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Best Courses Guides

10 Best American Sign Language (ASL) Courses for 2024

Let’s make the world more accessible for the deaf community. Learn ASL from the best online courses. It’s just another language.

A Silent Voice is one of my favorite animes. Reason – its female lead, Nishimiya Shoko, is deaf, and the creators do an excellent job portraying her struggles, and most importantly, the use of sign language. I’d never considered the importance of sign language before, and this character sparked my interest to learn more.

Now, imagine if you could dive into this world of non-verbal communication. Well, you can! I’ve explored over 50 Sign Language courses, and in this Best Courses Guide I present to you the 10 best American Sign Language (ASL) online courses.

Click on the shortcuts for more details:

Top Picks

What is American Sign Language (ASL)?

American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language and is the primary language of the deaf community in the United States of America and in many parts of Canada. While users can spell out words, there are also many shortcut signs. It is a visual language expressed by hand movements, facial expressions and body posture.

Sign language is not universal – different sign languages are used in different countries and regions. Some countries also adopt features of ASL in their sign languages. Like any spoken language, ASL has its own grammar and syntax that differs from English – its own rules for pronunciation, word formation and word order.

Source: ASL.ms

Why are American Sign Language (ASL) Skills Important?

In the USA, there are about 48 million people with hearing impairment, from which an estimate of 500,000 know sign language. Considering that service providers, educators, friends and relatives will also have some level of expertise, this number can be even higher.

Learning any language is not just about memorizing hundreds or thousands of words – you can also participate in a new community of people and better understand the Deaf Culture. Anyone can benefit from being able to communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing, parents, educators, first responders, and service providers, just to name a few.

And if you want to make a career out of it, there are thousands of jobs for Sign Language Interpreters on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor with an average salary of $32 per hour.

Stats

  • Combined, these courses have accrued over 37.6K enrollments and 1.8M YouTube views
  • 7 courses are free and 3 courses are paid
  • The most-represented course provider in the ranking is YouTube, with 6 courses
  • The Sign Language subject is followed by over 7.8K learners on Class Central, and accounts for over 50 courses in Class Central catalog.

Best Course for Mastering ASL Through Frequency of Use (ASL University)

Bill Vicars (left), instructor
Bill Vicars (left), instructor

ASL University: Lessons is a free course designed to teach ASL not through traditional topic-based lists, but by the frequency of use in real-world conversations. This approach, inspired by research indicating that mastery of frequently used words significantly enhances language comprehension, ensures that students focus on learning signs that they are most likely to use, thereby accelerating their ability to engage in meaningful conversations.

Ideal for beginners eager to learn ASL efficiently, the course is structured into multiple units, each containing lessons that introduce concepts in descending order of frequency. This method includes lessons on fingerspelling, numbers, culture, history, and terminology. The curriculum’s emphasis is on real-world application supported by interactive instructional videos.

In this course, you will gain:

  • Mastery of 300 of the most frequently used ASL concepts, introduced by real-world usage frequency
  • Skills in fingerspelling, understanding numbers, and insights into ASL culture and history
  • Knowledge of how signs interconnect, their specific uses, and limitations
  • Ability to quickly start having meaningful conversations in ASL through an emphasis on response vocabulary and real-world interaction.
Institution ASL University
Instructor Bill Vicars
Level Mixed
Workload 221 hours
Enrollments 390K
Certificate Not available

Also Great Comprehensive Course for Mastering ASL (Udemy)

Stacey Webb (left), and Byron Bridges (right), instructors

One of the most comprehensive courses on this list, Learn & Master Sign Language is a course for beginners that will help you master the receptive and the expressive components of ASL. The lessons are interactive, giving you a solid foundation in basic and advanced signing including vocabulary, sentences, narratives and dialogues.

This course, led by professional instructors Dr. Byron Bridges and Stacey Webb of Legacy Learning Systems, covers thousands of signs used in daily life and practical communication scenarios such as emergencies and sporting events, with practice opportunities as well.

What you will gain from this course:

  • A solid foundation in both basic and advanced aspects of ASL
  • Confidence in signing through extensive practice in vocabulary, sentences, narratives, and dialogues
  • Deep understanding and appreciation of deaf culture and how to communicate in various real-life scenarios
  • Skills to communicate effectively within the deaf community, with a focus on both receptive and expressive components of the language.
Provider Udemy
Instructor Byron Bridges, Stacey Webb
Level Mixed
Workload 49 hours
Enrollments 15.5K
Exercises In-video practice quizzes
Rating 4.6/5.0 (2.2K)
Certificate Paid

Best Concise ASL Course for Beginners (Udemy)

Manny Martin, instructor

This short course for beginners is a great way to get started with and learn the foundations of ASL. American Sign Language Level 1 will teach you easy and useful ASL topics such as the origins of ASL language and more. At the end of this course, you’ll also get to demonstrate a short story in ASL.

Taught by Manny Martin of Intellezy Trainers, an ASL interpreter and educator for kids and adults, this course provides engaging video content and assessments to make learning both effective and enjoyable. Manny is an ASL interpreter and educator for kids and adults.

In this course, you’ll gain:

  • Mastery of the ASL alphabet and finger spelling
  • Ability to sign numbers, colors, animals, food and drink
  • Understanding of family signs, key verbs, nouns, feelings, and emotions
  • Skills to construct sentences and tell short stories in ASL.
Provider Udemy
Instructor Manny Martin
Level Beginner
Workload 2-3 hours
Enrollments 19.6K
Rating 4.7/5.0 (4K)
Certificate Paid

Best Free Concise ASL Course for Beginners (Our Berg Life)

Laura Berg (left) and Regent Gendron (right), instructors

Beginner American Sign Language (ASL) Course is a free course that has a good balance of lessons and practice. The course is structured around ten themed lessons, including family, food, and hobbies, gradually increasing in complexity. Each lesson is divided into three parts: vocabulary introduction, sentence formation, and a quiz to test your receptive skills. By the end of the course, you should be able to sign basic ASL vocabulary, understand ASL sentence structures, and form simple sentences.

This course is taught by Regent Gendron, ASL teacher for more than 25 years, and Laura Berg, the president and founder of My Smart Hands.

You’ll learn:

  • Build a basic ASL vocabulary across ten different themes
  • Form simple sentences and understand ASL’s unique sentence structure
  • Recognize regional variations in signs
  • Test your understanding through quizzes after each lesson
  • Communicate basic personal information and engage in simple ASL conversations.
Channel Our Berg Life
Provider YouTube
Instructor Laura Berg and Regent Gendron
Level Beginner
Views 165K
Workload 6 hours
Certificate Not available

Also Great Free Concise ASL Course for Beginners (Learn How to Sign)

Meredith, instructor

Aimed towards beginners, ASL Basics is a free ASL course that teaches you how to sign basic ASL words and phrases. Led by Meredith, a state certified ASL teacher and certified educational interpreter, the lessons will be helpful in your daily ASL conversations, starting with the alphabet and getting into simple words, common phrases, greetings, feelings, situation-based signs, ASL sentence structure, and many more.

In this course, you’ll gain:

  • Mastery of 150 essential ASL signs for common and descriptive purposes
  • Ability to sign the alphabet, numbers, and understand basic ASL sentence structure
  • Skills to communicate feelings, emotions, and describe people and places in ASL
  • Knowledge of specific signs for various contexts, including food, professions, and educational settings
  • Confidence in using ASL for greetings, farewells, introductions, and basic conversations.
Channel Learn How to Sign
Provider YouTube
Instructor Meredith
Level Beginner
Workload 3-4 hours
Views 323K
Certificate Not available

Best Fast-Track Course: ASL Basics in 31 Days (ASL Rochelle)

Rochelle, instructor

As its name suggests, Learn ASL in 31 Days is a free course that will teach you ASL in 31 days, or more specifically, one video per day. Within a matter of days of practice, you’ll be familiar with the alphabet, different words, numbers, fingerspelling, sentence structure, and much more.

You’ll learn:

  • The ASL alphabet, numbers, and essential vocabulary
  • Ask questions, tell time, and discuss family, food, health, and more
  • Sentence structure, classifiers, and the use of idioms
  • Fingerspelling and expressing emotions through sign language
  • Discussing places, countries, states, and agent signs.
Channel ASL Rochelle
Provider Rochelle
Instructor YouTube
Level Beginner
Workload 3 hours
Views 728K
Certificate Not available

Best Course to Learn Personal and Possessive Pronouns in ASL (Skillshare)

Michael, instructor

ASL | Pronouns + Vocab + Practice | American Sign Language focuses specifically on the use of two types of pronouns – personal and possessive  – in ASL. You’ll learn to sign and recognize pronouns in ASL, increase your vocabulary and combine them to create useful phrases and sentences. And you’ll be able to achieve all this within a matter of a couple of hours.

You’ll learn:

  • Mastery of personal and possessive pronouns in ASL
  • A rich vocabulary of everyday nouns and adjectives
  • The ability to combine pronouns and vocabulary to form phrases and sentences
  • Confidence in signing and recognizing the taught signs, phrases, and sentences.
Provider Skillshare
Instructor Michael
Level Intermediate
Workload 2-3 hours
Enrollments 2.5K
Rating 100%
Certificate Not available

Best ASL Tutorials for Beginners on YouTube (Chris Gorges)

Chris Gorges, instructor

ASL Basics – All Lessons is a comprehensive free course that is a collection of ASL tutorials on various topics such as the ASL alphabet, basic signs, words, phrases, colors, numbers, fingerspelling and more. Taught by Chris Gorges, a certified sign language interpreter and educator in California, you’ll get a lot of practice through the lessons and tips to become fast and fluent.

You’ll learn:

  • ASL alphabet and high-frequency words for everyday conversations
  • Ability to sign basic phrases, numbers, colors, family signs, and express feelings and emotions
  • Improved receptive skills and fingerspelling through targeted practice sessions
  • Insights into the ASL community, interpreting as a profession, and effective learning strategies.
Channel Chris Gorges
Provider YouTube
Instructor Chris Gorges
Level Beginner
Workload 32 hours
View 178K
Certificate Not available

Best for Kids: Learn ASL With Songs (Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel)

Jack Hartmann, instructor

Whether you are a kid or an adult, songs will most surely not fail to hold a spot in your mind. Songs are a great way to learn sign language for both kids and grown ups. Learning Sign Language is a free course that is well-suited for your kids or yourself for learning ASL as well as Australian Sign Language and British Sign Language. Jack Hartmann’s expertise in creating educational content for kids ensures that the course is both informative and entertaining.

This course includes the following songs you can follow (sign) along with Jack Hartmann and friends:

  • See It, Say It, Sign It (American Sign Language Alphabet Song)
  • We Are A Family
  • Greetings Song in Spanish with no subtitles
  • One Small Voice
  • Rap it, Read It, Say It, Sign It
  • Auslan See it Say it Sign it (Australian Sign Language)
  • See it Say it Sign it (British Sign Language)
  • Animal signs (domestic and farm animals)
  • Sign the colors
Channel Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel
Provider YouTube
Instructor Jack Hartmann
Level Beginner
Workload 1-2 hours
Views 433K
Certificate Not available

Best Course to Teach Babies Sign Language (TalkBoxMom)

Adelaide Olguin, instructor

Babies pick up sign language fast. So it’s best to start teaching early. Starter Signs – Baby Sign Language is a short free course specially made for babies (well actually their parents of course!) so that they can teach their babies simple words and phrases in ASL.

Adelaide Olguin founded TalkBox.Mom to help families start talking in a foreign language (and ASL) the same day they start and reach their goals of becoming at least conversational.

You’ll learn:

  • Essential baby sign language terms for daily needs and activities
  • To express and understand key emotions and requests in baby sign language
  • Enhanced communication skills with infants and toddlers, fostering better understanding and bonding
  • Practical knowledge to reduce frustration and guesswork in caregiving through early non-verbal communication.
Channel TalkBoxMom
Provider YouTube
Instructor Adelaide Olguin
Level Beginner
Workload 1-2 hours
Views 64K
Certificate Not available

Why You Should Trust Us

Class Central, a Tripadvisor for online education, has helped 60 million learners find their next course. We’ve been combing through online education for more than a decade to aggregate a catalog of 200,000 online courses and 200,000 reviews written by our users. And we’re online learners ourselves: combined, the Class Central team has completed over 400 online courses, including online degrees.

I (Archisha) am a Guided Project Instructor and a Beta Tester at Coursera, having tested many courses before they’re officially launched. I have taken over 50 online courses in various subjects. My experience as an online learner and teacher has given me some perspective on what to look for in an online course. I used my experience to evaluate each course in this list.

How We Made Our Picks and Tested Them

Trying to find “the best” can be daunting, even for those of us who live and breathe online courses. Here’s how we approached this task.

First, we combed through Class Central’s Catalog and the internet to find a variety of free and paid courses.

Second, when choosing courses, we considered the following factors:

  • Instructor experience: we looked for certified instructors with extensive experience in ASL.
  • Course content: we looked for courses that covered a wide range of topics, from the basics to more advanced techniques.
  • Student reviews: we read student reviews (when available) to get a sense of the quality of each course.

To evaluate each course, we watched some of the course videos and read the course syllabus. We also looked at the course’s rating and reviews on Class Central and course provider sites.

Ultimately, we used a combination of data and our own judgment to make these picks. We’re confident these recommendations will provide you with the knowledge to master ASL.

Fabio revised the research and the latest version of this article.

Best Courses Guides. Start Learning, Stop Procrastinating.

Archisha Bhar Profile Image

Archisha Bhar

I am a Civil Engineer from India. Other than engineering, I take interest in art, music, computer, psychology and creative writing.
Fabio Dantas Profile Image

Fabio Dantas

Content writer with a degree in chemical engineering. I'm passionate about creative writing, process improvement, productivity, and mindfulness. I aim to empower learners through my articles by providing practical tips, inspiration, and a deeper understanding of learning.

Comments 4

  1. Funky Monkey

    I dont know where to begin. I have blown eardrums. I struggle to communicate every day. I have constant ear infections, tubes collapse. How can I learn sign language? My husband is hoh and his sister. Is there free courses? I’m tired of struggling every single day. I asked at hospital, nobody could direct me anywhere. I don’t want to be around people anymore. It’s a struggle. I get tired of using tons of notebooks to communicate. And I’m not putting my name out in public for everyone to see. I went thru a nightmare trying to get my identity back, after it was stolen.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Hi! I am a hard of hearing specialist in Utah. I may have some info for you if you still need it. My services are free but I may be able to point you in the right direction if you are still feeling a bit lost.

      Reply
    • Fabio Dantas

      The first course in our list is free and it’s a great learning resource: ASL University.

      Reply
  2. Tom Torres

    Thank you, Archisha Bhar, for this well organized list of ASL resources. It is greatly appreciated!
    (We are going to start with your #1 on list “ASL University”. It is free and has a lot to explore. We are very new to ASL and want to learn everything we can about it. We enjoy being non-vocal and ASL is a wonderful help.)
    Sincerely,
    Tom Torres

    Reply

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