Study Shows That Handwriting is More Effective Than Typing in Learning Language

A study titled The Effects of Handwriting Experience on Literacy Learning has shown that writing is a more effective tool than typing when it comes to learning.

How researchers conducted the study

The researchers gathered 42 adults for the study. They split the volunteers into three separate groups and taught them Arabic using different methods. Researchers instructed the first group through writing, the second through typing, and the last through responding to video instructions.

Results from the experiment showed that writing was more effective for learning Arabic. While the average participant made mistakes for an average of 6 sessions, those who wrote needed fewer sessions, with some of them needing only two sessions.

When researchers tested the participants on skills they had not taught them, they found the writing group performed better. They were better at writing, reading, and identifying letters. The group was also better at applying their knowledge, identifying new words, and making words.

According to Robert Wiley, a cognitive scientist from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, while all these methods were effective in learning Arabic, writing worked best. Handwriting gave the participants a stronger representation in their minds. It also allowed their new skills to be implemented more firmly in their minds.

The study can be applied to school children 

Although the study involved adults, researchers believe that the findings can be applied to children to help them with learning. Other studies have shown the advantages of writing.

The study is important for children as writing is replaced by other forms of communication such as typing. It shows that teachers should not completely ignore it as a learning tool.

Brenda Rapp, another cognitive scientist from John Hopkins University, adds that many parents don’t grasp the importance of handwriting as it seems to have become less relevant. However, writing has benefits when learning how to spell, read, and write. Handwriting is not just a skill that is practised for the sake of penmanship.

A professor and chairperson of the department of teacher education and online doctor of education program states that, unlike typing, handwriting combines fine motor skills with neurosensory experiences. As a result, it choreographs thought and movement.

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