Article

Effects of text input system on learner's memory: Handwriting versus typing on tablet PC

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Abstract

We conducted an experimental research to investigate the effects of text input system (handwriting versus typing) on learner's memory when using tablet PC. The experiment was divided into two phases: a 'learning' phase and a 'testing' phase. First, participants were required to repeatedly write some English words by using digital pen or virtual keyboard on the screen. Then, they went through a test to measure the recognition and recall rate. Surprisingly, the results show that there is no significant difference of memory between handwriting group and typing group. Findings are compared with the results of earlier researches that insists complex task of handwriting results in better memory than typing or vice versa. It can be inferred that the characteristics of digital handwriting, skillfulness of users, or time spent on the writing task could have affected the results. Although this study was not sufficient to empirically explain the relationship between text input system and learner's memory, this research makes heuristic contributions to design interfaces that maximize the merit of device when developing learning contents.

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... However, considering the recent incorporation of highly effective stylus input in devices such as the Microsoft Surface, Apple iPad Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Pro, handwriting using a pen or stylus can be a viable text-input option. Handwriting also has proven cognitive benefits over typing including better memory retention and learning [20,22,24,27], which promotes the case for designing and developing effective handwriting applications for use in place of typing for any generic text entry and editing tasks such as note-taking or form-filling [30]. ...
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