Learning ASL is an amazing skill to have, especially considering that there are about half a million people in the United States alone who are hard of hearing or deaf who use ASL (or American Sign Language) to communicate.
ASL is the most widely recognized language for deaf as well as hard of hearing people who are living in the US, and because of this, the language is completely visual.
As well as using hand signs to learn, there are also facial expressions and body movements which are used to make expressions clear.
There is also dactylology or as it is more commonly known, finger spelling which is used if you are not sure of a sign to help spell out a word.
While learning ASL has always been a great skill to have as an asset, it was not always the most accessible skill to learn, you would need to pay for expensive in-person classes, or if you were lucky enough, you might be able to find a club or class in your school.
But, this is not the case anymore and there are now plenty of digital methods for learning ASL which make this skill a lot more accessible.
One of the best types of digital resources which is used for learning ASL are apps which are simple to download and you can use them on your phone whenever you want to.
You can learn whenever is best for you! The best thing about choosing to use an app to learn ASL is how many options there are.
These different options have a variety of different variables which need to be considered like what part of ASL they focus on the most, and which skills they will help you learn.
And one of the most important considerations is the pricing structure which is used since this can help you work out how accessible the option will be for you.
We will consider all of these options in this list, so if you want to use an app to learn ASL, but you are overwhelmed with all the choices, we will go through some of the best options now!
The Best Apps To Learn ASL
For a quick summary of our list if you do not want to spend too much time going through the article, we have got some quick descriptions here.
If you want our best overall choice for learning ASL we have chosen Rocket ASL, and if you want the best option for finding an ASL teacher, we have italki.
If you want an app which uses video flashcards, we have The ASL App, but if you want to focus more on finger spelling, we have Ace ASL.
If you like a gamified version of learning ASL, the best option is Lingvano.
If you want to learn the ASL Vocabulary easily, we have Pocket Sign, and if you want to learn ASL completely for free, we have SignSchool.
If you want a more in-depth explanation of any of these options, keep reading to get our in-depth thoughts on each of them!
Overview Of Rocket ASL
Rocket Languages has an amazing ASL course which is great for starting at a beginner and then taking you to an intermediate level which is what most people are aiming to do when they start learning ASL.
The structure of the course is incredibly well-defined, and will make sure you understand each step of learning ASL clearly.
The lessons they use will have videos of people signing as well as a detailed description of how to weave these signs into sentences which are easy to understand.
Rocket is also a great service for the information which it has on deaf culture which will make communicating a lot more simple.
For example, the best way to join a conversation when people are signing and how important it is to have a signing space.
This helps it stand above the choices we have on this list which will often only teach you the language, but none of the culture which is important to make learning it more important.
What Are The Key Features Of Rocket ASL?
- Rocket ASL features incredibly detailed lessons which will make sure you understand every step
- Uses videos which will show you exactly how to sign specific phrases and words
- Includes information on deaf culture and ASL speakers which is a common oversight of other apps
- Uses video flashcards to help you remember certain signs
What Is The Cost Of Rocket ASL?
The standard cost of the Rocket ASL is $99.95, however, if you know when to look you should be able to find this price discounted.
Having a one-time payment is appreciated with some courses needing a subscription which usually adds up quite quickly.
This means you will always have access to the course.
You do not have to worry about making the payment and regretting the decision with a week-long trial available for free.
Overview Of Italki
Italki is a great service which is designed to connect you with a specific tutor who specializes in a certain language, and under this service you will be able to find plenty of tutors who specialize in ASL.
You will also be able to find tutors who are able to teach you a specific version or variation of sign language if you want to learn something a bit more specific.
When you have chosen a tutor who suits what you are looking for, you will be able to let them know your availability and then they will be able to make a specific lesson plan for what you are looking for.
Italki is most commonly used when it comes to learning spoken languages like German or Spanish, however you should still be able to find ASL tutors there as well.
You will be able to look at the specific qualifications as well as ratings of the tutors so you know you will be able to get a quality service.
So, if you want the accountability of contacting a teacher directly, this service will be exactly what you are looking for!
What Are The Key Features Of Italki?
- You can learn based entirely on your schedule
- You can be picky with teachers based on what you are looking for
- The teachers set the prices
- Can look at the ratings and reviews which have been left by students
What Is The Cost Of Italki?
For an hour-long ASL lesson via italki, you will likely spend between $15 and $20, but this can vary.
While you will not be able to get a free trial, many teachers offer discounted first classes so you can try out the service.
The ASL App
Overview Of The ASL App
The ASL App was actually made by deaf people who have had to communicate through signing since they were born, and the goal of the app is to help both family and friends who want to be able to learn ASL easily.
This is quite a simple app which includes different lists of vocabulary which fit into different categories, for example, colors, pop culture, etc.
There are also lists of video flashcards which are very useful for helping you remember specific signs which you could be struggling with.
The videos are easy to repeat, and you can sort the most useful ones into a list of favorites to give you a shortcut to find the ones which you need quickly.
You can even slow down the specific video if you are struggling to match the movements to ensure that you learn to do the movement correctly.
Some videos will also have extra information or context attached to them to help you further understand where to use the sign and how to.
What Are The Key Features Of The ASL App?
- Sorted into simple vocabulary lists
- Nice feature to be able to slow down videos
- Favorite list makes sorting them even easier
- Use extra information to make sure you know everything you need to
What Is The Cost Of The ASL App?
You can download The ASL App for free, and with this you will have some simple signs included for free, however, if you want the complete package, you have to pay $9.99, but this will also ensure that you will get access to any future packs which are added too.
Overview Of Ace ASL
If you want an ASL app which is specifically designed to help with finger spelling, Ace ASL is one of the best choices available.
This is a great skill to have since it helps with words which do not have a sign which has been properly established yet which is more common than you would think.
This app uses some great recognition software which will make sure that you are creating the right shapes with your hand which is much more accurate than you would imagine it to be.
This makes learning how to fingerspell surprisingly easy and fun.
While this app is still quite limited to just numbers and letters, there is also a challenge mode where you will need to understand and then repeat a word which has been fingerspelled to you.
So, while this app is still new, it is clear support and features for it will continue to increase!
What Are The Key Features Of Ace ASL?
- Lets you choose if you plan to sign with your left or right hand
- Great for learning numbers and letters
- Great hand recognition software which works well
- Challenge mode a great way to put practice into motion
What Is The Cost Of Ace ASL?
One of the best perks of this app is that it is completely free, so you do not have to worry about even making an account to start working with it.
Overview Of Lingvano
If you want learning sign language to be made a little more engaging, then using Lingvano is one of the best options available.
It uses a similar lesson structure to apps like Duolingo where you will work through lessons and then link them together to be able to converse.
This is one of the best options we have and is one of the best when it comes to actually practicing the skills rather than just teaching you.
So instead of just watching and then repeating the signs which have been made, you will be able to do activities to help make learning more engaging.
The app will also use your camera to ensure that you are making the signs correctly.
What Are The Key Features Of Lingvano?
- Used for learning ASL and BSL (British Sign Language)
- Good tips to help you improved
- Using a game structure is more engaging for most people
- Camera use is very useful
What Is The Cost Of Lingvano?
The base cost for using Lingvano after you have done the trial lesson is $17.99 for a month, but you can go down to $15.99 a month if you pay for 3 months and all the way down to $9.99 if you pay for a year at a time.
This makes Lingvano one of the more expensive options we have included!
Overview Of Pocket Sign
Pocket Sign uses more interactive and short lessons than some of the other choices on this list which makes it easy to learn plenty of signs quickly instead of learning them individually.
These lessons will be split into groups and categories making it easier to learn them grouped together.
A useful feature which helps Pocket Sign stand out is the tips attached to the videos which help you to remember the specific sign to ensure that you will not forget as easily.
A great example of this is comparing the motions to other actions, for example tea looking like dipping tea bags into a mug.
Working through the Pocket Sign vocabulary which is included is a good way to learn a lot of vocabulary at a fast pace.
The lessons they include are fun and will stay varied making sure that you will not easily lose attention.
This also makes it perfect for learning while you are travelling with your phone.
What Are The Key Features Of Pocket Sign?
- Plenty of different lessons and options for you to choose
- Great tips to help you remember specific signs
- In game currency earned to motivate to keep learning
- Dictionary feature to help organize the app
What Is The Cost Of Pocket Sign?
Pocket Sign costs $5.99 monthly but if you pay for a year you will only be paying $4.99 a month.
You also have access to a free daily lesson for no cost as well as a 2 week trial of the paid options.
Overview Of Sign School
Like many of the options on this list, Sign School takes advantage of video flashcards to help you remember specific signs.
You can learn these by looking at the vocabulary lists which they offer, or you can learn them at random if you prefer.
The videos are simple and easy for you to sign along to, and you also get the feature of slowing them down to make understanding them more simple.
There are also some other great features included in the app like games to help you practice, a well organized dictionary, and you can even sign up for a word of the day email feature.
While some of these activities are locked to the website version of the service, the video flashcards are still on the app.
What Are The Key Features Of Sign School?
- Great variety and choice of vocabulary available for you to work with
- Dictionary is well organized and makes finding specific words easy
- Free games make learning ASL simple
- Word of the day email reminds you to keep learning
What Is The Cost Of Sign School?
Perhaps the best feature of Sign School is that it is completely free to use and you can use it on both your mobile using the app, or on your laptop or PC to access some extra features as well all at no cost.
You have to make an account, but other than this the service is completely free.
Hopefully this list has given you all the information you need to make an informed decision when it comes to picking an app which will be perfect for you to learn ASL.
Since a lot of these options feature free trials or free versions, you can try out a few to see which options will suit you best!
Or if you want to use a more specialized service like Italki, then make sure to do your research on the specifics to make sure this service will be perfect for you!
Make sure you know how dedicated you are to learning ASL as this will help you choose between a more casual vocabulary tool, or a paid subscription.