This isn't really a suggestion, more of an idea Duolingo may want to research to see if its worth doing. I've had a few family members who I've tried to get into Duolingo because they want to learn another language, but have given up saying its too slow. Now I don't know if learning another language isn't really that important to them and so thats the reason they gave up, or they do happen to be elderly people, or its because they don't know how to type.
I know I couldn't keep learning here if I didn't know how to type. Two finger, hunt and peck typing would be too frustrating. And since Duolingos interface for teaching languages is perfect for teaching how to type, especially the timed practice framework. You're just asked to type aaa ;;; sss lll ddd kkk, that old junk over and over. Then over time advance to words. You could even have a tree with lesson blocks like letter, characters, punctuation, Capitalization, words, 20wpm, 30wpm, 40wpm..........
I know its far fetched, but maybe if its possible you can compare the amount of people who stay or the length of their stay or peoples login frequency against there speed they work their way through the lesson question to question, because that more then likely has more to do with their typing speed than their thinking speed. Then maybe that data will show that slow typers don't stay too long and then people who can't type have no chance then maybe given the number of people were talking about, it may be feasible to teach typing in Duolingo. That way people who are interested in Duolingo but can't type can be part of the team and maybe even get people who just want to learn to type, but then stay because they like the gaming side of it all.
You could even tack it on to a language they may want to learn. That maybe harder I would imagine but maybe worth doing. It really only takes like a month, even less, to learn to type.
To be honest, I highly doubt that someone who doesn't use the computer a lot and/or hasn't taken the initiative to learn to type better on their own will benefit all that much from Duolingo offering touch typing lessons. Touch typing is already gamified everywhere, and for free. It just seems like a large investment of time and resources into something that has fairly predictable results. People who genuinely want to learn a language from Duolingo (and like it enough that they'd stick around to translate real world text) probably aren't going to be impeded by poor typing skills alone.
Not to mention keyboard layouts are often different from language to language (punctuation, accents, etc).
You got a point with people who just want to learn to type coming here. Apparently there is other, more entertaining places to go. Though I still feel Duolingo has a lot to gain, because I would think there are those that would come here just to learn to a language but get turned off by the typing aspect. They might not want to lean to type but once they see learning a language is impossible without learning to type they'll say, sure I'll go through this typing tree. Christ, I know people in Academia and Engineers that spend there days writing emails and proposal, that although I must say, do a good job at typing with only four fingers, but they have to look at the keyboard.
Whos to say the number of people are turned off that don't know how to type. I think I once heard a statistic, I think it was around 80 percent of Duolingo users don't stay more than two weeks Maybe a lot of them either don't know or are poor typers.
As far as keyboard layout goes. You type aaa ;;;, ttt uuu..... wherever it is on your keyboard, it maybe a little difficult, but basically all keyboards are the same.
Edit : Sorry I made a mistake about the statistic, (fix), 80 of Duolingo users DON'T stay more than two weeks.
Well this is just my opinion as a user. There are probably sites that will teach typing, and in any case that can be done by yourself just by memorizing the keyboard and practicing on a blank web page and just from life experiences if anyone really wants to do something they will, if they say too slow to type, well then don't give up, practice typing and while you're here that is practice in itself, just sounds kinda "excusey" to me. and people have a million and one excuses.
Like I said, the suggestion was for Duolingo to research it. May even involve real life observations. If the data shows they can increase the number of users by say ten percent if they just knew how to type, then Duolingo has a reason to teach them and not hope they teach themselves.
Besides, I could have gone online read french website articles with google translate, reading and translating for me, with mistakes sure, but little by little I would have learned and I could have done it. But Duolingo makes it easier and if it takes a gaming environment to get someone to learn to type, so be it.
I think a Typing Tree is a nice idea. Learning how to type has helped me a lot in many ways, I learned by using a computer programme myself where the approach was even more gamified than here. The only objection is that it might take too much time to develop this feature, so that they should rather spend that time on something else instead, but apart from that, I think it's a good idea.
I've seen actual games on game concoles that are typing oriented and am amazed, but I think all that is just gimmicks brought about by one company trying to get others market share. I learned to type back in the day when if you wanted to type you had to do it on a typewriter. Back then if you wanted to learn to type it was, start with the home keys, aaa ;;; aaa ;;; aaa ;;;............. theres not much to it, buckle down and do it, it really takes just a few weeks, its easy.
I already know how to type. I will not benefit from this. I leave it up to Duolingo to determine, if they will. They know how much the implementation will cost and I feel they can easily see if there is benefit through research. Besides the lessons will not be hard to put together. You can throw away the listen and write questions, the multiple choice, drop downs, the discussion boards, the hover over vocab words. The construct is there just fill in the content, its just data entry. The only see I think will be hard is making every lesson a timed lesson, which I don't see as that hard.