Sure, writing on laptops is much more efficient than trying to scribble everything a professor says during a university lecture—but is it better for your learning? Two psychological scientists, Pam Mueller, and Daniel Oppenheimer, wondered if laptops might lead to a less intelligent kind of cognitive processing, and lower the quality of learning! The two scientists decided to run a little contest to compare the different types of note taking!
The two scientists ran a few experiments, one of which took place during a college lecture. The college students were asked to just take notes as they normally would, and then they were suddenly tested halfway through the lecture both on factual information, and how well students grasped the concepts of the lecture.
Both laptop note takers and pen and pad note takers answered well when it came to factual information (What year did ___ take place?). However, when it came to understanding concepts (How do Canada and England differ in their approaches to social equality?), The people who took notes on their laptops did much worse on the quiz!
Apparently, laptop note takers are more prone to just copy everything they are seeing into a document on their computer, without actually reading and understanding the information in front of them!