DSigns - Distance online training in sign language for Europe
D-signs is a project to implement an online training system for sign language in the workplace, mapped to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), to be made available in British, Irish, Czech, Greek and Cypriot Sign Languages. This implementation will ensure compatibility of content and approach and to pave the way for a Council of Europe -recognised qualification in sign language for the workplace – which is the key meeting point of Deaf and hearing people. As well as qualifying the hearing employers and workmates we will create a direct effect for Deaf employees through the better communication at work.
The central purpose of D-Signs is to harmonise curriculum content and assessment for sign language as it would be used in the workplace. This will draw heavily on the existing framework developed in signstation.org for British Sign Language but will set the development in CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) and apply it to the sign languages of the partners. This will make it possible for each partner to develop the assessments in relation to their own national standards bodies as well as to the European profile.
While providing a language development for hearing people, D-Signs is actually creating a better workplace for Deaf people. The major concern of Deaf people is isolation in the workplace and they stand to gain enormously if hearing employers and fellow employees were able to learn sign language conveniently and effectively.
The objectives are:
The outcome will be an online training programme, with assessment and parity across Europe:
(a) comparable online courses in British, Irish, Czech, Greek and Cyprus Sign Languages focused on workplace scenarios
(b) tools to the learners which allow them to monitor not only their reception of sign language but also their production
(c) self-teaching courses, requiring no further maintenance and have a long shelf life which will support the business models of partners
The groups of users are from basic level to intermediate (A1 to A2, as a priority) – however, because the material is online, users may browse and look at material of varying complexity. The online course is open to all but registration data is collected on experiences of sign language to date, purpose for learning, contact with Deaf people and so on.
D-signs offers a major step forward for language teaching and learning with a special focus on the workplace for the learners and for the ultimate beneficiaries, Deaf employees. The impact can be felt directly by hearing learners, then by Deaf employees and ultimately by any user who wishes to learn any one of the five sign languages offered.
Funded by Leonardo da Vinci Programme of €396,000, 2008-2010