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The pen is mightier than the keyboard

If you wanna learn better, write it don’t type.

by | Aug 4, 2019 | Writing

Typing has become very common for note-taking in classrooms or libraries, but have you ever stopped to think if you are doing the right thing when you are keying in words and ideas into your smartphone, tablet, or laptop? Let’s see why writing by hand helps you learn better.

Sure, typing is fast, but according to a recent study conducted at Princeton University and University of California, Los Angeles, people are not aware just how terrible laptops are for note-taking in classrooms.

“Many researchers have suggested that laptop note taking is less effective than longhand note taking for learning. Prior studies have primarily focused on students’ capacity for multitasking and distraction when using laptops. The research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.”

— Pam A. Mueller (Princeton University – US)

In simpler terms, when you take notes using a pen/pencil, the slow physical process involves your brain much more and would give it more processing time, hence better learning.

What do you think? Do you take notes with a pen/pencil or type? Which do you think is more efficient? Leave a comment and share your personal experiences with other learners.

About the Author

About the Author

CEO and Co-founder of Juice Academy

Mehdi Safavi is a Cambridge certified English teacher (CELTA Grade A), IDP-trained IELTS expert, Sussex Downs College TESOL with 17+ years of teaching & teacher training experience. More about him →

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