Touch typing skills are motor pattern skills that develop with practice. Therefore the beginning typist should repeat a typing exercise until they are satisfied with their performance.
A positive learning environment is needed in which enjoyment occurs via the learner’s accomplishments. Programs should have encouragements in terms of variety in exercise material. They should also have a variety of feedback to enhance the learning opportunity.
Games create the wrong learning environment
Programs that”zap the aliens” might be fun for students, but they actually distract from the learning environment and fail to enforce good habits. Adult as well as young learners need a program that not only provides repetition, but also one that minimizes boredom without the use of games. The “trick” is to vary the pace and change the method of feedback to keep the user’s interest. With interesting exercises, they will be willing to practice longer. Repetition is necessary to learn the keystrokes.
Flash cards are an important feature in all Nimble Finger programs. They offer a change of pace and challenge the beginning as well as more advanced student to practice without becoming bored.
The benefits are increased speed, better accuracy, and development of automatic keystroke response. The necessary repetition and practice suddenly becomes a fun activity.
Repetition in context
It is easier to accept that repetition is necessary when learning to type if the material can be given in a constructive, helpful context rather than just hitting keys. The Nimble Fingers series of programs uses a learning guide called the “Little Professor” which automatically assesses each student’s progress. When additional practice is needed, the professor sends the student back to the classroom to strengthen weak areas.
This is a gentle method of grading the individual learner. Students are aware that going “back to the classroom” will require more practice. They may even try harder to avoid having to go back. However, any additional practice will be directed to only troublesome areas thus avoiding unnecessary boredom and repetition.
Repetition and Learning
At least some degree of repetition is needed in learning all tasks. Infants use it to learn to speak. Athletes use it to perfect athletic skills. Musicians use repetition to learn difficult chords. One can even argue that after our first baby steps, we learned to walk by repeating the motion. After numerous repetitions, some went on to become Olympic track champions.
For our purposes, repetition will be divided into two categories: Intellectual and motor reflex pattern development. The swing of a golf club is an example of the development of motor reflex pattern. One’s ability to develop motor patterns has little to do with understanding complex psychological interactions.
Some people have difficulty connecting their swing and the golf ball, yet they excel in intellectual tasks. Conversely, not all athletically gifted people are good at learning intellectual tasks.
Learning to type will take time!
Learning requires repetition. Don't "whack your head."
Nimble Fingers will try to make the learning experience fun.
Learning multiplication tables, how to play the piano, how to type and many other subjects all depend on repetition or drill to master the subject. It is a springboard by which users can progress to mastering higher cognitive skills. We do not have to understand such drills to learn them. We simply have to repeat the experience until motor patterns develop.
Another term for repetition is “repeated experiences.” The concept that underlies learning is that without repeated experience, key brain synapses do not form. If such connections, once formed, are not used frequently enough to be strengthened and reinforced, the brain figures they are dead weight and eventually “prunes” them away.
That is, once a skill, such as touch typing has been learned, it must be used in order not to lose at least a portion of that skill. One must have “repetition” to “repeat” that which is necessary for learning.
Touch Typing Involves Motor Pattern Development
Individuals who are excellent learners and who are able to quickly grasp complex interactions often have little patience with repetition. They view repetition as an unnecessary waste of time. However, those same people may need repletion in the development of motor reflex patterns.
They fully understand the concept of finger-keystroke reaches, and believe that one must use the correct finger to strike the assigned key. But they tend to think “So what?”
It is often difficult for individuals who do not normally require massive amounts of repetition to appreciate that they need repetition. Repetition is the way we develop the motor-reflex response patterns needed to master a skill.
The trick to accepting repetition is determined by how much repletion is needed and to repeat without undue boredom setting in.
The process of learning to type begins with the home row keys. Yes, this is a small amount of material to master. Some beginners will catch on quickly, while others will need to repeat the material many times until they achieve the level of comfort needed to progress to additional finger reach-key strokes.
In mastering touch typing skills, we are somewhat unique in that we do not have to worry about learning versus understanding versus repetition. If one is learning concepts, they must understand the subject material. Otherwise, there is no enhancement of skills. Without understanding the complex issues, learning would only consist of repeating back exactly what was learned without any opportunity to build on a framework of knowledge.
Repetition is needed
Initially some repetition is required in learning. Beginners must know enough about the subject to have a basis of knowledge, and the basics probably have to be said more than once. However, in typing, the basis of knowledge is in the form of a brief exposure to the reason for learning to type. In other words, a one minute discussion on improving your efficiency should take care of that requirement.
We are not really trying to gain knowledge in the subject of typing. We are developing motor patterns through repetition. Repetition is needed until the motor patterns have become automated. The more times a neuronal pathway in the brain is used, the more that circuit remembers.
Repetition creates confidence that one can see progress toward accomplishing a goal. Target speeds are set forth that are achievable based on where the student is in the learning process.
Typing programs can be “fit into” a flexible schedule. The Nimble Fingers approach is to make the exercises as interesting as possible. Repetition is needed until the response is fully automated. However, by maintaining interest and by showing the user the progress they are making, boredom will be minimal.
More Free Things
Limb & Body Exer.
Teaching - Learning
Data Entry Program
Chart of Accounts
Typing TipsSet up a schedule. Unless you establish a "schedule for learning" it is all to easy to find an excuse for not practicing. The Little Professor never promised you a rose garden. It takes practice to develop keyboarding skills.
Develop a routine. Set the work environment like you want it to optimize your learning sessions. Don’t let the chair height; tilt of the monitor, location of the keyboard or posture vary from session to session.
Practice is needed! Remember, you need repetition in order to learn.
Target Speed.   After completing an exercise, speed and accuracy are shown. The Nimble Fingers series of programs use the concept of target speed. Did you reach the target speed? It is not easy; in fact it will take a lot of practice. Target speed is based on your speed in words per minute. The computer has several messages to display, depending on your performance.
Target speed examples.
Not up to target speed. You typed less than 10 words per minute. Unless this is the first couple of exercises, you can do better! Try the exercise again to see if improvements can be made.
Almost missed target speed range. You typed between 10 and 14 words per minute. If you are concentrating on using the correct fingers to strike the keys, you probably will be in this slow-speed range. Don’t worry, speed will improve if you concentrate on using the correct fingers.
Almost a bull’s eye. You typed 15 to 19 words per minute.
Bull’s eye. You reached the target speed. Your speed is 20 to 24 words per minute. For a beginner, that’s “heavenly.”
Exceeded target speed with no errors. Your speed is 25 or more words per minute with no errors.
© Copyright 2007 by Prof Ware.
® NimbleFingers is a registered trademark of Prof Ware.