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Saturday, October 16th
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.
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.
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.
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:
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