I've always been interested in learning new things, whether this is a back when I was learning Spanish as a child, honing my cooking skills over the years, or how to do digital illustrations which I've been doing more recently. I will continue to enjoy expanding my knowledge and ability in a range of areas - there's just something I love about learning. September is the annual Festival of Learning, a month-long period that celebrates and highlights the benefits of learning as well as encouraging people to try something new. You might have something you'd love to give a go but don't seem to have the time or feel like it wouldn't fit in with your current commitments. Red Letter Days offer a range of online experience courses that allow you to learn something new in your own time and at your own pace so that it can fit around your lifestyle. They recently got in touch to see if I wanted to try out one of these courses. 

I had a browse through their website and noticed that you could learn some British Sign Language (BSL) which really interested me. Due to my own health conditions, I sometimes have trouble with my hearing. I've wanted to learn BSL for a while now as I'd like to be able to use it to communicate if I have problems with my hearing as it can be really frustrating when I can't hear properly. I also think it's a really useful skill to have as you never know when it could help someone when you were out and about. My partner is also learning with me so he'll be able to understand and help me when I'm having difficulty with my hearing. Deafness is a spectrum that means some people are hard of hearing or have sensory processing issues and others can be completely deaf. Remember that BSL is a language so it's great for anyone to learn it as a whole range of people can and may need to use it at some point.

The BSL course I completed consisted of 18 modules that cover a variety of signs for common and useful things. There are a couple of introduction modules, and the rest covers things such as letters, numbers, people, time, greetings among others to give you good coverage of signs that you would need to know. They are split into levels, starting at Foundation and moving through Basic and finishing with Expansion. Even though I had never done any BSL before, apart from learning how to sign my own name many years ago, I found the videos super easy to follow. 

Each one demonstrates the sign while the word appears on screen at the same time so you can begin to associate the sign with the word. Even when doing the Expansion modules I still found this okay to follow. For all of the sign videos, they show it from different angles which I found really helpful as it can sometimes be hard to understand which way you should be doing and with which hands if you are looking straight on and trying to mirror. The other great thing is that you can replay the video as many times as you like to practice until you feel confident with it. I went back on another day to revisit some of the modules I wanted to do again. 

Once you had completed all of the modules you are given a multiple-choice test at the end. You can take this as many times as you need to so that you achieve the pass mark and once you get there, you'll be able to download your diploma certificate as proof that you have passed the course. Overall I really enjoyed learning British Sign Language with this online course from Red Letter Days. I found the process really easy to get set up, as once you purchased the course and received your e-voucher from Red Letter Days, you were sent clear instructions on how to redeem it and within 5 minutes I was ready to start my first module. 

The only thing I would say for the course I did is that it could have been slightly improved if the first two introductory videos had subtitles. As this course is designed to help people learn sign language, and the first two videos involved someone speaking to introduce things before it got into demonstrating the different signs, it could be a little difficult for those hard of hearing or deaf to understand these first two. Apart from that, I thought the course was very informative and helped me start my BSL journey. There any many other online courses available on Red Letter Days which I'd recommend having a look through to find one to suit you.

BSL course from Red Letter Days gifted in exchange for an honest review post