Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019 - 13

PERFORMANCE MATTERS
JULIE WINKLE GIULIONI

WRITE ON!
We are fortunate to live in a time where
the boundaries and limitations that
previously capped our learning are being
challenged and systematically dismantled
as a result of available technology and
our creative applications of it. However,
by embracing these technologies that
absorb the consequences of failure, enable
perfection through practice, and accelerate
learning, are we losing anything in the
process? Some researchers say, "yes!"

research found that both word recall and
retention improve when notes are taken by
hand versus with the use of technology.

As more of our learning emanates from
computers, tablets and phones, there has
been a sharp decline in the frequency
with which we use a pen or pencil to write.
Increasingly, students in school and people
in the workplace resort to typing notes,
reminders and more. And, the results may
negatively affect knowledge and skill
acquisition, recall and use.

That "something," according to researchers
Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer,
may be that taking notes by hand requires
different cognitive processing than doing
so in a technology-enabled way: "these
different processes have consequences
for learning. Writing by hand is slower
and more cumbersome than typing, and
students cannot possibly write down
every word in a lecture. Instead, they
listen, digest and summarize so that they
can succinctly capture the essence of the
information. Thus, taking notes by hand
forces the brain to engage in some heavy
'mental lifting,' and these efforts foster
comprehension and retention."

How Technology Affects Learning
According to Virginia Berninger, a professor
of educational psychology at the University
of Washington, fMRI data demonstrates
that writing by hand activates "massive
regions involved in thinking, language and
working memory." It also stimulates the
reticular activation system, responsible for
filtering information and concentrating
our attention. All of this is necessary for
the development of new skills and abilities.
As a result, activating these brain regions is
a high priority when learning.
Jane Vincent, guest teacher and visiting
fellow in the Department of Media and
Communications at the London School of
Economics and Political Science, conducted
a study of 650 university students in 10
countries and reported: "many of the
students in our study found [that] making
handwritten notes leads to greater
retention of data than if it is typed." Her

According to the Association for
Psychological Science, one of the problems
is that "there is something about typing
that leads to mindless processing. And
there is something about ink and paper
that prompts students to go beyond merely
hearing and recording new information."

In addition to the mental lift, simply lifting
one's hand might account for improved
learning on the part of those who write
versus type. According to Longchamp
et al 2011, the "connection with muscle
movement provides visual receptors and
memory capacity." In fact, it might not
even matter what one writes. Something
as nonsensical as doodling appears to be
beneficial. In one study, those who doodled
during a voicemail recalled 29 percent
more of its contents than those who
didn't doodle.
Offer Opportunities to Write
These research results aren't intended as an

indictment of technology or an argument
against its role in learning. Instead, they
represent a tremendous opportunity to
take learning practices to a new level with
some simple and inexpensive instructional
strategies that encourage writing and
the benefits that come along with it.
For instance:
*	 Develop and distribute physical notetaking tools to accompany technologyenabled learning. Even if they never refer
to them again, participants will realize
the positive effects through the action
of writing.
*	 Build physical note-taking activities into
the instructional design. Offer breaks
throughout the learning experience for
reflection, idea capture and journaling.
Opportunities to reflect can reduce
stress and allow participants to get more
instructional value.
*	 Consider "create your own job aid"
options. Rather than supplying a preconstructed performance support tool,
invite participants to synthesize their
insights into their own unique and
handwritten representation.
Small, low-tech adjustments like these can
supplement the sophisticated systems
and strategies we've devised for learning.
They can activate regions of the brain that
encourage greater recall, integration and
application. They can slow things down
enough to allow for the thinking time
required for growth and change. And they
can help us get learning "write."
Julie Winkle Giulioni has 25 years of experience
working with organizations worldwide to
improve performance through learning.
Email Julie.

T RAIN IN G I N DU STR Y M AGAZ INE - TRAINING IN ANOTHER DIMENSION 20 1 9 I WWW. T RAI NINGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20190304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20190102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20181112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20180910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20180708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20180506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20180304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20180102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20171112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20170910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20170708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20170506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20170304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20171112_se
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20161112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2016fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2016summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2016sales
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2016spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2016winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015outsourcing
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015leadership
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2014fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2014summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2014spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2014winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2013fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2013summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2013spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2013winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2012fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2012summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2012spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2012winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2011fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2011summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2011spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2011winter
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2010spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2010winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2009fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2009summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2009spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2009winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2008fall
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