Type Your Way to Faster E-Learning Development

Any team that produces e-learning is probably looking for ways to reduce the time it takes to create a course. Well, one such way is right at your fingertips—literally! And that’s to increase your typing speed. Typing speed? Really? Isn’t that something you learn in 7th grade?

I did a little informal study on my own daily habits to come up with some statistics. I installed a keystroke counter on my computer and tracked the number of keystrokes I typed every day (letters, numbers, and punctuation). A light day (heavy on meetings and phone calls) was about 2,000 words and a heavy day (heavy on email and production work) was about 4,000 words.

Overall, I averaged 3,280 words per day. I just tested myself at a typing speed 75 correct wpm. That means the typing activity alone for those words (not counting thinking, composing, etc.) was about 44 minutes. Not much you might think. But let’s do the math. (Math on a Friday? Really?) If I typed only 33 words per minute (the average for computer users according to Wikipedia), that same typing would have taken 99 minutes.

Let’s add that up over the course of a year. The average typist would take an extra 227 hours per year to type that much per day. That’s more than 5 weeks of extra typing!* Is that worth spending a little time with Mavis Beacon every day? I would think so.

Here are some tips to help you get some of the same results.

  1. Check your own typing speed. I recommend the three-minute test to get a more accurate number.
  2. If you don’t like your numbers, spend a little time with a typing tutor program. A quick Google search will give you plenty of options. One of my very first jobs was as a resume writer. Because I spent most of the day writing and got paid per resume, I figured out that typing faster would help me be more profitable. So I spent five minutes every day with a typing tutor program. It didn’t take long to get my typing speed up.
  3. Don’t get discouraged if your speed goes down temporarily. If you are moving from a hunt-and-peck typist to a touch typist, you will slow down before you get faster. But you WILL get faster.
  4. If you manage a team or hire contractors, ask yourself what you can do to increase everyone’s speed. Have a contest for fastest speed? Most improved? Offer a slightly higher rate to contractors who type over a certain speed?

*In case you want to see the math, here it is. The time difference to type 3,280 words per day between 75 wpm and 33 wpm is 55.6 minutes per day. Multiply that times 5 days a week and 49 weeks a year (two weeks of vacation and one for holidays) to get 13,636 minutes, which equals 227 hours or 5.68 weeks.

Happy typing! And let us know how it goes!

Diane Elkins
Diane Elkins leads Artisan E-Learning, a custom eLearning development company specializing in the use of rapid- development tools. Diane has been in the eLearning industry since 2001, speaks regularly at national conferences about eLearning, and is co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series.

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