most widely used sign languages in the world, Lingvano offers British Sign Language (BSL) and even Austrian Sign Language (OEGS). We really love this about Lingvano - most of the other sign language lesson platforms featured in this review only teach ASL.

Create a free account to get started

Lingvano doesn't run ads or sell your data, so they're financed completely by their subscribers. Generously, they still have some free lessons for you to try out. All you need to do is create an account. We recommend doing this anyway, because it's hard to get a feel for how the lessons are set up otherwise - Lingvano doesn't include demos or screenshots of their course interface on the website.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Literal English translations are useful

Once you've created your Lingvano account and selected the sign language you want to learn, you'll jump right in with your first lesson. You'll be shown videos of basic words and phrases and asked to fill in missing words and match the signs with their translations. ASL has its own syntax, so we appreciated that the literal English translation of phrases accompanies the ASL. For example, "How are you?" becomes "How you?" We also liked that very early on, Lingvano mentions the different ways people might form the same sign, and shows you how two different signers sign the word "How."

Option to slow down playback

If you feel like the signing is too fast, you can click the turtle button at the top of your screen near the progress bar. We tested this, and although it did slow things down a bit, it might still be too fast for some users. A better option would be to allow users to set their own playback speed, rather than just toggling between two speeds.

102 lessons

The Lingvano ASL course is split into 102 lessons grouped into 8 sections. In the first 10 lessons, you'll learn how to start a conversation, the basics of ASL, how to use possessive pronouns, key phrases, the alphabet, and how to describe things. The sections are as follows: Hello and Welcome, Day-to-Day Life, You and Me, Travelling, Exploring the World, Celebrations, Going Out, and Using Sign at Work.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Dictionary, Vocab Trainer, and Sign Mirror with Premium account

With a Premium account, you get to enjoy some pretty cool features. Lingvano's Vocab Trainer uses AI to customize a vocabulary set just for you. You can choose to focus on vocabulary, fingerspelling, or numbers and see your skills improve as the system adjusts your training based on your performance. The platform also includes a dictionary where you can search for a word or pick from a list of the most searched words - just click the video playback symbol next to each word to watch the sign. You can test the dictionary with 2-3 free signs before being prompted to upgrade. Another fun feature is the mirror: it supposedly gives you real-time feedback on how your signing looks to others by pulling up your webcam next to the video of the sign you're watching, but this feature didn't come up when we went through the free lessons. If you're using Premium and it's still not working, you might need to allow the app or website to access your camera in your settings.

Billed $120 annually, $47.97 every 3 months, or $17.99 monthly

The cost of Lingvano depends on the course you choose and where you live due to currency and tax differences. The exact prices are only visible when you log into your account. When we signed into our account with a US location, the pricing options were as follows: $17.99 billed every month, or billed every three months at a rate of $15.99 per month, which totals to $47.97. There's also an annual payment option where you pay $9.99 per month, adding up to $119.88 for the year.

Your subscription fee pays deaf salaries

$120 annually might sound high, but Lingvano puts a lot of work into making your learning experience the best it can be. They have a team of learning psychologists, developers, and deaf signers who contribute to the platform. These deaf signers not only enjoy their work at Lingvano, but it also gives them a job opportunity they might not find elsewhere. The fees you pay allow Lingvano to keep making the learning experience better for you, by adding new features and lessons. So while they can't provide the service for free, they're doing their best to give you great value for your money. If you buy Premium and aren't happy with it, you have 20 days to get your money back (unless you've previously participated in a 7-day trial).

Best Sign Language Lessons

Users love it

What are people saying about Lingvano? A 4.7 star rating average on Google Play from over 40,000 reviews speaks volumes. Users, from first-time learners to certified ASL interpreters, are impressed with the quality of the information, the step-by-step progression, and the effectiveness of the review tools. It seems that the developers respond promptly to complaints about technical issues, too. If it weren't for the number of reviews complaining about the app not being free, Lingvano might have a higher score.

Great choice for committed sign language learners

We're impressed with Lingvano. While the consensus among ASL speakers is that an app can't replace in-person classes and immersion in the Deaf community, Lingvano is the second-best thing. The app does everything it's supposed to do and it's clear that a lot of time and thought has been invested into it. We love that they employ deaf people, which makes your subscription fee feel well spent. Lingvano is always adding new content, too. Even though $120 a year might seem high, we think it's worth it if you're really committed to learning sign language. Give the free version a try and see if it suits your learning style first.

ASL Deafined Review 4 Star Rating

ASL Deafined

4 Star Rating
  • Pricing: $36 annually, $12 for members of educational institutions
  • Designed for everyone: deaf students, parents with deaf children, and the larger community
  • Lessons are taught by Deaf experts
  • Offers a free 3-day trial with a "second chance" option
  • More than 300 lessons and different review activities available
  • Includes a video dictionary with over 18,000 words
  • Allows users to track their learning progress and mark favorite pages
  • Good technical support, as per client testimonials
  • Well-received mobile app available on both iOS and Google Play

ASL Deafined is a subscription-based platform offering American Sign Language video lessons for all ages. As a user, you'll be learning ASL from Deaf experts who believe that the best way to learn is from a deaf person. This platform isn't exclusive to a particular group or age; it's designed for everyone, including deaf students, parents with deaf children, and the larger community. So, whether you're a student, a parent, or just interested in ASL, the goal of ASL Deafined is to present sign language in a way that's easy for you to learn.

$36 annually

If you're affiliated with an educational institution, you can subscribe to ASL Deafined for only $12 per year. If not, the subscription costs $36 annually. With this subscription, you also gain access to their app without any extra charge, and it's available on both iOS and Google Play. If at any point you're unhappy with the service, you can simply email them and they'll refund your money.

3-day free trial with second chance

When you register for ASL Deafined, you'll get a free 3-day trial. During the registration process, you'll be asked about your current ASL proficiency and what type of user you are - are you a community/ASL student, a parent of a deaf child, or a deaf/hard of hearing student? What's really cool about ASL Deafined is that they offer a "second chance" for a free trial. All you need to do is provide your email again. We think this gesture really shows their commitment to helping you learn ASL.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Extensive features

In addition to videos taught by Deaf experts, ASL Deafined has more than 300 lessons and different review activities to help you remember what you learned. There's also a video dictionary over 18,000 words - including some of their variations. You can track your learning progress, save words you want to remember, and mark your favorite pages on the website.

May feel cluttered

The website offers a lot of content, with six pages of results for Beginner lesson topics alone. That's not to mention what you'll find in Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced Plus. However, its organization might feel a bit overwhelming. Quizzes are mixed in with lessons, and the cover images for each lesson and quiz vary in style, which can be visually chaotic. For a less cluttered view, you can go to the Lesson List tab, which simply presents a neat list of clickable links.

Annoying popup

Ideally, we think language learning platforms should let you move from one lesson to the next in a clear pathway customized to your progress. Here, though, you need to close the lesson you're on and return to the dashboard, then choose your next lesson. Annoyingly, every time you go back to the dashboard, a popup appears detailing the features of ASL Deafined. (Hopefully this stops happening after you upgrade your account.)

Best Sign Language Lessons

No lessons on past tense at time of review

We did notice a lesson topic or two were strangely empty. We were curious about how to talk about something happening in the past in ASL, so we typed "tense" into the search bar, which brought up the "Tense Markers" lesson topic. However, it was tagged "Coming Soon" and there were no videos, text-based lessons, or quizzes inside. We found this surprising - we'd have thought that an understanding of how to sign in the past tense would be necessary to understand some of the more advanced topics hosted on the site: not to be morbid, but take "Obituary" for example.

Affordable and well-liked

According to their client testimonials tab, ASL Deafined's technical support is great, kids find it engaging, parents find it easy to monitor progress, and ASL students find it a great resource for home study. The app has good reviews, too. We think the price is great for all the information you get, although we still think the website could be organized a little better so as not to overwhelm a new user. But, once you've got the hang of the site layout, it could prove to be an invaluable resource in learning ASL.

Rocket Languages Review 3.5 Star Rating

Rocket Languages

3.5 Star Rating
  • $60 one-time fee
  • Offers unlimited free trial for all languages
  • Provides in-depth lessons across 7 modules
  • Lessons include both video- and text-based content
  • Vocabulary taught in context with relevant videos
  • Course material gets updated occasionally
  • 60-day money-back guarantee if not satisfied

We often highlight Rocket Languages because they offer thorough lessons that you only need to pay for once - there's no subscription model involved. They offer more than 12 different languages to learners all over the globe, including ASL. Keep reading to see how Rocket Sign Language stacks up against other ASL lessons.

Free trial on all languages

We suggest you start by making a free account with Rocket Languages. This lets you access a sampling of lessons in all languages they offer, even ASL. This way, you can see if their teaching style works for you and if you enjoy it.

7 modules

Rocket Languages offers just 1 level of ASL, containing 7 modules. Module 1 covers basics, the Deaf community, the alphabet, and basic conversation. Module 2 focuses on signing space, fingerspelling, non-manual markers, and practical skills. Module 3 expands on sentence structure, questions, jobs, feelings, and colors. Module 4 tackles complex sentences, negation, plurals, family, socializing, and travel. Module 5 explores ASL inflections, directional verbs, classifiers, clothes, health, and school. Module 6 introduces conjunctions, interjections, rhetorical questions, and topics like food and shopping. Module 7 delves into comparisons, pronouns, ASL idioms, slang, weather, hobbies, and religion. After these modules, you'll be knowledgeable in basic, practical ASL use.

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Lessons are thorough

We're fans of Rocket Languages because of how thorough and detailed their lessons are. Rather than just throwing you into a video lesson and hoping you grasp it, each module contains plenty of thoughtfully written text-based lessons. These lessons explain the culture, etiquette, and history of the language you're learning. ASL is no different. In the first lesson, we enjoyed learning about the three different types of sign names. In the Deaf community, you might have a sign name to avoid constantly fingerspelling your name. There are two main types: arbitrary and descriptive. Arbitrary signs relate to your written name, typically using the first or last letter placed on your chest or shoulder. Descriptive signs, however, are linked to your physical features, personality traits, hobbies, or interests. It's customary for a deaf person to assign you a descriptive sign name.

Vocabulary is taught in context

As you progress through the written lessons, you'll encounter contextually relevant videos of ASL phrases, followed by individual videos of each word used. You can slow the videos down to .5x speed, too. At the end of the lesson, you'll review the videos and match them with their correct translations.

No need to subscribe

The nice thing about Rocket Languages is that once you've bought a course, you have access to it for life. That means you won't sit up in bed one night five years from now and remember how much money you wasted on that subscription you bought and never used. It's just a one-time fee of $99.95, or $59.95.

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Could stand to be updated more often

Rocket Languages updates their courses every once in a while. The last update of the ASL course was about 2 years ago from the time of this review. We do wish the updates happened a little more frequently, because ASL is always changing, and new signs emerge that reflect current events.

60 days to decide

You're the best judge of how well Rocket Sign Language suits your learning style. There aren't many reviews from others, but most rate the ASL lessons with five stars. Don't worry about making a mistake; you have 60 days after buying to ask for your money back if you decide it's not right for you.

Not a bad choice

In general, Rocket Sign Language is a great choice if you don't like costly subscriptions or automatic renewals. If you prefer paying once, this might be the best choice for you. It may not have all the fancy features of some sign language platforms, but Rocket's lessons are comprehensive, easy to understand, and provide a good start to learning sign language.

Gallaudet University Review 3 Star Rating

Gallaudet University

3 Star Rating
  • $990 per course
  • Bilingual institution offering instruction in both English and American Sign Language established in 1864
  • Virtual campus for remote, asynchronous learning
  • Credits earned from its courses may be transferable
  • Comprehensive curriculum from beginner to advanced levels
  • Courses cover diverse aspects of Deaf culture and community
  • Courses include interaction with language mentors and participation in online social events
  • Offers a summer residency program for immersive learning

Gallaudet University, established in 1864 with the backing of President Abraham Lincoln, is a bilingual institution for both deaf and hearing students, offering instruction in both English and American Sign Language. The university is based in Washington, D.C., but also offers a virtual campus to extend its reach.

Credits may be transferable

At the time of our last review, Gallaudet University used to offer a resource called "ASL for Free" , but it seems to have been phased out. Now, all you'll find is ASL Connect, which is part of the university's Center for Continuing and Online Education unit. If your school authorizes it, the credits earned in this course may be transferable.

No preview of online interface

The beginning courses (ASL 1-4) are asynchronous, while the later courses (ASL 5-6) are not. Unfortunately, Gallaudet doesn't provide any examples of what the online classroom looks like. This could be a problem because when you're learning a visual language online, you may want to know things like whether you can slow down videos.

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ASL 1 is an introduction to ASL history and basic topics

ASL 1 is your gateway to American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. You'll start by learning how to interact with the Deaf community, such as getting someone's attention and understanding Deaf-friendly spaces. You'll learn how to introduce yourself using topics like family, work, school, and important events. The course will teach you the basics of ASL, like hand movements, spelling with your fingers, and using your face to express feelings and grammar. You'll learn about ASL's unique structure and its history. The course ends by helping you understand the challenges deaf people face in education and work, and how learning ASL can help level the playing field. It's either 8 or 15 weeks long and includes 6 Scheduled Virtual Language Sessions with an Instructor or with Teaching Assistants.

ASL 2-4 enrich your knowledge of Deaf community and culture

In ASL 2, you'll deepen your connection with the Deaf community by learning about Deaf spaces and etiquette, expanding your vocabulary, and understanding the importance of semantics in ASL. You'll also learn about Deaf culture's cherished folklore. In ASL 3, you'll dive deeper into the diverse Deaf community and its unique culture and language. You'll learn how to host a gathering and describe your surroundings, including the unique structure of Deaf-friendly homes. In ASL 4, you'll learn to express concepts about careers, finance, health, and travel. You'll understand how deaf people access employment and services and how they navigate emergencies and travels, highlighting their unique communication abilities.

ASL 5 and 6 strengthen your narrative abilities and accessibility sensitivities

By ASL 5, you're ready to take your skills to the next level by learning to tell longer stories, also known as "narratives". You'll dive into the history of ASL and discover how it was preserved by brave individuals from the Deaf community. ASL 5 also gets into mouth morphemes - did you know a sign can mean two different things depending on how the mouth moves? Finally, in ASL 6, you'll delve deeper into the unique aspects of Deaf culture, known as a "collective community". Your foundation in the language will help you tackle specialized topics prevalent in the Deaf community. You'll enhance your narratives by adding cinematic features, and apply these strategies to various topics like the human body, medical procedures, sports, and animals. Lastly, you'll learn how to ensure sporting events and performances are accessible to individuals with different sensory needs.

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Paid immersion and social opportunities

ASL Connect courses also provide chances to interact with language mentors and participate in online social events, and even attend a summer residency program, but these come with extra costs.

$990 per course

Each course you take is worth 3 credits and these credits cost $990. There's also an application fee of $40 per session, but it's not entirely clear what this means. There are Virtual Immersion activities, or sessions, where you can immerse yourself in ASL, but these already cost between $50 and $100. So, charging $40 just to apply seems a bit confusing. It might mean that the application fee is for each individual course you take.

Too expensive for most

While Gallaudet University offers an impressive curriculum for learning American Sign Language, the high cost makes it near impossible for most people to afford. If you have the budget, we're sure Gallaudet could give you an incredible education in ASL, but sadly, it's not an option for everyone. Additionally, they've discontinued their free ASL resource, which is disappointing. For these reasons, we can only give Gallaudet University an average score for its sign language lessons.

The ASL App Review 2.5 Star Rating

The ASL App

2.5 Star Rating
  • One-time payment of $9.99 for full access
  • iOS or Android app
  • Designed by native ASL users
  • Offers over 1,800 videos for learning
  • Provides free content including ABCs, numbers, and colors
  • Allows for search of specific words or phrases
  • Designed for on-the-go, everyday conversations
  • Shortlisted for a Webby Award in 2021

DeafDigits Inc is a creative team that's made up of third-generation deaf people who are native users of American Sign Language. They've designed The ASL App, an educational tool that teaches you how to use ASL in on-the-go, everyday conversations. Their approach to teaching is based on how you would naturally learn from deaf people, believing that deaf people should be the ones teaching sign language. They also make other sign language apps and have a collection of them available on the App Store.

Free and paid content

The ASL App has over 1800 videos available for you to explore. It offers 28 categories or "bundles" of signs, covering topics from dining to sports to holidays, and more. You get to learn individual signs, as well as how to use them in everyday conversations. You can easily search for specific words or phrases you want to learn, and the app will show you the relevant videos. It offers free content like ABCs, numbers, universal gestures, handshape exercises, and colors. There are also paid categories, like pop culture and social media, but be aware that these might be outdated if the app hasn't been updated recently.

Incorrect, the grammar is

In The ASL App, some users have noted that the grammar doesn't follow the typical structure used in the Deaf community. For instance, when signing the question "What is your name?", the app uses a sentence structure that's more similar to spoken English than ASL. In ASL, the proper way to sign this would be more like "Name, your what?", which follows an object-subject-verb order. But, in the video, it's signed, "What is your name?" One user quips, "To a deaf individual, it would be as if Yoda were talking to them." Others have pointed out that some basic signs are incorrect, making them wonder if this app really was created by deaf people as claimed.

The app has issues

The ASL App has a few issues. It's got a 3.5-star rating on the App Store and 3.6 on Google Play Store, with about as many 1-star reviews as 5-star reviews. The app often crashes and its content isn't well-arranged. For example, the alphabet section doesn't allow users to practice individual letters and there's no pause button. The topic sections have navigation issues too, as there's no list of all phrases.

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Some videos never load

There's a slow playback mode, but it's not clear that you need to click the turtle button to replay a slow-mode video. Also, some important videos, like those in the free gestures section, are often missing or unavailable. Don't expect these issues to be resolved if you shell out the one-time payment of $9.99, either - paid users have the same problems with the app.

Nobody's home

In 2021, The ASL App had the honor of being shortlisted for a Webby Award, a prestigious recognition that celebrates the finest contributions to the internet. They were chosen as part of the top 10% from a pool of 13,500 contenders. However, there are some concerns about the level of support you might receive with this app on any platform. The ASL App's social media presence suggests that the company went silent after receiving their Webby Award: their Facebook page hasn't been updated, their YouTube link doesn't work, and their Instagram and Twitter accounts show minimal activity and infrequent updates. We haven't seen follow-ups to complaints in the App Store reviews since right after the app was launched.

Use the free version first

Based on all of these experiences, we'd recommend that you only use the free content on The ASL App to start with. Try it out for a few weeks or more and see if you run into any of the issues others have reported. This way, you'll get a good feel for how the app works and if it suits your needs. Keep in mind, while $9.99 seems like a small price (especially compared to other sign language lessons that charge monthly), it's important to make sure the app works well before you decide to pay for full access.

Udemy Review 2 Star Rating

Udemy

2 Star Rating
  • Pricing: $20/month for Personal plan or purchase courses a la carte
  • Personal plan offers access to 11,000+ top courses
  • User-friendly search function that allows for easy sorting and filtering by user ratings, video duration, features, price
  • Over 8,000 results for American Sign Language
  • Provides detailed course descriptions, including information about the instructors
  • Offers high-rated ASL courses, such as the "First 500+ Basic Signs" course by Abe Lingo ASL, which has an average 4.8/5 star rating.

Udemy, like at least one other platform in our review, is an online learning marketplace. Here you can learn pretty much any skill - it's popular for learning programming, digital art, and even yoga. A search on "American Sign Language" brings up over 8,000 results.

Top ASL course teaches you 500 signs

Udemy's search function lets you filter and sort by user ratings, video duration, features (like whether the course has subtitles, quizzes, and practice tests), price, and more. The top result for ASL lessons is the "First 500+ Basic Signs" course by Abe Lingo ASL, with an average 4.8/5 star rating from over 1,000 reviews. Details about the instructor can be found within the course description. For example, Abe Lingo is taught by an instructor named Michael. When Michael was three, his brother became deaf following spinal meningitis. The family learned American Sign Language, kept his brother at home, and engaged with the Deaf community. As a police officer and federal investigator, Michael frequently used ASL, which inspired him to create accessible ASL courses. He views language learning, including ASL, as a mind-broadening experience that connects you with new communities. Michael's students say his signing is "engaging and clear" , and that it's evident how much he loves what he does.

Udemy plan doesn't include ASL courses

Udemy pricing is not as straightforward as its closest rival platform. Here, you'll notice you can purchase a course outright - there's an "add to cart" button on each course's page. But if you're looking closely, you might also notice the "Plans & Pricing" button at the top of your screen. With a Personal plan, you pay Udemy $20 per month and gain "access to 11,000+ top courses" , as well as a couple of other meager perks, like personalized recommendations and coding exercises. What counts as a "top course" ? Udemy makes it hard to tell, but it's not the best-rated sign language lessons on the platform. (One Reddit user advises you to take a look at how many user ratings a course has. If it's fewer than 10,000, it's not likely to be considered a top course.) So how much will you pay a la carte for ASL lessons hosted on Udemy? That Abe Lingo course costs $99.99.

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An "F" from the BBB gives us pause

If you're not happy with a course you purchased from Udemy, according to their return policy, you have 30 days to ask for your money back. However, when we turned to independent review platforms, we found another story: according to one user, refunds are "non-existent" . Even though a refund was requested 3 days after purchasing a course (due to a strong accent that was difficult to understand), the customer was issued a credit instead of the money they paid. This kind of complaint is common, and has led to an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau.

Video player can be choppy

Another common complaint is that the video player doesn't work well. It apparently stops and starts sporadically - an absolute non-starter when learning a visual language like ASL, which depends upon your ability to consistently observe and mimic hand movements and facial expressions with fluidity.

Your sign to look somewhere else

We recommend steering clear of Udemy. Numerous complaints target every aspect of their service. Issues range from poor customer service to random account deletions. There's also a high number of reports suggesting poor quality control, which might explain why there are over 8,000 results for American Sign Language. The good news is, if you had your heart set on the Abe Lingo course, it's likely available on other platforms. Most top-quality courses that Udemy hosts can be purchased elsewhere.

Skillshare Review 2 Star Rating

Skillshare

2 Star Rating
  • Between $8.25 and $29 a month
  • Over 30 sign language courses available
  • Some courses provided by certified educators
  • Subscription-based model gives access to all Skillshare courses
  • Access to courses at your own pace

Skillshare is an online learning platform where you can explore thousands of courses across a wide variety of topics, from creative arts like painting and writing to technical subjects like coding and web design. Think of it as your personal classroom on the internet, where experts and professionals share their knowledge through video lessons, giving you the chance to learn new skills or improve existing ones at your own pace.

Over 30 sign language courses

It's pretty easy to see what Skillshare offers for American Sign Language classes. Our search brought up 31 different courses, which you can sort by number of students. The most popular course, with over 22,000 learners, is called American Sign Language Level 1, provided by Intellezy. You'll also find courses like First 500+ Basic Signs, Business Signs, and Fingerspelling.

Courses from certified ASL educators

By clicking on a course, you can get some more information about the topics covered, the total number of lessons, the video runtime, and the background of the course provider. Meredith Rathbone of Learn How to Sign, for example, is "YouTube's Most Watched ASL Teacher" and has a Master in Education specializing in Deaf Education and is nationally certified as an educational interpreter.

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Could do with more feedback from users

Many of these courses include a few handpicked testimonials from other learners on Skillshare, but we would have appreciated it if Skillshare had a built-in section for reading all reviews from learners to get a more balanced impression of the course quality. But, if you choose a course and end up not liking it, you won't be out any extra money - your subscription gives you access to everything Skillshare has to offer.

$30 a month, or $100 a year

We wish it was easier to see how much Skillshare costs, though. To get an idea of pricing in your region, you'll need to make an account. Once we did this, we were offered two pricing structures of $8.25/month billed at $99 annually, or $29/month billed monthly. That's really expensive if you're only intending to use Skillshare for sign language lessons. You would probably want to consider taking another course about one of your other interests to make the cost worth it.

Shady business practices = avoid Skillshare

Regrettably, Skillshare's rating with the Better Business Bureau remains at a low "F", the same as our previous review. This seems to be due to shady practices such as automatic renewal of trial memberships and a website that inexplicably fails to process user requests to cancel before the renewal cut-off. Skillshare has left about 80% of these complaints against them unanswered. We don't think Skillshare is worth the potential headache and drain on your wallet - try one of the better sign language courses in our review.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Also, keep in mind that sign language is not universal; each country, and sometimes regions within countries, has its own sign language with distinct rules and grammar. This means that learning American Sign Language won't necessarily enable you to communicate with someone who uses British Sign Language (BSL), for example.

Online sign language lessons have surged in popularity over the years. This can be attributed to several reasons that make these lessons an attractive option for a diverse range of learners. But one of the main reasons for the popularity of online sign language lessons is the unparalleled convenience they offer.

Sign language learners can access courses over the internet from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for physical attendance at specific locations. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for people with busy schedules, letting them learn at their own pace and at times that suit their personal and professional commitments.

Another reason why online sign language lessons are so popular is they can provide a wealth of resources and interactive tools that enhance the learning experience. These can include video tutorials, live classes, interactive exercises, and community forums, all designed to foster a deeper understanding and proficiency in sign language.

The multimedia approach of online sign language lessons caters to different learning styles, ensuring that both visual and auditory learners can all benefit from the courses. High-quality video demonstrations by native signers help learners grasp the nuances of signs, facial expressions, and body language, which are crucial aspects of effective communication in sign language.

If you're considering online sign language lessons, you'll find them a flexible, accessible way to learn. Maybe your schedule is packed, and you need to fit lessons in between other commitments. Or you live in a place without a strong Deaf or hard-of-hearing community to practice with. Online lessons offer the chance to learn from the comfort of your home, with resources like video tutorials that show you exactly how to form each sign, and interactive courses that provide feedback on your signing skills.

When you're choosing an online sign language course, keep these points in mind:

  • Content quality and relevance. You'll want a course that covers everything from the basics to more advanced conversations. For example, if you're learning sign language to communicate with a deaf child, look for lessons that include signs for family, emotions, and daily routines.
  • Interactive learning tools. Opt for courses that make learning fun and effective with quizzes, games, or even a virtual practice buddy. This can help you practice signing in real-time, which is crucial for building your confidence.
  • Feedback and support. It can be helpful to have access to personalized feedback on your signing. Some platforms may offer video assessments or allow you to connect with experienced signers for advice.
  • Flexibility and accessibility. Whether you prefer learning late at night or during your morning commute, the best online lessons work with your schedule and are accessible on various devices.

Top Consumer Reviews has taken a close look at the available options and ranked the best sign language lessons to help you on your way. Whether you're just starting or looking to deepen your knowledge, we hope this guide aids you in finding the perfect sign language lessons to fit your life and learning goals.

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Sign Language Lesson FAQ

According to the Communication Service for the Deaf, around one million people use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary means of communication in the US and Canada. There are also approximately 16,000 people in the US who serve as interpreters with sign language.
Yes, because there is no universal sign language. Even among countries where the same spoken language is used (like Australia, England, and the United States), sign language users from different nations may not understand each other. There are also three different primary forms of sign language within the US: ASL, Pidgin Signed English, and Signed Exact English, with ASL being the most commonly used.
ASL has its own structure and is a language in its own right. The visual component of sign language means that the hands, arms, face and head are all used to convey meaning in ways that aren't an inherent part of spoken English. Also, many of the grammatical constructs common to English (like pluralized nouns and articles like "a" and "the" ) don't exist as words within American Sign Language.
You might think that sign language will be easy to learn quickly, because it seems similar to English. Experts say that's a misconception: expect it to take 2-3 years of regular study to get to an intermediate level of fluency, and an additional 2 years of interpretation training if you want to reach full fluency.
No. Some people use sign language to teach basic words and concepts to their babies, like "more" and "all done", before the children are able to talk. Sign language can also be used by people who are non-verbal. And, many learners like studying ASL just for the enjoyment of it!
Finding a sign language class near you might be difficult. While there are often beginner courses taught at libraries and community centers, or offered by colleges and universities, you might not be able to find lessons near you - or ones that fit your schedule and budget. The nice thing about online sign language lessons is that you can learn at your own pace. Need to watch the instructor do each new word or phrase 20 times before you feel you've got it? No problem!
Not necessarily. Some providers of ASL instruction charge a one-time fee for books, videos, and/or downloadable materials, while others operate on a month-to-month subscription basis for access to online coursework. Both approaches to sign language lessons are affordable, and are usually much less costly than paying for classes at a college or university.
Sometimes. It depends on where you buy your sign language lessons. We recommend that you see what each course offers as a preview before you sign up, whether that's a demo lesson, downloads of sample coursework, or a free 7-day trial. The more you know about how the lessons are taught and what's covered beforehand, the easier it will be to determine which ASL coursework is right for you.

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