There are a number of free American Sign Language (ASL) programs and videos available on the internet, designed to help you start to learn sign language online in no time at all. The Internet offers several advantages when it comes to learning sign language. Multimedia learning, or e-learning, is all the rage nowadays.
Benefits of Learning Sign Language Online
Although responsive interaction with family members is still the best way to teach you and your children how to sign, there are some benefits to learning ASL online:
- You can learn ASL at your own pace.
- Distance learning allows you to be flexible in both your schedule and location.
- Online learning is more cost-effective than traditional learning because of the reduced overhead costs
The online resources that are available to you are:
- Free Signing video lessons on YouTube
- Sign Language Apps in the app stores
- Sign Language websites
- Online ASL training courses by experts
Sign language is a visual language. It involves movement and gestures, and as such, it is learned the best by observing other people. Watching others sign will help you learn ASL in no time at all. The internet offers more opportunities than you can count to watch others communicate in ASL.
Is it hard to learn sign language?
Well, it used to be hard. You had to know a deaf person or someone who knows how to sign to begin learning this language. But now, since there is the internet, it is easier than ever. There are numerous free videos and apps available to get you started. Like learning any new language it takes time and practice to get better at it but the available resources are enormous. Finding the best resource that fits your needs can be difficult. The reason for this article is to sum op the available ways to learn Sign Language online and find the best resources for each category.
10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Sign Language
American Sign Language is an increasingly popular language to learn, there are many reasons for this being the case so I thought I would explain the top reasons.
In the United States, it is reported that nearly 10,000,000 people have hearing problems while approximately 1,000,000 are functionally deaf. This got me thinking about the way deaf people communicate effectively in everyday situations.
- You may have a relative or friend who is functionally deaf; you obviously would like to be able to communicate effectively with them. Think about what it would show to your family member or friend if you tried to learn ASL. They, in turn, would be able to teach you as you go along and it would be a very rewarding experience.
- If you work in or own a business it is highly probable that you will come into contact with a deaf person quite frequently. Just imagine the level of customer service that that person would receive if you could not understand sign language. While I am not suggesting you would need to know the language fluently, it may be a nice touch if you knew some basics.
- It is increasingly more popular these days to teach your baby how to express himself even before he can speak. American Sign Language is the third most used language in the US. Should your child continue to learn American Sign Language after his 3rd year, he will have learned a 2nd language. It will make life a lot easier if you know what your child is crying for well before his speech has developed fully, this will result in a happier child and happier parents.
- You may want to learn about the deaf culture it was only truly recognized about 40 years ago. You may want to learn about this so you can fully immerse yourself when learning ASL.
- There are three different types of deafness all with different causes, learning American Sign Language would allow you to communicate effectively with deaf people so you can learn more about the various forms and understand more about them.
- You may want to learn about various forms of sign language, ASL is not the universal form, similar to different languages throughout the world there are several forms of sign language, for example, the alphabet is signed with one hand in ASL while you use two hands for it using British sign language.
- As stated above the number of deaf people in the states is increasing, some people study ASL in order to get a job as an interpreter. Or you may wish to translate in church or any group you may belong to.
- You may be in the medical profession such as a doctor or audiologist you certainly would be able to put your patient at ease if you could sign.
- Teaching may be your passion and ASL is becoming more popular so you may wish to study to a completely fluent level.
- Finally, it is a beautiful way to express yourself, and completely unique.
Whatever your reason for wanting to learn ASL keep practicing and perfecting your skill so you can achieve your goal.
Learn Sign Language Apps
The ASL app made by Deaf people for adults who are interested in learning ASL. Available in the App store
Online Sign Language Course
If you prefer a more structured way of learning than a course from Rocket Languages is probably your best option. They offer a free trial to get familiar with their Sign Language course.
7 Free videos to help you and your kids learn sign language online
1. This video consists of a song in which babies, infants and young children learn basic signs. These signs relate to eating, drinking, clothing, body parts and communicating phrases like thank you and sorry. The length of the video is 54 minutes, so start watching it right away!
2. Learn 38 basic signs in 2 minutes. This is a great video for learning many words in a short time. You might have to watch it a few times.
3. This video is all about animals. If you watch the entire clip, you’ll learn the signs for 16 different animals.
4. This video is all about school. All elements in the clip are school-related, from signing about going to school in the morning to learning the signs for letters and numbers. Don’t forget to pack your lunch!
6. Kids need role models — it’s good for them! Get your children motivated by having them watch Pharrell Williams’s Happy. In this video, the song is sung in ASL. What could be a better remix than that?
7. In this video, be prepared to learn how to sign colors in 1 minute. The clip may not be very long, but by the time it’s over you’ll know how to sign 9 colors in ASL.
Free Online Sign Language Learning Resources
Click on links below to view websites providing important information for the Deaf community and people interested in communicating with Deaf individuals.
- The American Sign Language University’s website is a great resource. It’s a bit outdated in terms of design and usability but the content is great.
- Older kids and adults can watch the 10 free videos of Dr. Byron Bridges at Signlanguage101
- And of course our own ASL Kids dictionary.
- deafness.about.com – Basic aspects of deaf culture.
- deaflinx.com – Deaf Linx is your resource for information on deafness, deaf culture, American Sign Language (ASL) and all other related topics.
- asl.ms – Sign Language fingerspelling resource.
- deafwebsites.com – Online Deaf Web Directory.
So, what are you waiting for? Learn ASL in this twenty-first century-friendly way: by watching videos in a comfortable learning environment! The internet offers an interactive approach to picking up sign language, and the clips we’ve listed are available to everyone. With these links at your disposal, you’ll be fluent in ASL before you know it. Start to learn Sign Language online free.
The Children Learning Research Group of University of Oxford did a great deal of research on the effectiveness of online learning for children.