Print

Print


Here's an exchange among two of my peer learning consultants about the  
study and its interpretation.
Thought I'd add a couple of student voices to the discussion.

Best,
Nic

I'm glad you pointed that out, Lindsay.  I agree- there's an implicit  
assumption in that statement that people who take notes on their  
laptops are just passively typing everything that's said and that  
people who take hand-written notes are more active in their note- 
taking process.  I definitely think this is a problematic assumption  
since the opposite could very well be true.  Examining this subject  
would require keeping conscious of passive vs. active note-taking.

 From my own experience, I think handwriting my notes helps me  
remember things better than when I type them.  I think this is for  
several reasons:
It's more visual since typing is standardized and my handwriting isn't  
really.  I recognize my own handwriting and can remember what was  
going on when I wrote something, but reading notes I typed up could  
just as easily have been written by someone else so my brain doesn't  
recognize it immediately.
I think the noise of the keyboard is distracting, especially in  
lectures.
If I'm trying to grapple with a difficult idea or something, I can  
think while writing since it helps me put my thoughts on paper and  
cross things out and work through something.  For example, when I'm  
trying to formulate a thesis for a paper (especially major papers), I  
always reach for a pad of paper and not my laptop because typing  
something in feels like it should be a finished product, not something  
that will require a lot of work.
There's also something in the physical act, I think.  Holding a pen  
puts me into a different mindset (since I usually only do this when  
I'm studying or thinking about something) than when I have my laptop  
out (since I could be doing anything on the laptop so it is not  
necessarily a productive mindset).  Maybe there's also something in  
the fact that you have a physical product at the end of handwriting  
(pages you can hold) rather than a screen that you just scroll.
Also, I would be curious what the relationship between learning and  
recalling is since the study is focused on recall.  It could be that  
these two are closely linked, but I think it's something else to be  
conscious of.

These are just my two cents.

Nick W.



On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 1:16 PM, Lindsay Eysenbach <[log in to unmask] 
 > wrote:
What this article appears to be measuring is not the act of taking  
notes on a laptop versus longhand per se, but the value of different  
types of notes.  The types of notes taken on laptops -- verbatim notes  
of what was said in lecture -- are less useful than notes taken  
shorthand.  I think that this is very consistent with what we believe  
at McGraw -- that all aspects of learning (studying, reading, note- 
taking) must be done with a purpose.  Completing a task for the sake  
of completing it is not the same as learning something.  I think its  
interesting that the authors found that notes taken by hand are more  
effective, but I do not think this implies that taking notes on a  
computer is necessarily worse.  Rather, students should recognize that  
more doesn't equal better, and should evaluate how they take notes on  
computers.

Just my thoughts.

Lindsay
__________________________________
Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
[log in to unmask]
(609)258-6921
http://www.princeton.edu/mcgraw/us/

Associate Director
McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
328C Frist Campus Center
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544

Individual Appointment Times:
By request





On Apr 2, 2014, at 12:18 PM, Jered Wasburn-Moses wrote:

> I would like to share the anecdote about note-taking that led to my  
> own "aha!" moment.
>
> -x-x-x-x-
> One semester, a student from one of my algebra or pre-calculus  
> classes came to see me for help during office hours. He was trying  
> to solve a quadratic equation; I asked him if he remembered the  
> formula.
>
> "Is that the one with the plus-or-minus-square-root-of-something?"  
> he asked.
>
> I affirmed that it was, and suggested that he find the exact formula  
> in his notes since he couldn't remember it. He began flipping back  
> and forth through his notebook in no discernible pattern. Trying to  
> help him out, I looked over his shoulder.
>
> "Oh, okay, those are the notes from last Thursday, and we did the  
> quadratic formula on Tuesday, so it should be right before that!" I  
> said.
>
> He flipped back a few pages, didn't find it, then continued flipping  
> back and forth in a seemingly-random pattern.
>
> Again I said, "They should be right before those other notes, right?"
>
> He replied: "Well, I don't really write my notes in order. I just  
> open the notebook to a blank page and start there."
> -x-x-x-x-
>
> (I can hear your knowing groan now...)
>
> I spent a long time trying to understand this behavior, because it  
> made no sense to me. It was actually some of my tutors who helped me  
> to my epiphany. Naturally, I had assumed that students take notes in  
> order to have some written record or memory aid of what occurred in  
> class. But this is often not the case. Students take notes because,  
> at least in high school, they got in trouble if they weren't taking  
> notes!
>
> For many students, in other words, note-taking has become an end in  
> itself, and not a means to some other end.
>
> This is borne out by my very non-scientific surveys since. Whenever  
> I work with an individual or group of students on study skills, I  
> always ask: what do you do with your notes after class? Many  
> students say that they do nothing at all; most of the rest say that  
> they re-read the notes sometime later (usually right before the  
> test). Very few students that I've encountered engage in any "high- 
> yield" study activities with their notes.
>
> Jered Wasburn-Moses
> Math Center Coordinator
> Success Skills Coordinator
> Learning Assistance Programs
> Northern Kentucky University
> http://lap.nku.edu
> University Center 170F
> (859) 572-5779
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask] 
> ] On Behalf Of Milligan, Teresa
> Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 10:41 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Chron of Higher Education
>
> Many instructors at our college have told me that students simply  
> don't take notes, and they aren't sure how to "get" them to take  
> notes or see the value of them or use them, etc. I think this speaks  
> to a couple of points.
>
> 1. Notes, as a topic in general, seem to be viewed as either right  
> or wrong both in the content and the structure. In my view,  
> electronic notes are tough for lectures, especially for struggling  
> students, mostly because they don't (yet) easily allow for the on- 
> the-fly structuring needed to match a speaker's thought path. If  
> struggling students are afraid of doing something wrong, chances are  
> they won't do it at all. We could use that ounce of preparation, as  
> could our students, to scaffold for that fear.
>
> 2. Students do not seem to want to take the risk of ruling out a  
> piece of information as unimportant, and then need to know it for a  
> test or job. So, if they were to take notes, they'd write down  
> EVERYTHING. Or, they don't take notes at all. What's more, writing  
> is what we say + how we say it. Students can only last so long if  
> they're struggling with both. We could do a better job of helping  
> students sift information and teaching them how organize it.
>
> 3. Many of our instructors use PowerPoint for their lectures, and  
> then encourage students to follow along during lectures. This is a  
> great effort, but what a student might write down for notes is often  
> already on the slide. We could explore how to use technology as a  
> tool.
>
> 4. The issue of teaching teachers how to teach appears again! I see  
> instructors too often simply ignore this and blame the student, or  
> take a sort of sink-or-swim attitude; or, explicitly tell the  
> students what to write down for notes. There are plenty of  
> scaffolding strategies available to TEACH - not tell - students how  
> to take notes without breaking from the normal curriculum. We could  
> make that a part of a healthy professional development program.
>
> Whether electronic or longhand, the issues surrounding note-taking  
> seem to be symptoms of a larger issue. That final quote in the  
> original post - "...if the notes are taken indiscriminately or by  
> mindlessly transcribing content...the benefit disappears" - hints at  
> a starting point.
>
> Teresa Milligan
> Instructor, Elftmann Student Success Center Dunwoody College of  
> Technology
> 818 Dunwoody Blvd.
> Minneapolis, MN 55403
> Direct:  612.381.3364
> dunwoody.edu/elftmann
>
> Let us not think of education only in terms of its costs, but rather  
> in terms of the infinite potential of the human mind that can be  
> realized through education.
> -John F. Kennedy
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask] 
> ] On Behalf Of Larina Warnock
> Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2014 1:24 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Chron of Higher Education
>
> I find that many of my developmental students, regardless of whether  
> they are using a laptop or taking longhand notes, take too many  
> notes and take them on the wrong things (e.g. they write down the  
> examples instead of the concepts). When they learn strategies to  
> decide what they should take notes on and stop trying to write down  
> everything the teacher says, grades begin to improve. Even so,  
> students who take notes on a laptop also sometimes get distracted by  
> the red and green lines of MSWord and try to correct their spelling  
> and grammar as they type. This practice distracts them from actually  
> absorbing the content. I think when we write notes longhand, we  
> don't worry so much about format and we have no visible little lines  
> telling us that we did something wrong. I wonder if turning off  
> grammar and spell check while taking notes would alter the findings  
> at all.
>
> Larina Warnock
> Developmental Studies Instructor
> WH214
> 541-917-2311
>
> We read to know we are not alone. -C.S. Lewis
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 7:02 AM, Nic Voge <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Like all experimental designs, the application to practice is
>> under-conceptualized, but this is an intriguing finding. It assumes
>> that elaborated, organized encoding happens best at the time of
>> exposure, rather than, say, after class--which is dubious--and makes
>> no account of the "life" of the notes after 30 minutes.
>>
>> Nonetheless, it speaks powerfully to docile, mindless "engagement" in
>> class.
>>
>> Best,
>> Nic
>> __________________________________
>> Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
>> [log in to unmask]
>> (609)258-6921
>> http://www.princeton.edu/mcgraw/us/
>>
>> Associate Director
>> McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning 328C Frist Campus Center
>> Princeton University Princeton, NJ 08544
>>
>> Individual Appointment Times:
>> By request
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Apr 1, 2014, at 9:49 AM, Norman Stahl wrote:
>>
>> March 28, 2014 by Danya Perez-Hernandez
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Comments (30)
>>>
>>>
>>> Taking Notes by Hand Benefits Recall, Researchers Find
>>>
>>> Distractions posed by laptops in the classroom have been a common
>>> concern, but new research suggests that even if laptops are used
>>> strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students' academic
>>> performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or  
>>> pencil.
>>> Daniel M. Oppenheimer, an associate professor of psychology at the
>>> University of California at Los Angeles, and Pam Mueller, a graduate
>>> student at Princeton University, studied the effects of students'
>>> note-taking preferences. Their findings will be published in a paper
>>> in Psychological Science called "The Pen Is Mightier Than the  
>>> Keyboard:
>>> Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking."
>>> The researchers' goal was to figure out whether typing notes--which
>>> is becoming increasingly popular--has any direct effect on a
>>> students' ability to understand a lecture.
>>> In a series of studies, the researchers provided students with
>>> laptops or with pen and paper to take notes. (The computers were
>>> disconnected from the
>>> Internet.) Students were then tested on how well they could recall
>>> facts and apply concepts. During the first test, students were told
>>> to "use their normal classroom note-taking strategy." Some typed,  
>>> and
>>> others wrote longhand. They were tested 30 minutes later.
>>> The researchers aimed to measure the increased opportunity to
>>> "mindlessly" take verbatim notes when using laptops.
>>> "Verbatim note-taking, as opposed to more selective strategies,
>>> signals less encoding of content," says the researchers' report.
>>> Although laptop users took almost twice the amount of notes as those
>>> writing longhand, they scored significantly lower in the conceptual
>>> part of the test. Both groups had similar scores on the factual  
>>> test.
>>> In another part of the study, some laptop users were instructed to
>>> avoid taking verbatim notes. Instructors explained that "people who
>>> take class notes on laptops when they expect to be tested on the
>>> material later tend to transcribe what they're hearing without
>>> thinking about it much." But members of that group received lower
>>> scores in both conceptual and factual tests than did their  
>>> longhand counterparts.
>>> "While more notes are beneficial, at least to a point, if the notes
>>> are taken indiscriminately or by mindlessly transcribing content, as
>>> is more likely the case on a laptop, the benefit disappears," says  
>>> the report.
>>>
>>>
>>> Norman Stahl
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>
>>>
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
>>> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your
>>> web browser to http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>>>
>>> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]
>>>
>>
>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
>> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your  
>> web
>> browser to http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>>
>> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]
>>
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your  
> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your  
> web browser to http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>
> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your  
> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your  
> web browser to http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>
> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your  
> web browser to
> http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>
> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your web browser to
http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html

To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]