Learn More Effectively By Processing Information And Reframing It In Your Own Words

Princeton University’s Pam A. Mueller and UCLA’s Daniel M. Oppenheimer wrote an article titled, “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking”. Here is part of the abstract, from Psychological Science:

In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.

My take is this: low tech, as in taking notes longhand, requires us to use our brain more. But just because you’re a fast typist who can transcribe lectures verbatim doesn’t mean you can’t process information and reframe it in your own words. I say: take your notebook and type away, just make sure you process the information and use your own words. (I do like taking longhand notes with a good fountain pen and nice paper, but it has less to do with efficient information processing and more to do with the pleasure of writing.)