Why taking notes by hand is better than doing so on laptops
Researchers have said that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop for remembering conceptual information over the long term.
Psychological scientist Pam Mueller of Princeton University, lead author of the study, said their new findings suggest that even when laptops are used as intended - and not for buying things on Amazon during class - they may still be harming academic performance.
Mueller and psychology researcher Daniel Oppenheimer, who is now at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, conducted a series of studies to investigate whether their intuitions about laptop and longhand note-taking were true.
In the first study, 65 college students watched one of five TED Talks covering topics that were interesting but not common knowledge. The students, who watched the talks in small groups, were either given laptops (disconnected from Internet) or notebooks, and were told to use whatever strategy they normally used to take notes.
The students then completed three distractor tasks, including a taxing working memory task. A full 30 minutes later, they had to answer factual-recall questions (e.g., "Approximately how many years ago did the Indus civilization exist?") and conceptual-application questions (e.g., "How do Japan and Sweden differ in their approaches to equality within their societies?") based on the lecture they had watched.
The results revealed that while the two types of note-takers performed equally well on questions that involved recalling facts, laptop note-takers performed significantly worse on the conceptual questions.
The findings have been published in the journal Psychological Science.
(Posted on 25-04-2014)