Study: "Handwriting Is Better Than Typing When Learning a New Language"

What do you think?

Handwriting Is Better Than Typing When Learning a New Language…

Researchers tasked 42 adult volunteers with learning the Arabic alphabet from scratch: some through writing it out on paper, some through typing it out on a keyboard, and some through watching and responding to video instructions.

Those in the handwriting group not only learned the unfamiliar letters more quickly, but they were also better able to apply their new knowledge in other areas – by using the letters to make new words and to recognize words they hadn’t seen before, for example.

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I think traditional schooling is too reliant on handwriting.
Anyway, joined cursive also shows this effect with spelling. I think it’s the connection between letters that helps to form connections in the brain. When I type I have common sequences in muscle memory but there’s more of this when writing in longhand.

Also, it’s simply harder work.

Finally, typing tends to involve a light emitting screen, which is:

  1. addictive (citation: TBC)
  2. distracting
  3. gives the message that what’s being written will only be temporary and thus doesn’t need to be remembered

I’d like to see the same comparison with an eink screen.

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I suspect it’s to do with the “levels of processing” effect - the more you interact with the material, the better you remember it. In this case, to write Arabic, you would need to know the initial,medial and final forms of the letters and the rules for joining them, which a computer would handle automatically.

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This study has been around for a while and it dovetails with the common sense idea that the more you engage with the material, the stronger the memory associations.

This is definitely my experience, all my notes were taken by hand and then later rewritten neatly during review with embellishments. I also highly recommend the liberal use of doodles and thumbnail sketches. Such images will bind to your memory.

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