Typing on a keyboard (hardware or virtual) might be quicker than writing things out with pen and paper, but for learning and long-term memory, handwriting trumps the keyboard. Photo by birkancaghan.
The Wall Street Journal discusses several studies that show students who took handwritten notes outperformed those who typed their notes on their computers:
Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.
It seems the problem is that when taking notes on our laptops, we can't help but take notes by rote, almost word by word. We take more notes more quickly at the computer, but don't put as much thinking into them as we do when writing by hand.
Writing works better than typing because it stimulates and engages our brains more.
So the next time you want to learn new information, ditch the keyboard and break out your paper notebook or write on your tablet.
Can Handwriting Make You Smarter? [The Wall Street Journal]