Laptops Out, Notebooks In (Affirmative 2)

As convenient as it is to get your notebook out during lecture time and put your Mavis Beacon skills to the test, you’re better off writing your notes by hand. It’s already clear how distracting electronics can be. Not only that, it’s been proven that taking notes on your laptop affects learning.

Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles published a study that proves the slower you take your notes (by hand), the more you remember. So instead of thinking your typing skills of 80 wpm are effective, it’s time to slow down.

Mueller said to NPR that “when people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can. The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.” An idea mentioned in their findings is the hypothesis of encoding. This is when a person is note taking, “the processing that occurs” will improve learning and retention.

An experiment was done where students were shown a TED Talk and were supposed to take notes. Although the students who took notes their laptops had more information than the notebook students, when tested over the material it was the notebooks students who recalled more information. Mueller and Oppenheimer state that “this is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions”.

The most important thing in school is to learn. By taking notes by hand, you are increasing your ability to learn which leads to success. This is why classic learning tools are so important.