I'm trying out all the free typing lessons on the web in the vain hope that something will stick and I'll eventually be able to touch-type. Here’s all the typing posts, including site reviews, if you're interested.
I've moved on from goodtyping.com. Now I'm with learn2type.com. Whereas goodtyping eventually moves you to a pay–per–use model, learn2type is purely ad&ndashsupported. And that's fine. The ads don't really get in the way.
Where the sites do differ is their approach to learning. goodtyping is much easier when you're getting started. It follows the traditional model. You start with the home row and learn progressively more keys over time and the typing drills use real words and sentences (mostly). learn2type on the other hand dumps you right in at the deep end with all the keys. This is great if you are already comfortable with the basics, but I don't think an absolute beginner would find it much fun. I'm glad I started with goodtyping.
That said, learn2type is a much better site once you are beyond the beginner stage. The drills are more challenging, you get nice graphs showing your progress (love those!), and you can learn the numeric keypad as well. The site also claims that it uses a learning algorithm to figure out which keys are giving you trouble so that you can concentrate on them in the drills. Not sure how well that works (then again, I find most of the keys tricky!).
On the whole this “learning to touch–type” project is taking a while. I originally started so that I would be able to write more for this blog. My “natural” typing is pretty fast but has a very high error rate. Writing blog entries just takes too long and the constant backspacing kills my flow. I don't seem to have this problem when I'm coding, but then I use auto&ndashcomplete a lot, so I never have to type that much. Also, when coding, you're mostly thinking, not bashing on the keyboard, so reduced speed is not a big deal.
The biggest challenge is finding enough time to do the drills. I don't know about you but I'm not exactly blessed with much free time between work, clients, kids and required downtime. I get about 5–10 minutes drilling in on a weekday. Probably not enough.
The other thing that is frustrating is the transition to full–time touch–typing. That is really hard. My touch–typing is nowhere near fast enough to use on a daily basis. So I stick with old bad habits with most of my typing. I hope that is not “unwiring” my touch&ndashltyping. I'm kind of hoping that my brain will regard touch–typing as a different “language” and store it in a new brain module (apparently this is the way natural language learning works).
If you know of any good online typing resources, let me know! I intend to try them all out…