The technological backdrop to our lives is changing all the time. In just 10 years, the landscape has shifted drastically, and not always for the better. Lecture halls used to be full or students scribbling frantically on A4 pads with a pen or paper, desperately trying to take down the teachings of their learned professors. The technological surge we have seen since has resulted in a shift from handwritten to typed note taking. But which is better for you? Let’s take a look…

pen on paper

Total Recall

As typing has come increasingly to the fore, scientists have become more and more interested in the effects typing, rather than writing, has on our memories. The results of their research have shown that writing out our notes by hand can actually boost our memories. The research shows that when writing notes with a pen and paper we’re actually more likely to think about the material at the same time, rather than simply focusing on getting the information down. Although writing by hand might be more laborious, this process can actually help to commit the information to memory.

Digesting Information    

Handwritten notes have also been shown to improve our chances of actually understanding the concepts we’re taking down. The truth is that most people can type a lot faster than they can write. This lack of speed increases the need to summarise the information we’re presented with when taking handwritten notes. With a laptop or a tablet, we’re more likely to type up the lecture by rote. The act of summarising or condensing the information before committing it to paper can help us develop a clearer understanding of the key concepts and ideas. When typing notes, more of our focus is on transcribing the words that are being said, and not what they actually mean.

When it comes to revising for an exam or writing up an essay or assignment, you will also be able to understand handwritten notes (as long as they’re legible) more easily. The use of handwritten notes for essay writing is a tip we’ve been given by professional essay writing service Oxbridge Essays, and is something they swear by, so it’s probably worth taking it on board!

Practicing Spelling

Spelling might seem like a forgotten art, but it’s just as important as ever. For many of us, it’s not until the spell checker is taken away that we realise just how reliant we are. Studies conducted when smartphones first came on the scene found that predictive text and the use of slang had an adverse effect on our ability to spell. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the laptop.

Developing Style

While there are a whole range of formats you can use to take notes on a laptop, none of these styles are personal to you, and have not been tailored to how you learn best. Visual cues are hugely important to the way we learn, and handwritten notes in our own personal style will be far more beneficial than your standard Word doc. Highlighting crucial information, listing bullet points and drawing your own diagrams are all highly beneficial to the learning process.