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Longhand Versus Laptop Note Taking and Lecture Rate Influence

Junrong Lu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Most college students take lecture notes to prepare for tests. With technology development, more students are recording notes on laptops rather than writing them longhand. Previous studies comparing laptop and longhand note taking mediums yielded mixed results, highlighting the need to identify influencing factors. The present study investigated a potential factor, lecture rate, through two experiments. Experiment 1 examined whether lecture rate differentially influences longhand and laptop note taking without note review. Experiment 2 investigated lecture rate effects before and after note review. Dependent measures pertained to various note-taking indices (e.g., verbatim overlap with lecture transcripts and numbers of words, idea units, images, and structure types), achievement measures (e.g., recall and recognition test scores), and attitudes (e.g., review methods, note-taking medium attitudes, and lecture-rate attitudes). Each experiment involved approximately 120 college students assigned randomly to note-taking medium/lecture rate (fast: 180 wpm vs. slow: 100 wpm) groups: longhand notes with fast lecture, longhand notes with slow lecture, laptop notes with fast lecture, and laptop notes with slow lecture. Note-taking medium results showed laptop note takers compared to longhand note takers recorded more notes, had a higher verbatim overlap rate with lecture transcripts, organized notes with fewer structure types, recorded fewer images, and copied notes less frequently during review. Lecture rate results showed that students experiencing slower lectures took more complete notes, had more positive attitudes toward note taking, summarized notes more frequently during review, and received higher scores on recognition tests after review than those experiencing faster lectures. Implications suggest that college instructors should slow down lecture rates to facilitate note taking, encourage students to record longhand notes when images are presented, and provide guidance on note structures and review strategies.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Educational technology|Education

Recommended Citation

Lu, Junrong, "Longhand Versus Laptop Note Taking and Lecture Rate Influence" (2024). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI31244127.