Is the pen mightier than the keyboard?
In comparison with the pen, taking notes on a keyboard sure is a technological advancement. We now get more done in less time. It seems pretty simple: The faster you type, the more information you take in, right? Wrong. Note taking on a keyboard will help you take more notes faster. However, according to one study it may hinder your ability to comprehend and retain what you’re learning. So could we be saving time at the expense of losing our memory?
What Research Shows
Research by Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer shows that taking notes with pen and paper results in far better information comprehension, memory retention and memory recall. In a classroom experiment, a lecture was presented to the students; some students took notes on their laptops and others used good old fashioned pen and paper. With what results?
Note Taking Using a Keyboard
Students tended to type verbatim, regurgitating the words of the speaker. As notes were not in the student’s own words, they were not required to really think about the information, nor did they have the time to do so. In other words, their brain didn’t have to work. As a result, when asked to recall the information, these students remembered significantly less than those students who took hand written notes.
Note Taking Using a Pen
Hand written notes take much longer to compose. Although students taking hand written notes wrote down considerably less than those who typed their notes, this proved an advantage. Why? It forced the students’ brains to go hard to work! They were forced to process information, synthesise ideas and summarise key points before putting pen to paper. Hence, students became active listeners, not forgetful hearers. Better comprehension of conceptual ideas and an increased memory recall resulted in the long term. Slow and steady wins the race after all.
Note Taking Using Surface
Despite what research shows, of the 1275 attendees we surveyed at the Microsoft World Partner Conference last year, 64% of people taking notes were using a keyboard. Why is that? Habit. People have been taking notes digitally on laptops for decades. It is a real challenge to get them to adopt the new tools available now. Plus, people simply don’t know what they don’t know. Without adequate training, it is difficult to embrace new ways of doing things.
Today, the note taking experience has evolved from ordinary pen and paper to digital pen and paper – with Surface at the forefront of that evolution. Using the Surface Pen on the Surface Pro 4 you receive all the same benefits as you would when using ordinary pen and paper. Plus, you can do much more. You can now search your hand-written notes in seconds or convert your hand-written notes to typed text.