Students Learn Better by Writing Instead of Typing

June 29, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. longhand /ˈlɔŋˌhænd/ (adj.) – referring to the act of manual writing in which words are written out completely
Example: She prefers longhand writing because she has a nice handwriting.

2. impairment /ɪmˈpɛərənt/ (n.) – the condition in which the strength or value of something is declining
Example: Teaching students with hearing impairment may be difficult.

3. verbatim /vərˈbeɪɪm/ (adv.) – using the exact same words that were originally used
Example: The teacher instructed the students not to write the lecture verbatim.

4. outshine /ˌaʊtˈʃaɪn/ (v.) – to be better than others
Example: She outshined all the other students because she paid attention in class.

5. transcribe /trænˈskraɪb/ (v.) – to make a printed or written copy of something that is spoken
Example: She transcribed the interview and published it on the magazine.


Read the text below.
Students process information better when they manually write down their notes instead of typing them on a laptop, a study revealed.

Researchers Pam Mueller [MUHL-er] and Daniel Oppenheimer [OP-uh n-hahy-mer] assessed the academic efficiency of longhand note-takers with that of laptop note-takers through a series of experiments. Their study suggests that using laptops to take down notes can result in learning impairment.

The researchers conducted three separate experiments on three different groups of college students. In all these experiments, the students watched TED videos about a variety of interesting topics. Each participant was given either an offline laptop or a notebook for taking down notes.

Afterwards, the researchers asked the students to answer a quiz with two sets of questions based on the videos. The first experiment required students to complete mental tasks for 30 minutes before they can take the quiz. In the second experiment, the researchers directly warned the subjects that using laptops for note-taking may compel them to write in verbatim. Participants in the final experiment took the test one week later and were given the chance to study their notes before answering the quiz.

Results showed that both longhand and laptop note-takers excelled in answering questions that involved recalling facts. However, longhand note-takers outshined the laptop note-takers in answering questions that involved explaining concepts.

Mueller explained that the laptop note-takers were more engaged in transcribing the videos. In contrast, those who manually took down notes were able to summarize and conceptualize the information in a way that they could best understand it. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think students should be discouraged to use their laptops in taking down notes? Why or why not?
·         What are your thoughts about the result of the study?

Discussion B

·         What are the benefits of using laptops instead of pen and paper in writing?
·         How can students avoid distractions when using computers in class

June 29, 2014