Are Digital Or Paper Notes Better?
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Are Digital Or Paper Notes Better?

Zoe Kramer January 2, 2023

These days, the majority of students tend to take notes on their laptops. Go into any lecture and you’ll be able to observe that this is the preferred method. Some, however, still swear by the traditional notebook and pen method. Everyone has a different way of learning, and what may work well for one student may not work for another. So if you’re debating if digital or paper notes are better, here are some of the pros and cons of each.

Digital Notes Pros

It’s easy to see why so many people go digital with their note-taking. There is a convenience in having everything organised in one place, where you can access slides, digital resources and anything else you may need at the same time as your notes. Taking notes over power points allows you to include relevant details of what the lecturer is saying without having to rewrite what’s on the slides.

Digital Notes Cons

However, the flipside of this is that in processing information so quickly, you might not grasp it quite as well. If you can simply type what the lecturer says verbatim, there is less need to put the information into your own words, which misses a critical stage of analysis. Using a laptop also opens you up to more distractions, such as notifications popping up.

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Paper Notes Pros

When questioning whether digital or paper notes are better, here are some things you may want to consider. You’re forced to work slower when you’re writing as opposed to when you’re typing. Because you can’t write everything down, you naturally undergo a process of deciding which information is the most relevant and putting it into your own words, which is useful to building your understanding. In addition, the physical object of the notebook as well as the physicality of writing creates a different sensory experience than typing, which may be more conducive to knowledge retention for some people. You can also easily process information by turning it into charts and doodles, although this capability is also becoming more commonly available on laptops and tablets through the use of styluses.

Paper Notes Cons

For some, this slower pace may not be helpful. It’s easy to miss information when you can’t get everything down, and it’s frustrating to have to go back through the content to have to fill in the gaps. You can’t retroactively rearrange text like you can with a word processor, so if you want to switch the order of something, you’re forced to cross it out, rewrite it, or draw arrows. It can also be inconvenient to have your notes be separate from all your other files on your computer.

See also: Free Plagiarism Checkers For Students To Keep Your Uni Work Original

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Zoe Kramer has been writing for GRV Media’s student-centric website Freshered since October 2022 and is now also contributing to HITC. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.