A rising freshmen is visiting a college they are interested in. They sit in on a class, look around and notice something about the students. Much like the way movies portray college students, the majority of the ones in class seem to be on their laptops taking notes. There is only a small portion of students who are jotting down notes in their notebooks, as the teacher is lecturing. Recent findings have shown that people who take the time to physically write notes on a paper tend to be able to recall information better than those who take notes electronically. Guess the old fashioned way of taking notes throughout history beats new ways of taking notes on technology! People who take notes on a computer typically has more notes, in comparison to those who write.
Can it be arguably supported that students who write notes down with a paper and pen actually get more out of class lectures? In cognitive psychology, acts such as writing notes down transfers to the hippocampus, which is where information will be encoded, stored and eventually retrieved during test time. There are two different types of memories, implicit and explicit, which both work differently. Implicit memory focuses more on perception of the world around. On the other hand, explicit memory focuses on the meaning, concepts and stays in long-term memory. In a study that Mueller and Oppenheimer conducted, the notes that people on laptops took showed higher amounts of verbatim, which shows that there is a lower level of retaining the information in their memory. Both students who took notes on paper and on their laptop took a test after sitting in a lecture, for the experiment. The results showed that people who took notes by hand had more conceptual understanding and therefore learned more. The increase in conceptual comprehension in people who write notes show that they store material in their explicit memory, which is where long term memory stores information as well. Hence, there is a better chance for theses students to recall information better on tests.
Why do so many students take notes on their laptops then? People deem the use of technology as a new efficient way of recording notes. They are also able to record notes faster than by hand. Henceforth are able to record more notes in detail. The answer may seem convincing, but overall it is best not to fall for these reasons and it is better to just switch to writing notes down.
Students who take notes by hand write slower, thereby forcing them to efficiently and mentally summarize key points of information into concise sentences or bullets. There are less levels of verbatim in their notes as a result. They are then able to encode information better and in a more meaningful way, summarizing information in their own words or chunk information in a way that is more memorable. When information is encoded with meaning, there is a better chance of later recalling the information.
With ever advancing technology in our generation today, it is most likely to be expected that not as many people will revert back to taking notes by hand. However, there is hope that people may switch from typing up notes to writing them out on their tablets or computers with a stylus. Students will still have the opportunity to write down notes, not necessarily on paper, but the effect will be the same. By handwriting notes, students can better avoid excessive information and have a higher chance in recalling information on tests.