Modern technology gives us many things.

When it comes to studying is paper mightier than the screen

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The HSC exams starts on October 12 and some timely research has just been revealed showing the best way to retain information. But the question is – is it from a screen or from printed notes?

Canon Australia in association with Griffith University and Art of Smart Education launched a new student research project in a bid to uncover the most effective study methods.

The study, conducted among more than 500 students, revealed that learning from printed notes was more effective for retaining information than trying to revise from a screen.

Nearly all students (93 per cent) say they experience problems while trying to study online and for more than half (52 per cent) the temptation to check social media also made it hard for them to focus.

Almost two-fifths of students (39 per cent) became distracted when studying online with 23 per cent saying they struggled to recall what they learned online unless it was printed.

Nearly nine out of 10 students (86 per cent) printed notes to help them study including study notes, articles and pictures.

college girl studying

“As a father of a son who is completing his last year of University I’m not surprised by the findings,” says Jason McLean, director of Canon Consumer Imaging.

“Every student makes study notes in the lead up to their exams, and the study shows they prefer to do it on paper.

“The current Canon PIXMA printer range is great for study support. Students can print online information from the cloud, an app or email, so when it comes to study time, they can review notes away from digital distraction.”

Professor Glenn Finger, Professor of Education at Griffith University, says studying online isn’t the “silicone bullet” for all students.

“While we are making transitions from the use of page to screen and even studying totally online, content changes from screen to screen make it difficult for people to remember what they’ve seen. We cannot assume clicking through many screens equates to successful, deep learning,” he said.

“We need to take notice that students reported hand-written and printed notes offer them a consistent, memorable form to revise as well as reflect.

“These are critically important learning processes which are developed in students throughout all levels of their schooling.”

“Specifically, students’ ability to use printed study materials provides numerous advantages for them, such as annotating directly on the page in a free form way that suits individual notation preferences.

“It is important to understand how successful students engage in deep learning through these practices when they revise, review, rehearse, replay and reflect.”

Here are Rowen Kunz’s (from Art of Smart Education) top tips for exam success.

1. Get your notes organised.

2. Print the syllabus and conduct a self-rating on your level of understanding.

3. Print out your study notes and with a pen and paper write out the key points.

4. Write out the key content at least three times.

5. Try and teach someone else what you’ve learned.

Canon has also created a study guide which can be downloaded from here.