It’s no surprise that the majority of people nowadays use computers, smartphones, and tablets to take notes. They are quicker and yield less errors, and certain digital communication tools help us improve. Keyboarding will continue to evolve over time, too, but research shows that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, or electronic devices.

What does this mean? First, handwritten notes are powerful tools to improve the brain’s capacity to retrieve information, known as the encoding effect. Second, taking notes by hand forges an “external memory storage”: your notebook. Writing on paper also provides tactile feedback to the brain since we write the actual letters, which keyboarding cannot do. Let’s discuss more about the benefits of handwriting.

According to researchers, keyboarding involves taking verbatim notes without processing the information written, which includes the copy and paste strategy. This is otherwise known as “non-generative” note-taking. Handwriting, on the other hand, exercises our brain to function instead of mindlessly typing out words. Summarizing, paraphrasing, organizing, concept mapping — in short, we develop a deeper understanding of whatever we write.

What about visual learners? Do they also benefit from handwriting? The answer is yes. Florence Nightingale, a British nurse, used a pie graph to represent the details of modern medicine alongside her documentations. People can show their knowledge through a series of drawings accompanied by descriptions. Remember your math and science lessons? They use figures for better understanding of formulas.

Students are still encouraged to take notes using pen and paper during online classes during this pandemic. Don’t solely rely on computers and put those pens and paper to good use. Sometimes, using the old-fashioned way reaps superior results.