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No difference in factual or conceptual recall comprehension for tablet, laptop, and handwritten note-taking by medical students in the United States - medtigo

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No difference in factual or conceptual recall comprehension for tablet, laptop, and handwritten note-taking by medical students in the United States

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J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2022;19:8. doi: 10.3352/jeehp.2022.19.8. Epub 2022 Apr 26.

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Technological advances are changing how students approach learning. The traditional note-taking methods of longhand writing have been supplemented and replaced by tablets, smartphones, and laptop note-taking. It has been theorized that writing notes by hand requires more complex cognitive processes and may lead to better retention. However, few studies have investigated the use of tablet-based note-taking, which allows the incorporation of typing, drawing, highlights, and media. We therefore sought to confirm the hypothesis that tablet-based note-taking would lead to equivalent or better recall as compared to written note-taking.

METHODS: We allocated 68 students into longhand, laptop, or tablet note-taking groups, and they watched and took notes on a presentation on which they were assessed for factual and conceptual recall. A second short distractor video was shown, followed by a 30-minute assessment at the University of California, Irvine campus, over a single day period in August 2018. Notes were analyzed for content, supplemental drawings, and other media sources.

RESULTS: No significant difference was found in the factual or conceptual recall scores for tablet, laptop, and handwritten note-taking (P=0.61). The median word count was 131.5 for tablets, 121.0 for handwriting, and 297.0 for laptops (P=0.01). The tablet group had the highest presence of drawing, highlighting, and other media/tools.

CONCLUSION: In light of conflicting research regarding the best note-taking method, our study showed that longhand note-taking is not superior to tablet or laptop note-taking. This suggests students should be encouraged to pick the note-taking method that appeals most to them. In the future, traditional note-taking may be replaced or supplemented with digital technologies that provide similar efficacy with more convenience.

PMID:35468666 | DOI:10.3352/jeehp.2022.19.8

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