Handwritten Notes vs. Typed Notes: Which Is Better?

written by Roger Carr on July 31, 2014 in Avoiding Burnout with one comment">one Comment

When you are sitting in a meeting taking notes, do you type your notes into a mobile device or write your notes by hand in a journal? Which do you use when attending classes and seminars? Of course you take notes at church. Which note taking method do you use?

handwriting meeting notes

Photo Credit: gosheshe via Compfight cc

You probably find it more convenient to use the mobile device you are already carrying rather than adding a paper notebook to carry. Also, you probably realize your notes are more detailed when you use a keyboard because you can type (or swipe) faster than you can write. This makes typed notes better, right?


Several years ago, I learned the value of writing notes by hand from my mentor and friend, Mark Hendricks. There is something unique that goes on between your body and mind as you listen to what is being taught and then your arm and hand scribe words on paper as your eyes see your personal creation. He described this as The Learning Loop. Handwriting the notes, rather than typing them, allowed the concepts to be better understood and followed.

Recently, an experiment was conducted by Pam A. Mueller (Princeton University) and Daniel M. Oppenheimer (University of California, Los Angeles) which confirmed the value of handwriting notes. In the experiemnt, they discovered that students who captured their notes by hand, had a better understandomg of what they were taking notes about. This was true even though those who typed their notes had captured more detail. Capturing facts does not necessarially translate to more understanding and this experiment shows that.

A few months ago, I started taking notes at church on a mobile device. This is my wake up call to get back to handwriting my notes.

Do you want to increase your learning when taking notes? Start using a paper journal and handwriting your notes. You will understand and remember the concepts better so you can apply them to improve your life and your impact on the world.

Question: How do you take notes, with a keyboard or pen? Do you think you personally learn better with one method or the other? Leave a comment by clicking here