The Pros & Cons of Learning ASL Online
The Pros and Cons of Learning ASL Online
Today anyone can learn American Sign Language—if they have WiFi. If you wanted to learn American Sign Language, or ASL, a few decades ago, you would have to purchase a textbook and attend a class.
Now you have a plethora of online options to choose from: apps, YouTube channels, online courses, and more. But are you ever afraid that your quality of learning might drop with online learning? Check out these Pros and Cons to discover whether book learning or online learning is the right fit for you.
Pros of Learning ASL Online
- Accessibility: The top benefit of learning ASL online is that it is always at your fingertips—if not on your laptop at home, then on your smartphone in your hands! Learning ASL online might be a good fit for you if you have a packed schedule or do lots of traveling. You may be able to slip twenty minutes of ASL learning during your bus commute or while waiting in a doctor’s office.
- Free: While some online courses do have fees, there are plenty of online options that are 100% free! If you’re a student or strapped for cash, you can still study ASL. Look especially at channels or playlists on YouTube.
- Updated: This isn’t to say that books or classes aren’t updated. However, if you go the online route, you’re likely to regularly discover new content about ASL. Your YouTube teacher will be posting new videos or your online course will be updating their blog. Learning online is a prime way to stay engaged and always be aware of what’s going on in the national Deaf community.
Cons of Learning ASL Online
- Commitment: Online options are convenient and easy, and we human beings tend to devalue the things we get easily. If it’s convenient to study ASL on the bus, it’s probably equally convenient to get on social media instead. All this to say: you’re not going to learn ASL well if you don’t commit to it. Sometimes a hard copy textbook or signing up for a class may be what you need to buckle down and accomplish this. This is especially true for the classroom experience. If you know that your teacher is expecting you, you won’t want to miss!
- Lack of Face-to-Face Engagement: Without a real classroom and fellow students to practice your ASL, you may grow timid actually putting your ASL knowledge to use. Further, there are many communication skills that are almost impossible to obtain without face-to-face engagement. This where your highly convenient app or YouTube video may do you a disservice. Those great resources really can’t compare to in the moment conversation.
Take these factors into account, but at the end of the day, you know what will best fit your personality type and lifestyle. If online learning is your top choice, try to connect with some other ASL students in your location you could meet and practice with. Online learning could be the perfect avenue for you to learn American Sign Language and come to understand the Deaf community.