Laptops vs pen and paper

In an experiment, students were given Ted Talks to watch and were told to take notes, half with laptops, the other with pen and paper.

  • The students using a keyboard were more likely to type the lecturers' words verbatim without processing the information. 
  • The students writing by hand were slower and had no choice but to engage with the information in order to write down summaries. Afterwards, they were better able to explain the concepts covered in the lecture.

@markd17

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Problem Solving

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Recording lectures to replay later has shown to have no added benefits compared to paying attention the first time without the possibility of watching it again.

  • The advantage of watching it again is that you don't have to worry about taking notes and can focus your full attention on it.
  • The benefit of taking notes is that it forces you to process the information and think about it before you can summarize it.

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RELATED IDEAS

Note Taking

Students who take notes during a lecture or presentation achieve more than those who just passively listen.

Note-taking makes one's attention focused on the ideas being discussed, and also leads to a review of the lesson being taught. It is a good idea to take complete and detailed notes, as one study shows that the more note the students take, the higher is their achievement. Omitting details or examples is common among students, but is not advisable.

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IDEAS

Using a laptop is not an ideal way to take notes or to learn, during a lecture.

  • A laptop distracts and impairs the learning process, as you might be tempted to play games or multitask with it during lectures.
  • In the old-school hand-written method, you are processing the information, leading to better understanding and learning.
  • How you use the computer also matters, and many students can use the internet to learn or re-check information on the fly.
Scientific Backed Ways To Learn Better
  1. Learn faster and retain more by imagining that you have to teach someone else what you are learning
  2. Sleeping between two learning sessions greatly improves retention.
  3. Changing the way you practice a new motor skill can help you master it faster.
  4. Dedicating 30-50 minutes sections to learning new material separated by 10 minute breaks is an efficient way of learning.
  5. Make note cards by hand for the more difficult concepts you are trying to master so you can use them in idle moments.
  6. Taking notes with pen and paper instead of digitally will help you learn and comprehend better as it takes more focus, making you listen more actively and better identify concepts.
  7. Practice distributed learning, or “spacing.” It consists of reviewing the information one to two days after first studying it.
  8. Downtime is important when it comes to retaining what you learn, and getting sleep in between study sessions can boost your recall up to six months later.

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