Which is better - taking notes by hand or typing? Well, according to some recent research, writing notes on paper might be the best way to avoid forgetting that really important report you promised to send to your boss by Monday.
In a study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles set out to see which is more effective - taking notes longhand or typing on a laptop.
They conducted a series of tests comparing the two note taking methods and, interestingly, their study points to pen and paper as the better choice for information processing and retention. Here are the key reasons Mueller and Oppenheimer give for why writing by hand seems to be more effective:
- People taking notes longhand typically can’t write as fast as they type and therefore need to be more selective about what they write down. This extra level of processing helped the study participants learn and retain more.
- Laptop note takers tend to type everything they hear. The more words that study participants copied verbatim, the worse they performed on recall tests.
- Laptops and tablets are distracting – it's easy to click over to Facebook or check your email.
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