Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Value of Putting Pen to Paper

Comments on Learning by Writing… by Hand
The psychology behind the learning advantage of handwriting is starting to be understood... [Carol Holstead] "It turned out my theory was right and now is supported by research. A study published last year in Psychological Science showed that students who write out notes longhand remember conceptual information better than those who take notes on a computer."
I am also a fan of technology. And also a fan of learning and paying attention to research. Pen on paper has advantages for learning that technology has yet to equal. At the same time technology has many advantages also.

We seem to understand the advantages of using technology fairly well but under-appreciate the advantages of pen on paper. To make sure we don't lose out due to this bias we should think before we accept that pen on paper isn't worthwhile.

From a post I wrote in 2005, Measurement and Data Collection

I believe, it is better to focus on less data, really focus on it. My father, Bill Hunter, and Brain Joiner, believed in the value of actually plotting the data yourself by hand. In this day and age that is almost never done (especially in an office environment). I think doing so does add value. For one thing, it makes you select the vital few important measures to your job.
Lots of data will be kept in computers and that makes sense. But putting pen to paper has value that we too quickly dismiss.

Related: Experience Teaches Nothing Without Theory - The Illusion of Knowledge - Write it Down to Improve Learning (Ackoff)

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