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College Students Retain Info Better When Writing With Pen and Paper Than When Using Computers

by Ellie Bothwell

Survey of students across 10 countries suggests handwriting and printed books have advantages over digital materials

University students find it easier to retain information when using books and handwriting notes rather than computers, according to a survey of European and Asian students.

A study of almost 650 students from 10 countries found that while computers often dominate teaching and learning at universities, students still see the benefits of reading and writing with paper.

The research, Students’ use of paper and pen versus digital media in university environments for writing and reading, surveyed undergraduates and postgraduates in Italy, the UK, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, China, Portugal, Finland and Germany.

Jane Vincent, guest teacher and visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s department of media and communications and author of the study, said that the students were fairly consistent in their feedback.

“One of the reasons some students favor handwriting is the role it plays in learning and retaining knowledge,” she said. “Many of the students in our study found [that] making handwritten notes leads to greater retention of data than if it is typed.”

Students also experienced difficulties in writing mathematic and

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