Have Smartphones Made Typing Classes Obsolete? Almost, Say Vanderbilt Researchers | Nashville Public Radio

Have Smartphones Made Typing Classes Obsolete? Almost, Say Vanderbilt Researchers

Oct 24, 2016

Smartphones and tablets have changed the way people type, with less time spent on standard keyboards. Now, Vanderbilt University researchers have examined whether training really matters for typing speed and accuracy.

The research team found that trained “touch” typists — who were taught to place their hands on the “home row” and to use all 10 fingers — have an edge in speed.

“But we also found that nonstandard typists can type almost as quickly and accurately as touch typists as long as they can see the keyboard,” said Gordon Logan, professor of psychology.

The speed difference, for example, was 80 words per minute for a standard typist, versus 72 for those were self-taught or non-standard. That’s a relatively small gap, and it is most pronounced when using typing tests that require word-for-word copying of text — which is rare in everyday life.

The speed gap isn’t as dramatic when composing original emails or text messaging.

These findings prompted the team to question whether schools should invest in teaching typing at an early age, as most typists learn one way or another.