June 18, 2024 at 7:48 pm

It Turns Out Writing By Hand Is Really Important To The Learning Process

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

As someone who writes for a living, I could have told you that writing things with a pen, on paper, can unlock motivation, spur more creativity, or inspire a solution to an ongoing problem.

I couldn’t have told you why, though, and that’s where science comes in.

The results from early studies have been compelling as far as proving handwriting can be a useful tool to boost productivity.

Research into the development of preschool children has shown that kids who learn their ABCs by tracing through movement instead of typing have better and longer-lasting recognition and understanding.

Source: Shutterstock

It also allows for greater memorization of new words.

When adults take notes on their phones or laptops appears to be less effective than taking them by hand.

The same goes for students taking notes on lectures or seminars, who perform worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes by hand.

The answer to why relates to the relative complexity of the act of writing compared to typing.

Writing requires more movement, skill, coordination, and visual attention, and encourages more parts of the brain to come together to produce the script.

Your brain has to communicate every small activity, from holding the pen to forming the letters, and to deciding how much pressure to put on your writing instrument against the page.

Your eyes are involved, too, sending messages to the brain about mistakes and how to fix them, etc.

Typing requires far less complex activity; you look for the key, tap it, and check that you got the right one.

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Mounting evidence suggests relying on typing too much, especially for still-developing brains – is less effective for learning and processing information.

Some suggest using a stylus could be a good compromise, but in the end, we’re not going to ditch all of the handy digital tools we use every day.

Just remember to pick up a pen and paper sometimes, too.

Especially if a story or problem just won’t come unstuck on your screen.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read about a quantum computer simulation that has “reversed time” and physics may never be the same.