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In addition, it could be that the main benefit of notes is to support students’ studying after class.
The bold conclusion from this paper being: Students who took notes by longhand outperformed students who took notes by laptop on an immediate test covering conceptual questions.
The simplified recommendation: Let’s get rid of laptops in the classroom and have everyone take notes by hand.
In a second experiment they found no significant difference between longhand versus laptop note-taking on an immediate test – in fact, in this experiment they included a “no note-taking group” and found that these participants did not perform worse than participants in any of the other note-taking groups (Below, I discuss this latter finding in the context of other contributing factors that need to be taken into consideration).
Thus, the results pattern directly contradicts the original findings.
A recent paper by Morehead, Dunlosky, and Rawson highlights this point.
They have directly recreated the original study setup of Mueller and Oppenheimer (using the same note-taking methods and study materials) and were unable to reproduce the original finding. General study setup Participants studied a TED video and took notes either longhand or on the laptop.Some concluding remarks The research papers presented above used study material (TED presentations) that are pitched to entertain and present research in a light-hearted way.In educational settings, teaching looks quite different and the content will be more complex as well.Occasionally, intriguing research findings in Cognitive Psychology get picked up by the media and are blown out of proportion.This usually happens with findings that are unexpected, flashy, and suggest large practical implications.In the new study, the researchers added a delayed test condition, to test if the effect would hold when participants’ knowledge is assessed two days later.In two experiments, they found that note-taking method had no effect on delayed test performance (factual conceptual questions).Emphasize those ideas when you teach, ask in-class questions about those ideas (retrieval practice), and return to those ideas at different points in time (spaced practice).A final note Research is subject to development and change.One idea of the original researchers was that this could explain the superiority of longhand note-taking: Longhand notes contain more paraphrased and fewer verbatim statements which is more beneficial for knowledge retention.New findings Morehead, Dunlosky, and Rawson found that participants in the longhand note-taking condition performed better on .