Why taking notes by hand is more efficient than typing?


Which do you prefer, hand writing notes or typing on a computer keyboard when learning something new?

Possibly, those who like typing insist that we can type significantly faster than writing and that it allows us to do more, like engaging in online activities.

Nevertheless, a couple of studies prove that we learn better when we take notes by hand than when we type on a keyboard. Why is writing down notes with a pen more efficient than typing?

Scientifically speaking, writing in longhand is important because it stimulates a parts of the brain “RAS”(= the Reticular Activating System) that typing simply doesn’t. The RAS acts as a filter for everything your brain needs to process information, giving more attention to the stuff you are currently focused on.

Dr. Virginia Berninger, who studies reading and writing systems and their relationship to learning processes, says the difference between handwriting and typing: the act of handwriting is engaging the brain more actively by using our hands to form the letters and connect them. Typing, on the other hand, involves just selecting letters by pressing identical-looking keys.

Of course, whether the pen or the keyboard depends on your personal experience and comfort with these tools. As a compromise, perhaps stylus-friendly tablet PCs or digital pens may help us learning something better.




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