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Taking notes by hand more effective than by laptop, study finds

Posted at 1:47 PM, Sep 08, 2022

Laptops have replaced pens and pencils as the most used school supply, although kids who write their notes by hand may be better off in the long run.

They had a higher median GPA than classmates who typed their notes, according to a recent study from Five Star. They were more likely to turn in their work on time and better at retaining information.

“Longhand has this characteristic that you wouldn’t necessarily think of, of slowing you down, and by slowing you down, it forces you to think more.,” said Daniel M. Oppenheimer, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. “And thinking more helps you learn.”

Oppenheimer said students who type their notes are more likely to transcribe what they’re hearing without stopping to think about it.

“We can’t write quickly enough to cite everything that a person says,” he said. “So instead, we have to summarize it in our own words. In order to do that, we have to really listen to the argument, understand what’s being said, pull out what’s important, and put that down in our own words.”

Oppenheimer said the key is to pay attention. You don’t have to stop taking notes on a laptop, but you’re better off listening and summarizing than just typing everything you hear.