The introduction of digital technologies has revolutionized many industries, including education. Most students and learning instructors have evolved from using traditional paper communication tools to using electronic devices like smartphones and laptops. This approach to education systems has increased in popularity especially following the COVID-19 pandemic that forced schools to shut down to minimize the spread of the virus. The internet and electronic devices facilitated the continuation of classes online during the pandemic. Fortunately, online learning promotes increased information retention, especially since students can tap into multiple resources and tools while online. However, technology is not always beneficial.
Note-taking remains a critical part of the learning process regardless of which type of learning students undergo: online or in-person classes. Successful students leverage note-taking as a form of examination preparation. The introduction of electronic systems has changed how people keep records in various settings, including eClosing. There are a lot of controversies around which note-taking method is better. Although digital technologies improve note-taking ability, they may hinder learning efficacy. It is important to appreciate the significance of keeping electronic devices from children, especially since they may negatively affect their development. This article provides insights on the pros of taking notes by hand to help students decide which method to apply.
A large part of the current population has access to an electronic device. These devices offer convenient and flexible ways to perform functions. Some students might find that typing notes on a laptop is faster than writing by hand on paper. However, these devices can be a source of distraction, especially when students use these devices for activities that are unrelated to learning.
Digital notes vs. paper notes
The introduction of online learning has encouraged educators to expand online learning programs. These programs have necessitated the introduction of interactive learning trends influencing the use of electronic devices to enhance the learning experience. Developers have developed various school organization apps to help students take notes. Although these apps promote efficiency, they may limit student performance of conceptual examination questions. Typing on a laptop involves directly transcribing an educator’s verbatim. While note-taking, students need more time to process information. Unlike traditional hand note-taking, this reality causes students to refrain from reframing details in their own words.
Digitally taking notes causes learning impairment, whereby a student can hear and capture information but cannot absorb and digest it accordingly. This learning impairment results in notes containing facts but a student needing more conclusions from a lecture. Therefore, conceptual and open-ended questions become challenging to answer.
What sets old-school note-taking apart from digital note-taking?
Although there has been plenty of evolution in digital note-taking, traditional note-taking has also improved. Digital note-taking allows for faster information writing, while writing by hand ensures quality. Students who use longhand note-taking write significantly fewer words compared to those who leverage electronic devices.
The average writing speed is 13 words per minute. However, the average typing speed is 40 words per minute. The pace of longhand writing effectively slows down the note-taker, allowing enough time for information processing. Students who use longhand note-taking can conclude independently based on their lecturer’s information and add side notes or diagrams. Typing requires a note-taker to focus on transcribing words leading to shallow, superficial understanding. Typing is only effective for recording but does not promote learning.
What are the best note-taking practices for students?
The best way to get the most out of notes is to review them after a lecture. Although longhand note-taking is ideal, it does not mean using digital technologies to take notes only generates negative results. The introduction of technology is an inescapable reality that significantly affects the modern learning environment. Implementing various methodologies and practices might improve the learning efficacies of digital note-taking. For example, students should opt for touchscreen devices that mimic longhand note-taking. Introducing stylus pens allows students to reap the benefits of longhand note-taking while promoting digital note-storing. Learners and educators should adjust their perceptions, recognize the potential risk of digital note-taking, and develop ways around this issue. Educators should encourage their students to find note-taking methods, like Cornell or charting, that they do without having to throw away their electronic devices.