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Seb Anthony

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Lack of Progress


I have a number of delegates following the Mavis Beacon course to improve their keyboard skills. To-date they have completed over 7 hours of lessons using the software but I am afraid there has only been a maximum improvement of 4 WPM.

I am reluctant to purchase a different keyboard skills package as we have only just installed the latest Mavis Beacon software. However, my delegates feel they are failing and I feel I am failing them due to their lack of progression.

Do you have any ideas on how I could improve these sessions for them.


Carmen Anderton

6 Responses

  1. Are they looking at the keyboard?
    Hi Carmen

    I don’t know the package you are using and it’s now about 30 years since I learned to type. The main thing I remember our teacher saying was that you will never build up a real speed if you look at the keyboard. Apparently it slows down your response times if you have to use your eyes as well as your memory. We were taught to type by touch alone, never looking at the keyboard. If the package you are using doesn’t use this idea, it might be worth giving it a go.

    Contact me by email if you want to chat about this.

    Good luck


  2. Practice
    Without the use of a keyboard at home to increase the hours progress will be slow.

    Looking at the keyboard doesn’t help but most students will continue to state at it until confidence builds.

    Suggest you do what we did when all our lawyers had to improve their typing skills and try to get them to use the keyboard and mouse in their own out of class time with some prepared excersises.

  3. use NLP
    Hi Carmen,
    The best tip I can give you is ditch Mavis and buy in a 1 day course on improving typing skills by using NLP techniques….I guarantee everyone will have quickened up more in one day than weeks of traditional training..I myself did the training and was much faster immediately as all the fingers postions get magically embedded in your fingers…and it’s longlasting! The company who provided this for me was ODDBALL training
    best of luck! Eleanor

  4. Software package not enough.

    Looking at the keyboard as Jennifer suggests is possibly part of the issue but also I think you might be relying on the software package a little too much. These packages are really only an aid to learning as I think Robert is saying.

    Here are two suggestions that might help.

    1. Every second session, don’t use the software package at all. Set the learners an exercise instead. Perhaps give them a piece of work to copy. If you give them all the same piece you can make a competition of it. Give a small prize to the person who finishes first or completes the most within a given time.
    This has worked well for me in the past because many of us are competitive and it’s easy to keep an eye on anyone who’s struggling and give them extra help.

    2. The other thing I’ve done with success in the past is put a cover (I used tea towels) over the learners’ hands and the keyboard so that they couldn’t see the keys. Sounds daft but it forces the learner to focus their mind on where the keys are, and it works. You can have fun in doing this too! I would only recommend trying this when learners have had good exposure to the basics, which yours would appear to have had.

    Contact me if anything isn’t clear.

    Good luck

  5. Progress in typing
    Hi Carmen,

    The first few hours of touch typing practice are not for speed building. Some packages concentrate on speed but you should first concentrate on accuracy.

    To learn to touch type properly there has to be a decrease in speed to increase accuracy. Then when the learner has increased their accuracy WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE KEYBOARD then they will slowly build up speed.

    Typing should not involve any conscious thoughts about your fingers, their location or which keys are accessed with them. That is why systems that involve learning sayings to remember keys are not productive, because they involve conscious thought.

    Let your learners slow down first, speed will come later.

    Some typing tutors quote figures like 2, 3 or 4 hours to learn to type. You can LEARN how to type in a couple of hours (ie. you can be shown all the keys) but you won’t be a touch typist.

    If your learners are concerned about their progress after seven hours with only a 4 wpm speed increase then they have unrealistic goals.

    More information on typing skills can be found at or websites.

    David Batty

  6. Not sure you are failing…
    I think like the others who have commented that maybe you are expecting too much.

    In one of my previous roles we asked an external provider who were prepping applicants on a return to work skills course to ensure that all attendees left the one month course with a minimum typing speed of 35 wpm in order to ensure that they would be able to cope with demands in a call centre environment.

    They practiced for one hour a day using a standard typing tutor programme and the biggest improvements came in the last week of the four week course. There were 15 people on the course, a large number who had never used a keyboard before but at the end of that period all but one of them could type at 35wpm. So don’t despair about 7 hours worth of progress – I agree with comments regarding accuracy first, speed second. I’m not sure I agree about looking at the keys as I did this until about a year ago and have always had a typing speed of 55-60 wpm which has not increased with touch typing.

    I do have some questions for you though – how often are you running these sessions? If it’s once a week then it’s not often enough the learning won’t stick. How long are the sessions you are running? If it’s less than half an hour then they won’t learn much because the first fifteen minutes or so will be warming up and trying to settle in. If it’s much longer than an hour then I would have thought that they would be tiring (and thus slowing down naturally) and bored too.

    Do the delegates have access to keyboards outside of the session (echoing an earlier comment)? If not then again it will take longer to learn (I know this from my own painful and long process of trying to learn to drive – and I still haven’t passed my test!).

    You also don’t say how fast your delegated could type in the first place – if you have acheived a 4wpm increase on 70wpm then that’s pretty impressive in itself. And if you have achieved a 4wpm increase on 20wpm then that’s a 20% improvement in 7 hours which could well be considered a success too. So maybe just maybe (as someone else has already suggested) your expectations are too high and thus a little unrealistice.


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