It’s commonplace nowadays that when you walk into a college classroom, everyone is on their MacBook Airs and Windows Ultrabooks. What happened to the age of writing things down on paper? I remember back in college, I didn’t even carry bags to school – just a small notebook and my trusty old blue ball-point pen. Now, when you ask students for a pen, they look at you in wonder of what type of app you’re talking about. Heh.
The act of writing helps you clarify your thoughts, remember things better, and even reach
your goals more surely, though. We’re not making any false claims, though. This is backed by SCIENCE!
“While technology can be too distracting and distancing, writing words down onto a piece of paper with a pen can really cause words to rush out, and allow you to think more freely.”
Patrick E. McLean,
In Defense of Writing Longhand
There have been a few studies that reinforce the notion that physically writing things down boost learning and goal achievement. In the Dominican University of California, a research study was conducted that tested the writing of students. They were tested on their goals and their accountability. The results showed that those who wrote things down: their goals, and shared them with others, were up to 33% more likely to be able to achieve them, rather than those who just thought of them and kept them in their brain or typed into their phones.
Another study found that there were also positive effects of writing and learning new foreign words, in which participants were asked to learn a new language conventionally, and by writing things down. Evidently, writing yielded much better results than the former.
This makes perfect sense, though. I remember in college, the best way I had to study for an exam was to rewrite my notes onto a summarized piece of paper. In neuroscience, we can explain this by how the brain works in processing information. Writing stimulates the reticular activating system (RAS) in your brain. The RAS filters everything your brain needs, and it actually places more importance on things that you are actively doing – so when you’re actively writing something, it processes your thoughts about it, your writings about it, and the emotions you get from writing as well, forming a more solid foundation for learning.
So the pen is superior over the keyboard when it comes down to it. The next time you’re having to write a difficult paper, or an essay of sorts, or if you even have to send memos or reports to the boss, try writing things down, maybe more information might come to you, and give you that “Eureka!” moment that you desperately need.