Whether you are a student, writer, or teacher, there’s always the need to find easier and more efficient ways to produce materials. Fortunately, writing methods go a long way to determine how efficient your material production would be.
There has been a long-term debate on which is better between typing and writing with hand. The invention of modern writing materials has broadened the choice of writing styles available. Hence, the taking notes on laptop vs. paper type vs. writing debate. We’ve reviewed the available evidence and come up with an article on which of the writing styles is better. Read on to find out the pros and cons of each as well as when each would work best.
What are the Benefits of Handwriting Notes?
To understand the benefits of handwriting notes, you need to understand that handwriting notes is a powerful tool for encrypting embodied cognition and in turn supporting the brain’s capacity to retrieve information. Besides, taking notes by hand helps you create robust external memory storage out of your notebook.
Writing notes by hand is a win-win for every student considering that it also aids better cognitive ability. Despite the popularity of digital communication and the automation of keyboards, we still can’t write off the unique benefits of taking notes by hand. If, as a student, you are still wondering why you should learn how to effectively take notes by hand, here are some important benefits you should know.
Increases Learning Comprehension
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of writing notes by hand. Available evidence already shows that people are more likely to remember information when they take notes by hand. In addition to helping your memory, writing notes also help you understand lessons better compared to other forms of note-taking.
Full Engagement of the Brain
It goes without saying that writing pushes your brain to work harder. Writing typically requires that you use your motor skills, and a collection of links around your brain called the reading circuit. The whole process helps to activate different parts of your brain making it more actively involved in the note-taking process.
Slows Down Mental Aging
As explained earlier, writing by hand helps you to remember information more easily and this ability makes it a great tool for helping people retain their memory as they age.
It goes without saying that practicing such brain-flexing tasks can help you maintain the sharpness of your brain through your old age.
Compared to typing, writing puts more part of your mind to work, and this makes it effective for encouraging more creativity.
Studies also show that some subtle aspects of handwriting are more artistic than people generally know especially since a person’s handwriting is unique.
This way, we can boast of our unique writing identity in the same way that artists boast of their unique medium.
This one is very obvious. Most other forms of writing put you close to distractions like the internet. But writing by hand typically means that you’ll put away mobile phones and other distracting gadgets. Therefore, giving your total focus to what you are writing.
If you suffer from a short attention span, a good way to tame it and stay more focused is by writing by hand.
What are the Benefits of Typing Notes?
One obvious advantage of typing notes is its ability to allow people to type faster than they can ordinarily write. Most people also attest to the fact that it makes reading easier. However, beyond these obvious benefits, there are some deeper benefits of typing notes that are seldom talked about. Here, let’s review some of the benefits
Easy Storage of Notes
The availability of typed notes makes it easier to retrieve notes when you need them. As a student, you’ll have to shuttle between different classes by different lecturers. Of course, there are notes and handouts for each class. Storing each note under its folder can be a little difficult, and most times you’ll find yourself fruitlessly searching for different pages of the notes when preparing for exams. However, typing notes means you can save your notes digitally. You can always retrieve any note you want to use by typing a few keywords in the search bar.
Never Run out of Fresh Pages
Apart from having your notes with you everywhere, you are going to, typing also helps to ensure that you have as many blank pages as you can imagine. While physical books contain a limited number of pages and can run out at any time, digital notes offer you more and more new pages to write on. You can finally say goodbye to the days of writing on the cover of your notepads as a last resort.
Ease of Organizing and Searching for Important Information
While it’s difficult, it’s still possible to arrange and care for all the pages of your handwritten notes, such that you won’t lose a single page. However, it often means that you’ll end up with hundreds of pages to sort through and read when preparing for tests and exams. Times would come when you’ll need to refer to a particular topic while reading and sorting through hundreds of pages would make it very difficult. However, digital notes make it easier to jump to relevant pages when you need to. Just type in keywords and you are good to go.
Save the planet
We know how rigorous that sounds to you, but if you think it through, you’ll discover that it is true. Paper is made from trees and the production of more books means that more trees are cut. This can lead to deforestation which will, in the long run, affect our ecosystem. However, typing notes on digital platforms don’t necessarily need the cutting down of any tree.
Pros and Cons of Writing vs. Typing Notes
Whether you like to write all your notes by hand, exclusively type them, or have a mixture of both, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of handwriting versus typing notes.
Some students will argue that the best way to take notes is by hand since physically writing notes with pen and paper helps students memorize better. However, advocates of typed notes would argue that typing notes is typically faster and saves more time. It also helps for faster and easier revision. Whether you prefer writing notes by hand or typing them, it’s important to stick o a system that best works for you. Below are just a few pros and cons of writing notes vs typing them.
Pros of Handwriting Notes
- Writing notes can help to increase critical thinking
- Handwriting notes help to promote long-term memory recall
- Writing notes with hand help to improve creativity
- It gives you a better sense of ownership
Cons of Handwriting Notes
- Makes sorting more difficult
- Can cause you to miss certain information
- It typically takes more time to write notes by hand.
Pros of Typing Notes
- Typing notes is faster and more time-efficient
- It makes sorting of information easier
- Typed notes are neater and easier to read.
Cons of Typing Notes
- Typing notes can lead to mindless note-taking
- It makes students lazier.
Writing vs. Typing Notes: Which is Better?
After reviewing the benefits of taking notes by hand and the benefits of typing, it’s easy to see that writing slightly edges typing in terms of benefits. Science shows that handwriting notes is better. Results from a recent study showed students who wrote notes by hand perform better on tests compared to those that type. People looking to learn better often turn to handwriting notes because of its ability to facilitate better memory, comprehension, and stronger conceptual learning. In fact, writing by hand births more cognitive processing. However, the mere fact that it takes more time and effort can make it more draining. In the end, it boils down to individual differences and which one you are more comfortable with. You can review the pros and cons of each and choose which is best for you. It’s also possible to combine the two, using the one that best suits each moment.
How to Choose the Best Note-Taking Method for You?
The pros and cons of both methods can make picking the right choice for you quite difficult. Often, there are too many things to consider, making it easy to pick a choice you’ll not be comfortable with. However, you can channel in the following factors to be sure you are picking a note-taking style that would be best suited for your personality.
Nothing beats convenience as far as note-taking or any other academic activity is concerned. This is why it’s the first factor to consider when choosing a writing style. However, bear in mind that what’s convenient for a certain situation, may not be convenient for another situation. Therefore, it’s important to review your present situation and choose a writing method that is convenient for you. Most times, writing with the hand is less convenient and can mean harder work when it comes to organizing.
We know you would always prefer typed documents when talking about legibility. However, there are rare occasions when people prefer to read written materials because it helps them relate more to what they are reading. Therefore, when choosing what writing style would suit a particular situation, think about the fact that you’ll need to read what you’ve written later. Novelists and creative writers typically prefer to keep and read their handwritten documents from time to time because of how it helps them relate to their work. However, course works and other forms of notes are better typed if legibility is something you care about.
No doubt, you’ll need to share your written material once in a while. Before taking notes, ask yourself how you’ll feel about sharing the notes. Of course, typed notes easily win when considering shareability. However, there are times when a handwritten note would resonate better with you or the person you are sharing it with. For instance, love notes and signed autographs would work better when written by hand. It’s up to you to review the situation and find out which writing style would work best.
Wrapping Things Up: Writing vs. Typing Notes
Finally, there’s an answer to the age-long debate of which is better between digital notes and paper notes. Of course, picking the best for you depends on several factors, but you’ll also need to factor in the pros and cons of each. So far, we’ve learned that typing makes note-taking more organized. On the other hand, writing with hand aids comprehension. It all boils down to what works best for you in different situations. Review the advantages of each writing style above and use them to choose which would be best for you.