The pen is mightier than the keyboard when it comes to learning

pen is mightier than the keyboardGiven the choice to write something or type something – I opt for typing. Writing hurts, the hand and wrist muscles stiffen up in shock, when they are expected to write anything more than a sentence or two and writing is so SLOW.

Typing can increase productivity, but when it comes to learning, it actually slows you down. This week’s Neurotechnology Tip takes the lid off the power of the pen, when it comes to learning stuff.

The pen trumps the keyboard

Researchers from the University of Marsielle, taught two groups of adults a new alphabet which consisted of 20 letters.

One group did it the old fashioned way, by hand, writing out the letters using pen and paper. The second group went high tech – they learned the letters using a keyboard.

The groups were tested after three and six weeks to see how well they knew the letters. Those who had written the letters trumped the “computer geeks”.

When the researchers peeked inside the brain’s of the alphabet learners, they found more areas of the brain lighting up in those who had learnt by writing.

Writing amplifies the wiring

The process of writing, is both a physical and sensual process. The very act of writing, gives the muscles of your hand and wrist a mini-workout. But as the hand twirls across the page executing the loops, crossing the t’s, dotting the i’s, it experiences the words.

The movements leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain.

In the alphabet learners, that sensorimotor connection improved letter recognition weeks later.

Learning slows down to speed up

One finger typists may take longer to type than write, but the big appeal of the keyboard is SPEED. The average person can type significantly faster than they write.

But writing something, SLOWLY, gives the brain ample time to take it in, mull it over and assimilate it.

Hardwiring something into your brain is all about repetition. Writing, by virtue of the fact that it is a relatively slow process, forces repetition. The continuous rerunning of the concept ends up solidifying learning.

Write it to learn it

Writing is not just an intellectual pursuit but a physiological and sensual experience. It is communicating through touch. If you want it to stick in your brain, do the old fashioned thing and write out your own study notes.

PS. Make sure you compile you own study notes – trying to learn from someone else’s notes really is short changing your brain.

To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..

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