The Effects of Graphic Organizer Completeness and Note-taking Medium on Computer-based Learning

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Education and Information Technologies






The purpose of this study was to determine how graphic organizer completeness (complete, partial, or no organizer) and note-taking medium (longhand or computer) affect note-taking quantity and quality and affect computer-based learning. College students were presented with a computer-based PowerPoint lesson accompanied by complete, partial, or no graphic organizers. Throughout the lesson, students recorded notes using either longhand or computer mediums. Students were tested immediately following the lesson and again two days later following a review period during which graphic organizers and notes were studied. Finally, students completed a survey. Results revealed that organizer completeness affected achievement. Those given complete organizers generally achieved more than those with partial or no organizers across fact-, relationship-, concept-, and skill-based test items. Note-taking medium did not affect achievement differentially, but there were important note-taking findings. Longhand note takers recorded more lesson ideas in notes and had fewer verbatim strings in notes (reflective of more generative processing) compared to computer note takers. Moreover, longhand note takers reported more positive attitudes about their note-taking medium than did computer note takers. Results suggested that complete organizers aid germane load more than partial organizers and that longhand note taking results in deeper processing than does computer note taking. Therefore, instructors should provide complete organizers to promote student learning and should encourage students to take longhand notes when they learn in a computer-based learning environment.


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