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To type or to speak? The effect of input modality on text understanding during note-taking

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Abstract

Though recent technological advances have enabled note-taking through different modalities (e.g., keyboard, digital ink, voice), there is still a lack of understanding of the effect of the modality choice on learning. In this paper, we compared two note-taking input modalities—keyboard and voice—to study their effects on participants' learning. We conducted a study with 60 participants in which they were asked to take notes using voice or keyboard on two independent digital text passages while also making a judgment about their performance on an upcoming test. We built mixed-effects models to examine the effect of the note-taking modality on learners’ text comprehension, the content of notes and their meta-comprehension judgement. Our findings suggest that taking notes using voice leads to a higher conceptual understanding of the text when compared to typing the notes. We also found that using voice triggers generative processes that result in learners taking more elaborate and comprehensive notes. The findings of the study imply that note-taking tools designed for digital learning environments could incorporate voice as an input modality to promote effective note-taking and higher conceptual understanding of the text.
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