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#21 Alex-Diamine

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 15:42

 

 

That actually convolutes the points. Memorization isn't due to cursive, but overall brain development is.

 

Learning cursive can accelerate overall brain development. Both the reading comprehension types of tasks and the motor skills tasks cause an overall cognitive increase. And a lot of this data is pretty spurious. You notice these are all news articles, and many of them are full of fluffy anecdotal info -- none are psychological studies. The data saying things like "SAT takers who write essays in cursive score higher" aren't particularly well studies. Correlation is not causation, and it could be that those same students might be more comfortable writing, or are more likely to come from a home where writing is valued, or that schools that still teach cursive might also be generally more academically focused, or a dozen other things.

 

Mostly, you know it's good to learn, and you know it isn't bad to learn, but a lot of the benefits  of learning a new writing style are more likely to show up in younger children, where the plasticity of the brain is significantly greater than in an adult.

 

 

As far as remembering content, like from a specific lecture where you take notes, it doesn't matter what hand you're using. You remember much better with hand taken notes. This goes right back to the foundations of how we learn, and how we process short term memory, which is very limited. Most people can only remember about 7 items in short term, any more come in and they'll lose some items from that list. They have to process that information into long term memory if they are to retain it, and that processing is where the hand encoding helps.

 

In my fundamentals of instruction books they said there were three learning methods -- Visual, Auditory, and Tactile. If you can combine more than one, you will remember better than just one. If you use all three you will often learn more quickly, still. Hand writing is tactile AND visual, and has a sort of special extra something as your brain has to process and encode the data so far more of it makes it from short term to long term memory. Typing isn't the same as it doesn't require the same type of mental gymnastics, and reading someone else's notes or a handout sheet doesn't engage the tactile sense at all. That's why people learning a new alphabet gain recognition more quickly when they hand write the characters -- the process of visualizing then recreating the character forces your brain to process it and then reinforce itself tactually and visually.

Additionally, taking lecture notes by hand forces a student to make choices in what is written down, so it actually tends to increase concentration on the lecture. They focus on key items and only get the tactile and visual learning center engaged on those items so, as a result, they create memory triggers that help the brain to recall more extensive information. Very much like mnemonic memory techniques, the brain often stores a LOT of information that you just can't access unless you have some sort of trigger that starts the recall, and good note takers end up reinforcing enough triggers that they can recall a lot of what was not written down when reviewing the notes.

 

That was the explanation I've been looking for. Thank you for that. It was very interesting.



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#22 prf5

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 17:19

Stimulating memory is one reason to take notes. Other reasons include getting a perspective on the material that's being presented, obtaining raw content, organizing your own thoughts, following the presenter's line of thinking, writing down ideas and questions that come to mind, and comparing your knowledge of the material to another person's. On and on. One size doesn't fit all.

 

If you type quickly or take shorthand and your objective is to get something close to a transcript, there's no substitute for using a computer or a Gregg pad and pencil. If you take notes to stimulate mental activity, you may want to use an art pad. If your notes are essentially an outline, you may want to use lined paper and indentation to display the structure.

 

I don't attend classes anymore, but I do go to lectures, meetings, and presentations. Generally, I prefer unlined paper turned landscape and leave a lot of white space for comments that I put in boxes or braces. Sometimes i draw representations or models. But that's me. Your mileage and vehicle may vary.

 

Sometimes, a fountain pen gets in the way. When I go into a room or lecture hall, I rarely know whether I'm going to be spreading out or sitting shoulder to shoulder with others. I might be sitting at a table or writing on my lap. Sometimes I'm writing on handouts. So, what I prefer to take into the room is a thin pad that has a hard back, maybe a fountain pen and pencil, but always a couple of ballpoints.

 

Finally, talk about memory is interesting, but unless there is an active test of recall you can't distinguish memory from construction. I review my notes as soon as I can and supplement what's on the page. Sometimes, all too frequently, I take a look at the notes I've written and file them away.



#23 Moose22

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 00:14

Transcription is not the same as note taking for learning. Actually, direct transcription is detrimental to learning in most studies and everything I've read about instruction says that it is not the best method of note taking for people trying to quickly learn data and that it should not be taught for note taking.

 

Basically, for most people, taking a full transcription as a step in the learning process does nothing more than force them to go through everything again at a later date to chop it into memorizable bits. Likewise, you cannot be an active participant in a meeting and make a good transcription. Maybe 2% of the populace has that level of multi-tasking ability.

 

However, if you want a word for word transcription of events, that's a totally different ballgame. Also, there are even better choices than a standard keyboard, which is why the machines court reporters use aren't QWRTY computers. It's an interesting art. Stenography -- and even gregg shorthand -- is a byproduct of the days when recording was primitive or non existent and really fascinating solutions to the problem of rapid recording of conversation. If you want a nearly full transcription of anything these days, and can't hire a stenographer to be in the room, you can just turn the recorder on your phone or bring one of a zillion cheap digital recorders available.

 

I also draw models. Horrible, not to scale, messy lines and scribbles sometimes, but they occasionally help me wrap my brain around a solution to a problem I'm mulling. Even if they will never be used directly as a reference, they're useful to me.







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