Longhand note-taking

It is good to know that longhand note-taking is not just a whimsical fixation of mine.

NotesA study conducted by Princeton’s Pam A. Mueller and UCLA’s Daniel M. Oppenheimer shows that longhand writing is more effective for taking notes than using a laptop or any other electronic device, and it is not just about the possible sources of distraction introduced by using an active device: it looks like it is intrinsically more effective, mostly because using a keyboard encourages transcribing instead of the interpretating activity we have to perform while listening to a lesson, a speech, or whatever we consider worth being saved in our notes.

My personal opinion is that this is only one of the important reasons for using pen and paper. What is also important is that pen and paper allow a far larger degree of freedom: arrows, boxes, connections between points and all sort of graphical enhancements.

The research is brilliantly summarized in this article at the Harvard Business Review.

Image by John Overholt