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Here’s why writing things out by hand makes you smarter

  • Writing things out by hand takes longer than typing it up.
  • But that extra friction makes your brain work harder at engaging with the information.
  • And that engagement yields better learning. 
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Typing is fast. 

Handwriting is slow.

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Weirdly, that’s precisely why handwriting is better suited to learning. 

Take it from research psychologists Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, who did a fascinating study investigating just how terrible laptops are for note-taking in classrooms. 

Earlier studies have argued that laptops make for poor note-taking because of the litany of distractions available on the internet, but their experiments yielded a counterintuitive conclusion: Handwriting is better because it slows the learner down. 

By slowing down the process of taking notes, you accelerate learning. 

It works like this. If a skilled typist (also known as an American millennial) is sitting in a classroom, he or she will be able write down almost every word that the lecturer utters. And yet: that transcription process doesn’t require any critical thinking.

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