Young people, students and professionals who have not yet learned to touch-type will do well to consider making this small learning investment that will reap benefits for life, an education expert says.
Touch typing is a skill that allows you to type on a keyboard without looking at the keys, using all ten fingers and relying on your muscle memory. It is a skill that can benefit you throughout your life, whether you are a student, a professional, or simply someone who uses a computer regularly, says Dr Bronwyn Batchelor, Head of Faculty: Law at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s leading private higher education provider.
“Everyone is interested in productivity hacks – those little or not so little interventions that will make their work or studies easier or more efficient. But the productivity hack that outshines all others is learning how to touch-type,” says Batchelor.
Shortly after COVID-19, Dr Batchelor co-authored a paper investigating the impact of students’ typing competency on their results, given that many who had to submit typed assessments during lockdowns were used to submitting hand-written papers.
“That was one small aspect of looking at typing competency, but this really applies to everyone on their academic and career journeys,” she says.
“Ask anyone who can touch-type as opposed to using the ‘hunt-and-peck’ method, and they will confirm that this skill has stood them in good stead.”
Even though touch-typing can be learnt in as little as 10 hours, its benefits are life-long and the return on this time investment is significantly outsized, Dr Batchelor says.
These benefits include:
Improved productivity, speed and accuracy
Touch-typing significantly increases typing speed from a low of around 30 words per minute to a high of 80 words per minute. This means work can be completed faster and more efficiently, whether it be assignments, essays, emails, coding, or other tasks. Touch-typing also reduces errors and typos, as one’s eyes are fixed and concentrated on the screen and the content, rather than the keyboard and the fingers.
Freeing up brainpower
Being able to touch type takes away the barrier between the work that needs to be done and getting the work done. Once you are able to touch-type, it is as easy as speaking. So, you can put your thoughts directly onto paper, without having your flow throttled by the act of typing.
Touch typing can also improve your brain functions, such as memory, concentration, and creativity. By using touch typing, you can free up your cognitive resources from finding keys to focusing on the information and the ideas you want to convey. Touch typing also helps you develop your muscle memory, which is the ability to perform a task without conscious effort, which aids in cognitive development.
Touch typing can make multitasking easier and more effective, as you can type and do other things at the same time, such as listening, reading, or speaking. This can enhance your communication and collaboration skills, as well as your productivity.
Improved career prospects
As a result of improved productivity, touch-typers have the ability to produce more, more consistently. This aids their track record in the long run. Touch typing is also a valuable skill that can boost career prospects and resumé value, especially where employers require candidates who can type fast and accurately, as this can save time and money, as well as improve the quality of work.
“Touch typing is quick and easy to learn, and is within reach of everyone to accomplish,” says Batchelor.
“It makes sense therefore, in preparation for the new year, to learn this valuable skill if you have not yet mastered it, and in particular if you are a student heading or returning to university.”
*For those interested in learning how to touch-type, the following avenues can be explored: Typing games and apps which are fun and interactive. These include Type Saga, Typing Cat, and How to Type. Typing courses and tutorials are structured and comprehensive ways to learn touch typing and some of these include Pitman Training, The Knowledge Academy, and Typing Mentor.