We’ve written before about how our brains absorb information best when we take notes by hand, and a new study from Johns Hopkins University further solidifies this theory with evidence that handwriting is the best way to learn reading and other skills.
In their study, the researchers taught 42 participants the Arabic alphabet, with participants split into three learning groups: writers, typers, and video watchers. Although there were varying degrees of success among participants, those who hand-wrote the letters, as opposed to typing or identifying them by sight, learned better and more quickly overall.
“The main lesson is that even though they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at every other measure. And they required less time to get there,” said lead author Robert Wiley.
The researchers emphasize that writing information has nothing to do with penmanship, but rather the strong association between information and our minds formed through writing down information by hand.
At a time where more and more educational environments are prioritizing digital resources over pen and paper, this study is an important reminder that sometimes, especially for young learners, doing things the old-fashioned way can be more effective.