Free Online American Sign Language (ASL) Training Programs
Free online ASL training programs are typically self-paced and don't result in course credit. Accredited online American Sign Language classes are available but are not free; students interested in an ASL certificate or associate/bachelor's degree should seek an accredited program. However, for those exploring whether this might be a career field to pursue, several free online resources can provide an introduction to ASL. These online resources are also valuable for those looking to learn ASL for personal benefit.
The sections below outline some of the free ASL online programs and resources offered by many different organizations. Some organizations also provide supplementary materials to enhance learning, and many include videos that may require additional software, such as QuickTime. Free online ASL dictionaries can also serve as resources for learning ASL. Although ASL dictionaries don't provide lesson plans or guided learning, students can use them to find videos or images demonstrating correct signing. These dictionaries can be used to guide self-directed learning.
Free ASL Training Programs
- ASL University offers four free ASL courses online, with a total of 60 lessons. Each course is separated into three units that contain five lessons each and include quizzes, numbers practice, and fingerspelling practice activities. Most lessons consist of objectives, vocabulary, practice sentences, and stories for translation. Each lesson contains visual diagrams and instructor-led videos to demonstrate the correct signing for students.
- Start ASL offers a series of three ASL online courses. Each course includes between 11 and 14 lessons. Training includes fingerspelling, reading assignments, videos, conversion sentences, and various tips for perfecting skills. These courses cover topics in numbers, grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- Lesson Tutor offers an ASL training program in three series that consist of 12 lessons each. Along with an explanation article, each lesson also presents visual diagrams on proper ASL form. Worksheets are provided to demonstrate proper signing. Students can utilize Lesson Tutor's ASL dictionary to translate additional signs.
- ExpertVillage, available on YouTube, is separated into 15 parts, and all training is offered through videos that are 2-3 minutes long. These videos teach students to emphasize sign images, body language and facial expression while signing.
Free ASL Online Dictionaries
Michigan State University
- ASL Browser has fingerspelling images for letters and short videos for words. Each video is supplemented by a written description explaining why certain signs are made.
- ASL Dictionary sorts common words alphabetically using videos to demonstrate signing. Each word is also offered with definitions, synonyms and related notes. Students can search English-to-ASL, ASL-to-English and ASL medical terms.
- ASL Dictionary provides alphabetical categorization and visual aides to translate common words. After students become familiar with words covered in this dictionary, they can demonstrate their knowledge by deciphering fingerspelling videos found on the website.
- Sign Language Dictionary allows students to choose to browse signing categories by letter, fingerspelling, numbers, colors, baby signs, animals and geography. Short videos demonstrate signs to help students learn proper hand and finger movements. For a fee, Signing Savvy also offers additional services, such as printable flashcards and mobile apps.