American Sign Language (ASL) is a skill that can be immensely helpful if you have a friend or loved one with hearing impairments, or if you want to look for work that involves interacting with the hearing impaired. Learning ASL will be very similar to learning any other world language, in that you can take similar steps to improve your skills quickly and efficiently.
Have Your Motivations in Mind
Before starting to learn a new language, it's a good thing to write down all of the reasons why you wanted to learn the language in the first place. Learning languages is sometimes tedious and difficult, and you may want to refer back to your notes at a later time when you're frustrated. So take some time to write, draw, or speak on video about your intentions for learning.
Take a Training Program
If you want to learn how to do ASL quickly and correctly, taking a training program, such as ASL DEAFined, is probably the best way to go. Ideally, this class would meet several times per week, since repeated and continuous practice makes it easier to learn a new language. A classroom full of other students who are motivated to learn ASL can be uplifting and make it easier to progress. If you are unsure where to look for an ASL training program, check with any local nonprofits in your area who work with the hearing impaired. There are also training programs online that can be taken from anywhere.
Do Your Homework
Try to practice your newfound skills every day, at least for 15 minutes. Learning a new language requires you to build that part of your brain on a regular basis, and you will retain new information about ASL better if you get to practice it every day.
Practice in Real Life
A key to retaining language skills is to apply them in real life. It's one thing to regurgitate signs that your teacher asks you to memorize in class. It's another thing to be able to organically remember how to sign certain phrases when you are conversing with someone who is hearing impaired. Practicing real life will put you into challenging situations where you will have to make do with the language you already know and fill in the gaps in your knowledge. Consider volunteering options for speaking with many hearing impaired people on a regular basis so that you can improve your language skills and give back more in return.