What is the Best Way to Learn Sign Language?
Sign Language is a visual language.
The ideal way to learn this language is visually, but there is more to it than that.
If you are embarking on the sign language journey, there are some things to consider.
Opening a book to view photos and descriptions is a simple choice. This flat surface however, does not allow the viewer to understand the range and fluidity of the motions.
Taking an in-person class is another option, it allow the learner to engage with others while learning from an experienced teacher. Not everyone has the time, resources or ability to attend a class so this option is not always viable.
Websites such as Start ASL offer online video lessons. The content of these classes is designed for people of all ages wanting to learn sign language. It is convenient, interactive and offers flexibility. These courses are not free but are a good option for many.
Using a device or computer to watch YouTube videos is another easy alternative. Videos are engaging because they allow the viewer to watch the signs in 2D. However, the learner needs to type in multiple searches and pull up a variety of videos to review. These videos can be inconsistent and do not engage the viewer. Also, be wary of baby sign language videos as they can be different from ASL.
There are many choices, but mobile educational applications are the ideal option as they lend themselves to teaching sign language in a multimodal format. It is the most interactive experience as it engages the user's mind through multiple channels of information. This integration includes visual (videos, illustrations), auditory (music, voiceover), reading, and tactile movements- involving the learner through touch by interacting with the material. It is an all encompassing learning environment that can be adapted to any situation (home, travel, work or school) and allows for the greatest level of retention.
Many individuals prefer digital learning and technology. Mobile apps are the best solution for most users as this multimodal format conforms to all types of learner's abilities and schedules.
Here is a list of some notable ASL Apps for your learning enjoyment. Some apps have in-app purchases and some do not. Be aware.
The ASL App (in-app purchases)
ASL Bloom -Sign Language (in-app purchases)
InterSign ASL - Learn now (in-app purchases)
Lingvano: Sign Language (in-app purchases)
Marlee Signs (in-app purchases)
Sign Me ABCs
Sign Me A Story
Sign Me A Sentence