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The magic of learning by writing

1 September 2020
Yamit Omer

The laptop, besides its advantages, is an excellent tool for notes, summaries, and reminders. After all, many people can type faster than they can write and it seems that we can more easily perceive oral rather than textual material. this, however, is not the case. Recent years have seen more and more people discover the power of an organized (physical) notebook as an efficient learning tool for organizational purposes. Some might view this as a regression to olden times, yet I suggest this change be viewed as a smart analog system in a digital age. Many studies have shown writing offers value added substantially more effective for learning, creativity, and efficiency. Hereby are some reasons why you might want to consider a pen and pad:

1.Improving your memory:

Writing by hand takes more time and forces your brain to dwell on each word a bit longer. This results in your brain processing complete data, which is more memorable than bits of data received when typing.

Writing can improve memory through:

  • Writing very important tasks multiple times

  • Rereading what you have written

  • Writing right before you go to sleep. If you sleep on it, you will wake up with it.

  • Using digital reminders as a complementary tool rather than your main solution

2.Improving concentration and information processing:

Since we are able to substantially reduce diversions while writing (unlike typing) we increase our focus and think more about the material being written. We thus enhance our ability to understand and deeply process information.


Writing by hand actually affects our cognitive processes by slowing us down, allowing us to consider new, creative ideas while writing. “Creativity enables sensitivity”, said Bill Gates. And indeed, a study conducted in 2016 has shown a causal connection between writing and emotional processing.

How can we implement this?


Make sure to arrive at meetings with pen and pad at hand. Write down main points during the meeting to allow additional ideas to pop up and make the meeting much more productive. Furthermore, unlike typing, writing allows you to maintain eye contact with participants.


How many times have you left a lecture trying to remember that brilliant thing you just heard the speaker say? How many times during a lecture has your mind wandered elsewhere? Writing during a lecture contributes to our concentration and prevents us from daydreaming. Continuous writing will assist our brain in receiving complete data thus making it more memorable.

6.Writing documents

Occasionally, when our thoughts are in disarray prior to writing a document, it may help to write its drafts by hand. Writing by hand allows us to organize our thoughts.

I am not suggesting we substitute our laptops for a pen and pad. This piece itself was typed by keyboard. Furthermore, writing by hand rather than typing is a matter of personal preference and comfort. People differ in their learning techniques. That said, writing is indeed preferable in some situations, regarding the aforementioned aspects.

So, till we all own laptops equipped with their own pens…start off by increasing your writing by hand. You just might discover the magic of learning through writing.



notebook and pen
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