Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 01 December |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Charles de Foucauld
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

The benefits of taking notes by hand (and leaving the laptop for later)

NOTE TAKING

Danil Nevsky | Shutterstock

Daniel Esparza - published on 09/01/17

Writing -- not typing -- requires careful listening and instant decision-making about what is relevant and what is not.

In some countries, entering a classroom and running into legions of students who have traded their pencils and notebooks for laptops is quite a common sight.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that these laptops are not being used to watch anything on Netflix or for liking whatever comes across the internet during class time, but that students are indeed taking notes on them. Even if that were the case, that’s still the worst thing a student can do. Taking notes on a computer actively interferes with our ability to retain information.

According to a study conducted by psychologists Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, and reviewed by Vox in April 2016, taking notes directly on a laptop is the worst thing a student can do if he wants to learn something. Usually, students only unthinkingly type everything the teacher says. Those who take notes by hand, on the other hand, have to listen carefully and decide what is important and what is not. The reason? Generally, we cannot write fast enough as to follow everything, and this forces us to prioritize information, discriminating among details that may be irrelevant. Ultimately, this process helps us learn more — and better.

The study also revealed, after a series of experiments, that laptop users have more difficulty in answering conceptual questions, which involve the development and analysis of ideas. Students who use laptops tend to simply reproduce whatever is being said in the session. When the note-taking process is done the old fashioned way, using a pencil or pen on a sheet of paper, the need to think during class and employ an active listening process makes all the difference.

Tags:
HumanitiesPsychology
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.