Note-taking and the decision to externalize memory
Is Version Of
The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the relationship between note-taking and learning, particularly as it relates to the use of technology in the classroom. Two laboratory studies explore how taking and saving notes on a computer impacts memory for facts and the folders where notes for those facts are stored. A qualitative study provided an updated look at how students think about note-taking and how technology affects their note-taking habits. Another laboratory study explored the difference in recall for facts and folders when notes were taken by hand on note-cards and saved in physical folders or on a computer and saved in digital folders. The first two studies found that the act of choosing where to save notes improved memory for folders while decreasing memory for difficult facts. These results held true regardless of whether participants believed they would be able to use their notes. The qualitative study found that 10 out of the 14 students who were interviewed emphasized the process rather than the product of note-taking and most interviewed students (12 out of 14) altered their note-taking behavior if instructors posted lecture slides online. The final study found that memory for facts and folders was marginally better for participants who handwrote their notes but it may be because they spent more time completing the task.