Longhand Note Taking More Effective Than Laptop Note Taking

Are you one of those people like me who always takes notes on a laptop? I’ve been in this habit since college as a consequence of my school issuing a laptop to each student, and now in the corporate world it is rare to see anyone show up to a meeting with a physical notepad and pen/pencil. My rationale for toting my laptop everywhere I go is that I can type much faster than I can write. However, despite being able to take more notes, it turns out that taking handwritten notes is more conducive to learning.

A study from Princeton University goes a step beyond previous studies which focused on laptops as a distractor from multitasking capacity and shows that laptop usage results in shallower processing of information because students are merely transcribing information verbatim, rather than first processing the information and reframing it in their own words which is detrimental to the learning process.

Although this study was geared toward higher education I believe there is something to take away from it from a corporate perspective. Granted, most of the notes taken in meetings are decisions or actions, there is definitely a time and place where longhand note taking could be more effective than a laptop such as at a conference when trying to learn a new skill or listening to a speaker.

I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities in the future where I can leverage¬†longhand note taking rather than laptop note taking. I just hope my handwriting is still legible…

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