5 Reasons to Start Taking Handwritten Notes
Here at PenFactory, we pride ourselves on being not only a source for purchasing pens but a source for understanding their usefulness as well. When it comes to our inventory, we understand the significance that pens can hold when you customize them, but they also serve a purpose beyond just feelings of comfort or enthusiasm.
Pens and pencils are essential for taking handwritten notes, a practice that may be beginning to fall a bit out of style. This is due to the rise of digital note taking. With the convenience of digital devices, nowadays many people will have multiple of them, and with keyboards built into most of them, typing is often seen as the faster and more efficient alternative.
But this efficiency can sacrifice a lot of the benefits that come along with handwritten notes. To help share a few of the benefits of handwritten notes (outside of just not having to deal with cable management for your devices), we have created this guide for 5 key reasons to start taking handwritten notes.
The Benefits of Taking Handwritten Notes
Typing out notes is generally seen as the more efficient way to write down information, but is something lost in this efficiency? When you look at the benefits of handwriting notes versus typing them, you may be surprised to learn that there are differences when it comes to how you process and retain information.
Today, we will break down 5 of these benefits, including how handwritten notes:
– Improves Conceptual Understanding
– Enhances Reading Comprehension
– Improves Memory
– Extends Attention Span
– Inspires Creativity
1. Improved Conceptual Understanding
As digital devices like laptops have become more popular, people have begun to type out their notes rather than write them by hand. Now it could be said that this trend really kicked off with typewriters, but with the ease and accessibility of laptops, this phenomenon has really started to take over much more.
While this ease of use may feel like a universal good, there may be benefits lost with this change. You may have heard of the concept of tactile learning, where physical actions are used to help in the learning process. Tactile learners benefit more by physically interacting with their education. This means touching and manipulating things, and yes, that includes writing.
When you are taking notes and copying things down by hand, you are much more involved with the content in front of you. Every letter of every word has a unique form, and by writing all of them out, you are interacting more directly with the content. This contrasts with laptops and keyboards, where every keystroke is essentially the same action, meaning every time you type a letter, it is leaving less of an impact, and can very easily blend together.
Studies have been conducted that corroborate this line of thinking. As shown in this study, using laptops for taking notes can lead to the “shallower processing” of information.
This disparity in processing information is related to the fact that when taking notes on a laptop, students tend to copy the lecture verbatim, versus processing the information in front of them. This can be an issue with the “accessibility” of digital note taking.
When you can copy things down faster, you can work quickly in order to get the task done. When you must write things down by hand, you will take more time in creating your notes, causing you to consider the information being presented to you more thoroughly.
Another benefit that occurs when handwriting, is the fact that students will work to shorten their notes, so they have to write less. This can lead to writing in shorthand or trying to represent more complex topics in shorter phrases. This is a great practice because in order to accomplish this successfully, the student will typically have to understand what is being said to paraphrase it.
2. Enhanced Reading Comprehension
Expanding upon the previous point, writing down a lot of information very quickly is not always the best approach. For roles like a court stenographer, this practice does come in handy. However, for students or businesspeople looking to take notes on an important topic, you don’t just want to copy down information, you want to understand what you’re writing.
Some people may think that they can copy things down very quickly and then revisit the notes later to make sense of them, but this is an incredibly inefficient approach to note-taking and can quickly come back to haunt you. Instead, you want to try your best to understand the information as you are writing it down, and then revisit it later to strengthen your understanding.
When you are typing on a keyboard, you can almost go into autopilot, and begin typing things verbatim without considering their impact. This could be a disaster when revisited later, as you could have copied down information you didn’t understand, but never asked for clarification, or copied what you thought was correct, but actually misunderstood.
That extra bit of thinking involved with writing out information by hand offers more opportunities to process the information in front of you so that you can better comprehend it.
3. Improved Memory
The purpose of taking notes (outside of credit for a grade) is to retain the information shared with you so that you may make use of it later. You can write down all the notes in the world, but if you can’t remember anything you wrote, then your effort is nearly pointless.
If you want your note-taking to be more rewarding and find yourself struggling to remember the notes you take, then you may want to consider switching to handwritten notes if you haven’t already.
By handwriting the notes, the concepts we have already mentioned contribute to a greater ability to memorize the material. If you are processing material more thoroughly, and understanding the information that you are writing down, then you will be able to remember it more clearly.
Consider the process of taking notes in a meeting by hand, or through typing. Many people when typing don’t have to look at their keyboard, and while this seems like it could be beneficial for making observations, many times it leads to people being distracted by other things. When writing by hand, fewer people can write on paper without looking to make sure words stay in the lines and the handwriting is neat.
By continuing to look at your information as you write it down, it is keeping the data fresher in your mind. This can contribute to greater retention in the long run, as you are interacting more with the information you are writing down.
4. Extends Attention Span
Part of the advantage of tactile or kinesthetic learning is that you are keeping more of your body engaged with the learning at hand. This can improve your attention span when attempting to learn a subject.
As mentioned before, it can become very easy to get distracted when typing on a computer. The keystrokes all begin to blend into one another, and before long you are almost on autopilot. But you shouldn’t merely be having the information wash over you, you want to engage with the content at hand so that you can deploy it for your own means later on.
Writing by hand with a pen or pencil, you are more active in your note-taking process. You’ll want to keep your handwriting as neat as possible and keep it within the lines, and by tracing through each letter, you are engaging more of your senses than just typing a keystroke.
5. Inspire Creativity
Some people may look at word processors and think of all the digital tools available that can help format and shape your note-taking. Well, for many people, trying to actively manage this formatting and type down notes can be too distracting, and detract from their attention on the meeting or lesson.
With handwritten notes, it is much simpler to include your creativity while creating the notes. You can use multiple color pens, highlighters, and other office supplies to make a distinction in your work that you can make note of later.
This can help expand the tactile nature of writing even more and make handwritten notes one of the best learning tools for kinesthetic learners. Formatting on a computer uses a series of clicks and keystrokes, while writing, highlighting, underlining, and editing by hand is a much more active process.
Handwritten notes may have begun to fall out of style for some people, but it is important that you don’t overlook the benefits. If your goal is to understand more of the information when making your notes, then you’ll want to take notes by hand. Taking notes by hand helps you process information more thoroughly, engages you more with the information, and improves your retention of the content.
Handwritten notes are also great for things that you don’t need to create a whole Word document for. When it comes to things that might get written down on sticky notes, it might be awkward to write it all out on a computer when you could just quickly jot it down. If you need access to Grammarly for a more thorough analysis of your extended work, digital writing could be a good fit. But if you’re just looking to write one paragraph of notes very quickly, handwritten notes are a much stronger choice.
If you are interested in taking handwritten notes more often, then you’ll want to make sure you have the right supplies to do it with. Grab some notebooks that you’ll enjoy writing in, find a nice workspace, and most importantly, find a great pen to write with.