University of Wisconsin–Madison
Laptop vs Pen

Laptop vs pen: Which is best for note-taking?

What is the best way to absorb and retain the information you’re taking notes on?

Everyone has their own way of taking notes and different way of learning, so by no means is this article meant to say there is one way better than another. According to two recent studies, taking notes by hand may have more advantages than typing notes during lecture.

The first study compared those taking notes by hand and laptop note-takers. Both groups watched various TED Talks, then were immediately quizzed on the material. The two groups did equally well when asked questions regarding facts, like dates. Those who took notes on laptops did notably worse when asked conceptual questions.

The second study allowed the groups to review notes on their laptop or notebook right before a quiz. The thought is, the students who took notes on their laptops typed more extensive notes than their peers who wrote notes by hand. Allowing them to study right before a quiz would give the laptop note-takers a larger advantage. But the students taking notes by hand still performed better.

Technology can be a useful tool in studying. Typing lecture notes after class is an excellent way of making sure you understand facts and concepts. This practice also makes it easier to read through your notes when preparing for an exam.

OneNote is a great note-taking tool that allows you to collaborate with others by sharing your notes and allows you to organize your notes. To better understand concepts, you can add audio and video. With the free Clipper app you can even add web pages.

UW-Madison faculty, staff and students have access to OneNote through the free Office 365 Suite.

Need note-taking help?

If you’re looking for resources on improving your academic career, UW-Madison has a number available through the Division of Student Life and academics.

Like the tech approach?

The DoIT Tech Store has several options for note-taking technology including laptops, voice recorders and other accessories.

Source: NPR