Taking Notes by Hand Benefits Recall, Researchers Find

The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Distractions posed by laptops in the classroom have been a common concern, but new research suggests that even if laptops are used strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students’ academic performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or pencil.

Daniel M. Oppenheimer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Pam Mueller, a graduate student at Princeton University, studied the effects of students’ note-taking preferences. Their findings will be published in a paper in Psychological Science called “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking.”

The researchers’ goal was to figure out whether typing notes—which is becoming increasingly popular—has any direct effect on a students’ ability to understand a lecture.

In a series of studies, the researchers provided students with laptops or with pen and paper to take notes. (The computers were disconnected from the Internet.) Students were then tested on how well they could recall facts and apply concepts. During the first test, students were told to “use their normal classroom note-taking strategy.” Some typed, and others wrote longhand. They were tested 30 minutes later.

Read the whole story: The Chronicle of Higher Education

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