Here are a couple of recent articles relating to note taking in lectures.

Pen-And-Paper Notetaking Superior To Typing On A Laptop

This article on Annie Murphy Paul’s blog talks about a study by psychologists Pam Mueller of Princeton and Daniel Oppenheimer of UCLA

“The students using laptops were in fact more likely to take copious notes, which can be beneficial to learning.But they were also more likely to take verbatim notes, and this ‘mindless transcription’ appeared to cancel out the benefits. Both groups memorized about the same number of facts from the lectures, but the laptop users did much worse when tested on ideas.”

“…these results suggest that longhand notes not only lead to higher quality learning in the first place; they are also a superior strategy for storing new learning for later study. Or, quite possibly, these two effects interact for greater academic performance overall.”

10 Note taking Tips for 21Century Teachers

This one from Med Kharbach at the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog is about a book by Walter Ong, ‘Orality and Literacy’.

Here are some interesting highlights from it :

  • Humans forget things easily, and the more time passes the more we forget.
  • Only 10 percent of an audio lecture may last in memory, but students who take and review their notes can recall about 80% of a lecture.
  • University of Washington research suggests that physical writing ( chirographic ) activates regions of the brain that involve thinking, language and working memory.

And of course there’s an infographic.  This one is from Course Hero out of Cornell University


I do have a a couple of questions (does anyone know where I can find the answers?).

  • Are handwritten notes on a tablet the same as pen and paper (assuming you are proficient using tablets)?
  • What is the difference between notes taken from a recording vs a live lecture.  Does physical attendance matter?