Surprise! Taking notes with pen and paper proven to be more effective.

From: For More Effective Studying, Take Notes With Pen and Paper

According to a new study, Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University and UCLA Los Angeles respectively, students who write out their notes by hand actually learn more than those to type their notes on laptops. Over the course of several experiments, Mueller and Oppenheimer tested students’ memories for factual detail, conceptual comprehension, and synthesizing capabilities after half of them took notes by hands and the other half took notes by way of computer. Students who used laptops cranked out more words than hand-writers did, but the hand-writers ended up with a stronger conceptual understanding across the board.


Why? You can read the article, but the short version is that when we write by hand we have to process the material more, and thereby learn it better. Makes sense.

Of course, the converse would also be true. If you just want to dump your unedited ideas in text form (for say, brainstorming) then a computer would be a better tool because it has less steps between you and the data output. Something to think about.

Now if could only convince my students that their laptops aren’t helping them study!