Note-Taking By Hand Is More Beneficial To The Brain Than Using Laptops


Taking notes using laptops might be faster and more efficient but a latest study revealed that taking notes the old-fashioned way proves to be more beneficial and productive.

With more powerful and smaller laptops being introduced, they have become must-have staples for students, especially in note-taking because they allow students to take down as much information as possible. However, they also provide a lot of distractions for the student as they can easily open their Facebook when the class becomes boring. Thus, a lot of information slipped away because of inattention.

In a study conducted by Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California and Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University, the brain is affected differently when students take notes by hand or using their laptops.

The researchers ask students to participate in a study and divided them into two groups. The first group were taken in a room where they have to watch TED lectures and take down notes using pen and paper while the other group use their laptops. As expected, those who used their laptops copied more words. However, there is no difference between the two groups regarding how much information they retain. The real clincher came in conceptual application where those who too notes by hand understood the concepts of the lesson more than those who used their laptops.

A second study was conducted to find out which group will fare well in recall tests. The students were specifically instructed not to take notes verbatim. Despite this instruction, however, those who were using laptops could not resist the urge and still proceeded to type as many information they can. The result of the second test showed that those who took notes by hand have longer recall and memory retention of the lessons they've had.

Finally, the researchers conducted a third study to test the external storage hypothesis, the ability of students to look back at their own notes and that of others as well. What researchers found out is very surprising because it breaks the myth that those who get more information can perform better. It turned out, however, that those who have taken down notes by hand has far better external storage and encoding functions.

Despite their findings, the researchers admitted that it will be difficult to convince students to go back to the traditional method of note-taking. Fortunately, there are new technologies, such as stylus and tablets, to emulate these traditional methods giving student more choices.

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