The Koch Method

This method was devised by German psychologist Ludwick Koch in the 1930′s and was overlooked for many years but now with computers being common place and software available to learn Morse Code using his system it is becoming more popular. This method of learning should become the standard for learning Morse Code because by using a reflex method (Instant Recognition), once you have learned the character and it is embedded in your subconscious memory, you don’t have to think about that character again.

To simply define a reflex action we can associate it with driving a car and someone jumps out in front of your, do you think about stopping, or do your feet automatically go to the clutch and brake peddle without thinking about it.

If you had thought about braking you would have hit the person jumping out in front of you because you lost time thinking about it, but with having a reflex action you probably would have stopped in time. Instant Recognition is when you no longer see the character in your mind, but you see the letter instead.

To start learning Morse using the Koch Method you start with learning only two characters which are sent with a character speed recommended at 20wpm and an overall speed of 12wpm which will be sent in 5 letter groups for 3 minutes. When you are able to copy 90% of the Morse sent you can then add another character. Again when you are able to copy 90% of the Morse sent you again add another character. This repeats till you know all of the characters. (If you can’t differentiate between some characters then you may need to reduce the character speed to a level where you can. Speeds lower than 15wpm are not recommended.)

Because of the different Morse Aptitude levels this way of learning cannot be done properly as group activity successfully, as some students will find it easier than others and you will find that all your students are all at different levels. It is best as an Instructor to treat each student individually and plan the training as such. You do not want to hold back students from advancing because of slower students.

Suitable software for you to use on your computer that use the Koch Method can be found here. When you have installed the program on your computer, it is automatically set up to start learning Morse with 2 characters, The program has lots of different options which you can play with but remember initially you are learning Morse so stay with the default settings. You must try and do at least half an hour training every day and you can split it up into 2 separate 15 minutes session. That is the least amount you need, but on the other side do not overdo it as this can cause you problems. You want to be able to enjoy the learning process and relax and you will advance quicker.

Do not try and rush the learning process by adding characters when you are not really proficient because it will impact on you in the long run and the learning process may take longer. One student decided to add characters when he achieved 80% and regretted it, he now says it is best to go for 95% copy and not try to rush the learning process.