Long live good old handwriting: an effective ‘tool’ for learning

3-Star learning experiences

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

It doesn’t matter whether you take notes on paper or on a digital device, right? Actually, the answer is YES, it does make a difference. Various recent research shows that it makes quite a difference and that handwriting is much more powerful for learning.

The class, lecture, presentation; or any learning event, starts. Is it OK for learners to leave their digital devices on? Hopefully we all agree that chatting, emailing, checking Facebook®, tweeting, and so on, are very distracting for learning (except of course when these applications are used with a pedagogical focus, as part of an instructional activity). However, many instructors do not feel comfortable telling their learners that they’re not allowed to take notes on their digital devices. Instructors probably worry that their learners think that they’re “old fashioned” when they prohibit the use of digital devices but the question is:…

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