Easy to use, repeatable material, study at your own pace and in your own time.Cons
Limited vocabulary, little student participation on forums.Verdict
Good for beginners and those who want to learn basic sign language communication
Review of "Rocket Sign Language", by Jake LaBerge
Or perhaps you're an employer, a teacher, a relative or just an interested person?
If you have ever had an interest in learning American Sign Language then Rocket Languages American Sign Language may be for you.
'Everything you need to sign everything you want.'
Ideal, Rocket Languages say, for people who want to learn to sign quickly, the course is based around a series of easy to follow and clear videos and you can learn at your own pace; anywhere, anytime. Better yet, Rocket Languages hosts a series of audio materials for learning not just sign language but other languages as well, such as Arabic and German.
The course is structured around 'seeing it to believe it' - and consists of online and downloadable demonstration of thousands of signs, so you can watch and practice as much as you need. All video - no confusing drawings, and you can slow the the videos to check exact movements. The course also includes interactive practice sessions, sign language software games, and a video dictionary.
'Fun and easy to use,' they say. 'It's our job to help you stay motivated so you can get results fast.'
One big plus for the ASL Premium is that you have access to the course material for life - so that you can study in your own time and to fit your own schedule. Plus progress tracking and 'recommended learning paths'. And another plus is that you can try out your ASL skills without worrying about getting it wrong in front of others.
One user quoted on the Rocket Language ASL website is a manager of a convenience store and wanted to learn ASL so he could communicate with both deaf customers and associates. 'It has made a real, positive difference,' he said.
Other endorsers liked the videos because they are 'easy to imitate.' 'Sometimes you struggle for a particular sign that you don't use that often,' was one comment.
The course covers the history of ASL, the deaf community, everyday signs, lip reading, facial expressions, fingerspelling. Later on you'll move into conversations, sentence structure, negotiations and even dialects and baby sign language. Plus reviews, revisions and practice.
The course costs $99.95 for premium membership (online access & CD pack); for online access only it is $49.95.
So what do customers and ASL learners think of this video language course.
Well, it depends on what type of learner you are.
'If you don't know ASL, and you master this, you're ready to talk to people. You'll then learn more signs through natural conversation,' said one customer. However, 'The vocabulary is limited,' she said.
'If you already know enough ASL to communicate, and just want to get better, there really isn't much point in getting this,' was another forum comment.
However, for a beginner it is a quick way to learn, say the reviewers. 'You take a bunch of quizzes. You learn from the quizzes. Once you get all the points correct, you move on to the next one.'
And another customer was disappointed with the level of interaction on the forums. 'It is useful for practicing my ASL,' she said, 'but there do don't seem to be any other users.'
There are some free videos available online so you can get a flavor of the teaching style and content by checking them out. 'I used the free fingerspelling lessons and found them great,' said one participant.
And others really like the life membership.
'What a relief to know you can learn sign language at your own pace without being hurried through a class, but still get all the help you need,' was a comment.
So for beginners and people with busy schedules Rocket American Sign Language could be ideal; however those seeking to extend their skills might not find the material they need here.
Visit the official site for Rocket American Sign Language
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