Keyboarding is, perhaps, the most essential of all 21st-century skills
Look around you, keyboards are everywhere. If you’re reading this on your laptop or desktop computer all you have to do is look down and you have one right in front of you. Reading this off your phone or tablet? Open up your browser and try searching for anything on Google. What pops up? That’s right, a keyboard.
Since we use it daily, doesn’t it make sense that we master the keyboard and learn the correct technique to typing? It was this kind of thinking that started my journey on improving my touch typing skills, this eventually led me to TypingClub.
For two weeks, I had set out on a goal to improve my touch typing skills using a variety of tools that were available to me. I stumbled across TypingClub by accident and thought I’d give it a go. After logging numerous hours on TypingClub I’ve witnessed a big improvement with my typing speeds.
Recommended Reading: How to Type Faster: How I improved my typing speed by 42% in 2 weeks
In this article, I review my experience with TypingClub and break down every section of the program. Hopefully, by the end of the article, you will have a good idea if this is the right program for you.
What is TypingClub?
TypingClub is a web-based typing program that takes you through a series of different keyboard exercises to help strengthen your fingers and educate you with the correct technique to touch typing.
Is it free?
Like many web-based programs, TypingClub uses the freemium business model. This means that you’re able to access TypingClub straight away without inputting any credit card information, but if you want to take advantage of any additional perks you’ll have to subscribe to a monthly fee.
Below is a breakdown of Free vs Premium edition:
- Limited Games
- Limited Lesson Plans
- Limited Reports
- Ad Free
- More Games
- More Lesson Plans
- More Reports
- Replay Attempts
- More Themes
In my experience, I found no need to subscribe to the premium package. Although the free edition featured a limited amount of games, lesson plans, and reports, it had more than enough resources and data to improve my typing speed.
What’s included in the lesson plans?
Depending on what lesson plan you select you’ll be given a variety of different exercises that’ll break down the correct technique to touch typing.
For example, I chose to work on the lesson plan titled ‘Typing Jungle’ which included 684 exercises. It starts slow. For the first few exercises you’ll only be working on the letters located on the home row (A, S, D, F, J, K, L and :). The further you progress, you will be introduced to new letters, symbols and numbers, all the while making sure you use the correct positioning.
Every exercise is interactive and it requires you to use the keyboard. A keyboard guide is placed at the bottom of the screen, to remind you where each letter is located and what finger should be used when inputting the character. It’s encouraged to refer to the guide at the bottom of the screen, that way, you’re not looking down at the keyboard and constantly training yourself to focus on the monitor.
Depending on the exercise, you are given a specific set of letters, words or phrases that you have to input correctly. In the beginning, speed isn’t important. You are constantly reminded to slow down and use the correct fingers for better accuracy.
To progress to the next exercise, you will have to hit certain requirements based on your accuracy, speed, and speed goals. As I mentioned earlier, there are a variety of different lesson plans that you can select from, 11 to be exact, and that’s not including the exercises that are in different languages. TypingClub covers exercises in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Slovak and even in Chinese!
In my experience, I only committed to one lesson plan. That was enough for me. For someone who is starting and wanting to learn the correct technique I recommend you start with either ‘Typing Jungle’ or ‘Typing Basics’. If you focus on the exercises within the lesson plan, by the end of exercises you should witness a major improvement.
Educational and entertaining videos are included
TypingClub features short educational videos that are well designed and informative, I’d look forward to them whenever they pop-up, they are littered throughout the ‘Typing Jungle’ lesson plan.
I was impressed with the design, animation, and information that was included in every short video. It kept me engaged and gave me great advice that helped me increase my typing speeds.
Games are included as well
There are a variety of games included throughout the ‘Typing Jungle’ lesson plans. Similar to the educational videos they are randomly placed throughout the exercises, this helps break up the monotony of the lesson plan.
Every game is interactive and it requires you to input the correct letter. You have less time to react, forcing you to type faster, otherwise, it’s game over. Some games feature a furry monster slowly walking towards you, and the only way to combat it is by throwing skulls at it.
Other games require you to hold onto a balloon that is slowly sinking to the ground, the only way to survive is by hopping onto the next one and the next until you’re safe across the other side.
If you subscribe to the premium option you’ll have access to more games. In my experience, the two games I just mentioned were more than enough for me. It was testing my speed and it got complicated as I moved along, at times I had to repeat the game as I kept on falling to my death.
Reports to help you progress
As you progress throughout the lesson plan, TypingClub tracks numerous aspects of your typing technique. From your typing speed to your keyboard coverage, you’ll find many interesting reports about your typing.
Below is an example of one of the many reports that are available to you:
Being aware of your progress is a great method to help you pinpoint your weaknesses and allow you to strengthen them. Similar to the games, the premium version features additional statistical reports. Although, in my experience, I found the free reports to be enough for me to recognise where I needed to improve.
There are various badges that you can achieve throughout your TypingClub journey. None of them will impact your ability to type, but they are little rewards that highlight your progress and hard work.
Below are a few badges that I’ve achieved:
Earned badges like ‘Fast and Furious’ (which means you have typed 90 wpm for over 7 seconds) give you a sense of achievement and highlights your improvement, I know I felt really happy with myself when I achieved that one!
Now and then I’d realise I had unlocked a new badge, it was a nice little achievement, but it wasn’t my intent to go out and collect them all. Increasing my typing speed was the main focus, earning badges was merely an afterthought. It’s a nice touch, I can see how this can keep people who like to reap achievements more engaged within the lesson plan.
A special edition to teach at schools
TypingClub features a service that is available for teachers, allowing them to have complete control over their students’ typing progress. I assume this would be suitable for teachers trying to teach touch typing in a classroom setting.
Similar to the normal edition, the school edition features a free and pro edition.
As I’ve only used the normal edition, I have little to no experience with the school edition.
My overall thoughts
I enjoyed my experience of using TypingClub. Not only did it help improve my touch typing skills, but it kept me engaged with consistent design, informative videos, and interactive exercises.
I found the free edition packed full of enough valuable resources that I felt no need to upgrade to the premium version, but your experience can be different. If you’re trying to improve your touch typing skills and want to stay engaged and have a pleasant experience, you should give TypingClub a go. Within 2 weeks of using the program, I saw a major improvement in my typing skills and I didn’t have to pay a single penny!