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The Best Sign Language Lessons

Who Offers the Best Sign Language Lessons?

Used by as many as 500,000 people in the United States and Canada alone, American Sign Language (ASL) is the main form of sign language used by Deaf communities. ASL also forms the foundation of many sign language dialects used around the world, including parts of Southeast Asia and West Africa.

In addition to Deaf individuals, those who use American Sign Language include parents, children, or other family members of Deaf people; teachers working with students who are nonverbal; and, even parents of infants who want to communicate with their babies before their little ones are able to use spoken language.

Saturday, December 4th

2021 Sign Language Lesson Reviews

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

Start ASL

5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $9.95/month (or $99.95/year) for Bronze online package
  • $19.95/month (or $199.95/year) for Silver online package
  • $49.95/month (or $499.95/year) for Gold online package
  • $32.64 for ASL offline package (download)
  • Free program also available
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

If you're looking for the most comprehensive online American Sign Language program currently available on the market, Start ASL should be at the top of your list. Their ASL lessons include three total levels of instruction (also available as a download if you need to study without an available internet connection), and they are one of the few providers that offer tutoring as an add-on service.

What is truly remarkable about Start ASL is the huge amount of free content. You can access all three levels of content - 14 lessons in Unit 1, 12 lessons in Unit 2, and 11 lessons in Unit 3 - at absolutely no cost, and with no requirement to submit your personal information. This is an incredible way to see if the Start ASL program is a good fit for your learning style, completely risk-free.

We definitely recommend you spend some time browsing the lessons. Be sure to check out Fingerspelling - which is covered in the units themselves but can also be studied as a stand-alone module - and see the workbooks to get an idea of how your learning is reinforced while using Start ASL.

With all of those resources that are offered for free, you might be wondering why students would consider signing up for one of Start ASL's paid subscriptions. You might be interested in the Bronze, Silver, or Gold packages if you want to track your progress, get a certificate of completion for each course level you complete (i.e. in order to request credit for the class from your college, university, or high school), or to participate in interactive activities and quizzes. All of those benefits are offered in the Bronze package for $9.95/month or $99.95/year.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Moving up to the Silver package -$19.95/month or $199.95/year -gets you a 10% discount on any one-on-one tutoring sessions you may want with Start ASL's tutors, along with instructor support for your questions while you work through the lessons.

Finally, at the Gold level, you get a 15% discount on tutoring, along with instructor feedback on all assignments and a verified completion certificate. This level is the most expensive at $49.95/month or $499.95/year.

We love that Start ASL offers a money-back guarantee for 30 days. So, if you choose one of the subscription programs and find that you don't have as much time as you'd hoped, or if you prefer to downgrade to a less expensive package, you only have to contact their support department. They promise to give you a prompt and courteous refund.

Students have great things to say about learning American Sign Language with Start ASL. From parents who are using what they learn to communicate with their children - infants, nonverbal children with autism, and more - to people who are excited to finally be able to communicate with their Deaf friends in ASL, learners report a high level of fluency gained by using the Start ASL program.

With customer-friendly policies, a wealth of information provided at no charge, and a genuine commitment to helping students master American Sign Language, Start ASL is the hands-down winner among online providers of ASL instruction. They are our top choice and earn our highest rating.

Sign It! Review 4.5 Star Rating

Sign It!

4.5 Star Rating
  • 50 lessons total
  • Lessons by well-known educators and entertainers
  • Lifelong access
  • Preview some lessons for free

Sign It! American Sign Language is a self-paced program taught by well-known educators and entertainers from the ASL community. Some recognizable names include Rachel Coleman, Sean Forbes, Peter Cook, Crom Saunders, Patrick Fischer, and more! This course is meant to help students become fluent in ASL and would span an entire year or more if you go through all the material and practice tests.

20 lessons available

The full Sign It ASL curriculum has a total of 50 lessons that teach conversational ASL. It will go over sentences, vocabulary, syntax, and grammar. However, not all lessons are available yet because only 20 of them are funded at this point. Lessons 21-50 will come as soon as they are ready to launch.

Extensive study material

In the first 20 lessons, there are over 1,200 vocabulary words, fingerspelling practice, sentence structure material, and more. The course has 3 difficulty level settings and you can slow down or speed up videos to fit your learning preferences. Lesson topics include introductions, family, feelings, job, school, neighbors, transportation, countries, vacation, money, clothing, hobbies, colors, religion, and so much more. Each lesson contains an hour of content and 8-12 quizzes. It's recommended that students go over the whole course three times. It takes about 35-40 hours to do lessons 1-20 without repeating lessons or doing practice exercises.

Donate to support free use for families

Sign It ASL is provided by the Signing Time Foundation in partnership with Two Little Hands Productions. For individuals wanting to donate and support free ASL lessons for families who need it, there is a link to donate. Free lessons are available to families who have a child 36 months or younger that have hearing loss.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Lifelong access

Lessons you purchase from Sign It never expire. This way you can go through the content at your own pace and review it as often as you'd like. For those with educational site licenses, each user will have access for 12 months from the time of purchase. You'll need an internet connection for all the quiz and test features to work.

Different lesson packages to choose from

You can preview lessons #1, #2, and #10 for free to get an idea of how the Sign It ASL platform works and if it caters to your learning style. The packages include:

  • Lessons 1-20: $159.99
  • Lessons 1-5: $49.99
  • Lessons 6-10: 49.99
  • Lessons 11-15: $49.99
  • Lessons 16-20: $49.99
  • Group access: $349.99

No return policy or satisfaction guarantee is mentioned.

Students love Sign It ASL

Students who have used Sign It ASL enjoy that humor is used in the teaching. They say it is easy to follow and they learn new signs quickly. The videos are not only informative, but enjoyable to watch! This is an extremely thorough way to learn ASL at your own pace. The program is designed to help students become fluent and remember words and phrases long-term. We highly recommend this program if you're willing to dedicate the time to going through all the course material.

Rocket Languages Review 4 Star Rating

Rocket Languages

4 Star Rating
  • Cost: $69.95 for Level 1 (or 6 monthly payments of $15 for a total of $90)

Rocket Languages' American Sign Language lessons program is simple and effective, giving you the skills you need to sign basic words and phrases. Rocket's ASL package is designed to give you a beginner to intermediate level of fluency with nearly 100 hours of lessons.

Rocket Languages' ASL contains the following:

  • 18 Targeted Video Lessons. These lessons are structured according to themes, such as the ASL Alphabet, Numbers and Time, and Food and Drink. The program also includes 30 Sign Language ASL Lessons that cover topics like ASL History and Using the TTY. Total lesson time: 96 hours.
  • My Dictionary. If you need to know a particular sign right away, type in the word you're looking for to see a video demonstrating the sign. For those who are able to hear, the word is spoken as well. Between the lessons and the dictionary, you will learn a total of 2051 American Sign Language words and phrases.
  • 24/7 Forum and Email Support. Rocket Languages believes there's no such thing as a dumb question. Students have unlimited access to discussion boards and forums where they can get answers from teachers and fellow students.
Best Sign Language Lessons

Rocket Languages offers free access to the Student Dashboard with no credit card details or any other information required. In order to access this guest trial, we had to use the mouse as if we were going to close the browser window - it then gave us a page to choose from the free guest access or to jump directly to a course description and pricing. A second type of free trial will allow you to track your progress for seven days, so that if you do decide to purchase Rocket Languages' ASL program, you will be able to continue right where you left off. This trial does require you to enter your name and email address.

Rocket Languages backs all of their language programs with a 100%, 60-day money-back guarantee. And, if their customer reviews are any indication, Rocket Languages provides a solid value for the investment with more than 1,600 users rating the program as a perfect five stars.

Although it is not the most comprehensive program in our review, we give Rocket Languages ASL lessons high marks for being customer-friendly and affordable.

ASL Deafined Review 4 Star Rating

ASL Deafined

4 Star Rating
  • Free 3-day trial
  • Over 300+ themed lessons
  • Progress charts
  • Cancel subscription at any time

This cleverly-named company was created to teach Deaf students, parents of Deaf children, and the community American Sign Language (ASL). It is set up for people of any age to begin learning and improve their skills until they are fluent. ASL Deafined reminds people that learning American Sign Language will enhance your life whether you or someone you know is deaf. It can improve your marketability in your career, open doors to meeting new people, and help you experience a new culture.

Free trial

To get a feel for ASL Deafined's platform and usability, you should definitely take advantage of the 3-day free trial they provide. No credit card information is required. All you need to do is create a username and password and answer some questions about your current knowledge of ASL. They even have a "second chance" box that allows you to get your free trial reactivated if you need a little more time to decide whether or not to commit to their service.

Ample material

After going through some video lessons and exploring the platform, we found that ASL Deafined has a lot to offer. All of the videos are signed by deaf experts, they have over 300 themed lessons for beginners to advanced users, retention exercises, progress charts, vocabulary banks, fingerspelling practice, quizzes, grammar exercises, and more. In short, you won't run out of things to learn here.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Lessons cater to skill level

Beginners are taught basic topics like the alphabet, numbers, colors, survival words, verbs, animals and clothing. Intermediate students have lessons to choose from about outdoor activities, illnesses, Christmas, the beach, and hobbies. Advanced learners are taught about deaf culture, famous deaf people, science, professionals, weather, money, and more. All video lessons are good quality, straightforward, and easy to navigate. Some videos move quickly, so you might need to rewatch them a few times to figure out which fingers to use and which directions to point.

Competitively priced

Considering all that is included, ASL Deafined is one of the least expensive options for learning sign language. The cost for educational users is just $12/year and the cost for individuals is $36/year. This includes unlimited activities, lessons, and games. (The site doesn't explicitly state the difference between "educational" and "individual" accounts.) It also includes continuous updates and versions. ASL Deafined can be cancelled at any time. If you're unhappy with your purchase, all you have to do is email customer service for a full refund.

Inexpensive and easy to use

ASL Deafined is not rated by the Better Business Bureau. We wish their website included reviews from people who used their service to learn sign language. Unfortunately, reviews on this site are pretty limited. However, in the feedback we were able to find, people say they are thrilled with the price of ASL Deafined's platform and how easy it is to go at your own pace. If you're looking for a place to start, this is an awesome resource. We highly recommend checking out ASL Deafined.

Learn and Master Review 3 Star Rating

Learn and Master

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: $199 for 25 Lessons on DVD (regularly priced at $299)

Learn and Master is a well-known name for people who want to learn from home, from guitar lessons to foreign languages. Their American Sign Language program is delivered exclusively via DVD, with approximately 50 hours of instruction taught by Stacey Webb and Dr. Byron Bridges. These DVDs are regularly priced at $299, but Learn and Master offers frequent specials and discounts; on the day we visited the site, there was a promotion for $100 off the list price for the ASL program.

You can try several sample lessons on the Learn and Master site, on topics such as Classifiers and The Signing Space. This is the best way to determine if their approach to teaching ASL is a good fit for your learning style. Along with the video lessons on DVD, the Learn and Master program includes a lesson book, but we didn't find any samples on the site to indicate what is included in that component of the instruction.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Another missing piece is the Student Support site. The program promises access to a Student Support Discussion board, with areas for asking questions on specific lessons or talking directly with an instructor, a Sign Language FAQ, and other forums to interact with other ASL learners. Unfortunately, that site wasn't functioning at the time of our review, and even the customer service live chat was "unavailable" when we attempted to ask about accessing the student site. This could be a disappointment for ASL students who want an interactive learning experience rather than just learning by watching DVDs.

On a positive note, Learn and Master does offer a 60-day money back guarantee. You can return the program materials and get a no-questions-asked refund if the lessons don't turn out to be what you were anticipating, or if you feel like you would benefit from a program that includes a robust online community to supplement your learning.

There are several positive reviews on the Learn and Master site, including two from teachers who successfully use the ASL program to teach their students. Overall, the DVD program is effective for some learners and is a good choice for students who don't have consistent access to the Internet when learning to sign.

Gallaudet University Review 3 Star Rating

Gallaudet University

3 Star Rating
  • Free
  • Videos and interactive lessons
  • Well-known, professional ASL University

Founded in 1864, Gallaudet University is a bilingual, private university federally chartered for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Their in-person campus is located in Washington D.C. They have over 50 degree programs available online or on campus. Students can get their Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate degree from Gallaudet University. Although this is a professional, expensive University, they offer an ASL Connect program online for free.

Impressive selection of topics

"ASL for free" is a way for people to get their feet wet in the world of American Sign Language. It gives people a starting place to learn the basics of communication through videos and interactive lessons. We were surprised by how many topics there were to choose from including numbers, transportation, baby items, fruits, emotions, colors, animals, sports, weather, basic needs, and more.

Speed learning

Each video is about 45 seconds long, so you either need to internalize everything you're seeing really quickly or do a lot of stopping and rewinding. Videos show the word you're being taught and the sign language interpretation in an ongoing video. For example, if you're learning how to sign different fruits, you'll see an apple on the screen, then the sign, an orange, then the sign, grapes, then the sign, and so on.

Best Sign Language Lessons

Three lesson modules

The lesson modules are a bit more comprehensive than the videos: you are shown one sign at a time and asked to copy. There are three modules: basic personal information, making an encounter, and people. The lessons are short, but teach you how to identify vocabulary related to genders, describe what people are doing with action verbs, answer "yes" or "no" questions, and use appropriate pronouns. Each module has between 1 and 4 lessons.

Good for refreshing your memory

Obviously a huge selling point of using ASL for free through Gallaudet University is that it's" well, free. Because of this, it isn't an extensive program that tracks your progress over time or lets you choose lessons based on your knowledge level. This is just a free resource for anyone to use if they want to teach themselves the basics at whatever pace they want. It's probably best to refer to Gaulladet's free ASL course for quick refreshers rather than learning from scratch.

Brush up on your vocab

If you want all that Gaulladet has to offer for learning sign language, you'll have to sign up for their courses. Each class is about $316 and gives you credit toward a degree at Gallaudet University. This is an amazing institution who has served the deaf community for a long time, so whether you enroll in their courses or take advantage of their free ASL videos, it will be a great benefit to you. This isn't our first choice since you don't have an option to get extensive course content for a budget-friendly price, but it is a good place to refer to if you need to quickly brush up on your ASL vocabulary.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

You may be surprised to learn that American Sign Language has its own structure, rather than being a word-for-word translation of spoken English. For example, the phrase "The father loves his child" would typically use just the signs for "father", "love", and "child". And, just like any other language, ASL can have an "accent" based on the region or culture of the signer, with variations of hand position and facial expression.

In the past, aspiring students of American Sign Language would have to find a Deaf community willing to teach them to sign, take a class at a local community college (if offered), or struggle with books and antiquated DVD lessons in order to learn ASL. However, today's modern tools make it easy to learn fluent American Sign Language at home or even on-the-go, with online courses and up-to-date video lessons.

Are you ready to find the right American Sign Language lessons for you? As you consider the ASL programs on the market, keep the following criteria in mind:

  • Instructional Methods. Do the American Sign Language lessons use a teaching approach that fits your personal learning style?
  • Skill Level. Are the ASL lessons appropriate for novice language learners, or do they expect you to already have some experience with the language? Can you progress from one level to another for the same original purchase price or subscription, or will you have to invest more money later?
  • Value. Do the American Sign Language lessons have a track record of student success, making it worth the money you will spend?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Sign Language lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you open new doors of communication as you learn to sign fluently in ASL right away!

The Best Sign Language Lessons Compare Sign Language Lessons Compare Sign Language Lesson Reviews What are the best Sign Language Lessons Best Sign Language Lesson Reviews

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.
The Best Reviews of Sign Language Lessons