“To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand: Students do worse on quizzes when they use keyboards in class.“
Written by Robinson Meyer for The Atlantic, May 1 2014.
It seems the pen is mightier than the keyboard. At least when it comes to taking notes. As the article explains, “A new study—conducted by Mueller and Oppenheimer—finds that people remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes, rather than typed ones.”
They point out that laptop notetakers tend to take verbatim notes, whereas with handwritten notes it’s almost impossible to write down everything that’s said. So in one phase of the study they warned subjects in advance, explicitly telling them not to take verbatim notes because it may hinder recall. And guess what?
“Knowing how and why typed notes can be bad doesn’t seem to improve their quality. Even if you warn laptop-notetakers ahead of time, it doesn’t make a difference. For some tasks, it seems, handwriting’s just better.”
And what happens if you let people study from their typed notes before quizzing them?
“If someone took verbatim notes on their laptop, then studying seemed more likely to hinder their performance on the quiz.”
Many of the patients I work with find that handwriting notes during meetings (including therapy sessions) or classes also helps them maintain focus in addition to improving recall.
If you would like to read more about the study, you can read about it in The Atlantic by clicking here.