A Popular Study Found That Taking Notes By Hand Is Better Than By Laptop. But Is It?

A 2014 analysis research with a catchy title is commonly pointed to by those that fear that expertise is having sudden downsides within the classroom. It’s titled “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Benefits of Longhand Over Laptop computer Observe Taking,” and it discovered that college students who took notes on a TED speak by hand did higher on conceptual recall questions afterward than those that typed their notes on a laptop computer.

The research has been cited in different peer-reviewed journals greater than 1,200 instances, based on Google Scholar, and it has been pointed to in op-eds and different standard articles as properly. And it match with the hunches of many “laptop computer skeptics,” says Michelle D. Miller, a psychology professor at Northern Arizona College, “confirming that folks write extra and bear in mind much less when keyboarding.”

However there’s one drawback with the analysis, Miller factors out. When different students have repeated the identical experiment, they haven’t been capable of get the identical outcome.

“Some patterns discovered within the unique research replicated, however some—most notably the conceptual recall query benefit—didn’t,” Miller writes in a forthcoming e-book, “Remembering and Forgetting within the Age of Expertise.” Miller is fast to notice that the authors of the unique research did nothing flawed, and that it’s typical for small research to have findings that grow to be “fragile” when submitted to follow-up research. As she notes: “All this forwards and backwards is sweet social science, however from a sensible standpoint it results in one pretty evident conclusion: If the supposed benefit of handwriting is flaky sufficient, or just sufficiently small, to not reliably present up throughout research, we most likely should not be remaking our classroom insurance policies due to it.”

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Miller has been wanting into what studying science says about every kind of narratives that float round expertise and educating as of late. Do learners bear in mind much less once they can fall again on serps? Do youthful generations that grew up with expertise—so-called digital natives—actually perform higher with machines than older people do? And might tech be used to assist enhance college students’ reminiscence of what they’re taught?

EdSurge linked with Miller to seek out out what she realized about these questions and extra for this week’s EdSurge Podcast.

Hearken to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, or wherever you hearken to podcasts, or use the participant beneath.

As for the research on notice taking, it seems that within the unique and in follow-up research, college students did have a tendency to jot down down extra phrases when utilizing a laptop computer in comparison with once they took notes with pen and paper, and that with a laptop computer they have been extra more likely to take down phrases verbatim. For Miller, the scenario is a name for extra nuance when speaking concerning the influence of expertise on educating.

“We must always … set a a lot greater bar for any future op-ed items singing the praises of handwriting, with the expectation that the authors will both want to supply some main caveats based mostly on the replication query, or a very good rationalization for why these newer findings do not matter,” she says. “That alone could be an enormous contribution … reintroducing nuance and reminding us that one research doesn’t a definitive scientific conclusion make.”


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