There are so many free online courses out there, and I’ve seen all of them – the good, the bad and the ugly!
Here are some of the problems to be aware of so you can choose the right course for your child.
UK English: Many of the free courses use US spellings and grammar which is obviously not ideal for children.
Customisation: Does the course allow you to choose the appropriate level for your child? If not, the lessons can end up either too easy (they get bored), or too hard (they give up).
Ease of use: Typing programmes can be confusing for a child. They can be difficult to navigate and overwhelming making it difficult to know where to start and what to do next. Make sure instructions are clear and learning builds slowly.
Verification: Free online courses let the user skip lessons without checking that the skills have been learnt properly. You will need to closely supervise your child to ensure they follow the lessons in the right order.
Accountability: Free courses are great if your child is super motivated. But more often than not, without someone there to help them through it, most are likely to give up. You will need to make sure they are staying on track.
Motivation: What incentives does the programme offer to help the child continue learning? What criteria do they use to ensure they progress through the programme at the right pace?
Inclusive design: It’s really important that the programme has written and spoken instructions and allows you to change fonts, backgrounds and even content, to make it accessible to children with specific learning difficulties.
Fun: Does the free programme offer age appropriate typing games to make learning fun? Can they be modified to suit the needs of the child?
Focus on accuracy not speed: A programme should always focus on accuracy first but unfortunately many don’t. This can result in children not touch typing correctly, so they end back at square one. What accuracy level does the programme set? Can you change it?
Extension activities: Learning to touch type is the ideal time to practice spellings, complete dictation exercises and story writing. Does the free online programme offer these additional options?
If you don’t want to leave it to chance, why not book a paid course with us? Our tutor supported courses start from £195.