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  • Printed Educational Materials: Why Paper Is Best for Learning

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    Why are printed educational materials the best for learning? The goal of every teacher is to share information that students retain, use, and integrate into their overall knowledge. To do that, they rely on printed educational materials. Research and experience have shown that printed education materials, including printed books, handwritten notes, and flash cards, are the most helpful learning tools.

    Printed Educational Materials Are Key to Learning

    We are used to everything, including our classrooms, being digital. We have also learned that going digital isn’t the answer to everything.

    Printed books still rule in the marketplace, outselling e-books by a wide margin. Book lovers still prefer to read a printed book over an e-book, and there is ample evidence that printed books are preferable for several reasons. They create an emotional connection to the reader, they help children learn to read, and they don’t come with the many psychological problems that come with overexposure to digital screens.

    We have also learned that exclusively digital learning, while useful, isn’t the answer for everyone. After schools and colleges shut down during the pandemic, the negative effects on education were obvious. Students of all ages need a community of learners. They also need printed educational materials to enhance their classroom learning.

    Taking Notes by Hand Improves Learning

    Printed educational materials include handwritten notes, and many education experts state that these notes are essential to retention.

    This is why universities in the U.K., U.S., and other countries recommend that students take notes the old-fashioned way. Many offer guidelines and classes in effective notetaking.

    Taking handwritten notes is a proven, time-honored technique to improve recall and sharpen focus. Studies have found that the same benefits don’t occur if you take digital notes.

    During the pandemic, many schools and universities shut down in favor of online classes. In a study of college students who returned to in-person classes, researchers found that 85% of them experienced a drop in grades.

    How to Incorporate Printed Educational Materials

    What caused this huge drop in grades?

    According to an article by Luke Garbutt at the learning website Glean, these students suffered from an ability to make connections with their teachers and fellow students. Lack of taking notes contributed to a sense of being disconnected from what they were studying. Note taking and other printed educational materials can bridge that gap.

    The article notes that, “In a learning environment where students are cut off from each other and their instructors, where the feeling of a learning community stops at the end of a Zoom call, something more is needed to scaffold those connections.

    Note taking helps move learners from encountering information for the first time, through to encoding and retaining that information, and finally to applying that information in useful ways.”

    To get the most from these printed educational materials, Garbutt suggests using four steps summed up in the acronym CORI.

    • Capture: Notes should capture key data like dates, definitions, and equations.
    • Organize: Students using paper notes should regularly organize the notes they take in class.
    • Refine: Reading over your handwritten notes will strengthen what you learn during classes and lectures. Doing this, students should also discard useless, irrelevant notes.
    • Integrate: Handwritten notes become part of your body of knowledge, and you can apply this knowledge to later learning.

    Learn in a Flash

    Flash cards are one of the best printed educational materials, especially if you’re cramming for a test. Studies have found that combining flash cards with practice tests is a winning combination that will work for any subject.

    These printed educational materials are a respected learning tool for several reasons.

    • They stimulate visual memory. Visual memory makes learning new facts easier, especially for children.
    • You can use them anywhere. If you’re trying to learn a new language or study for a test, carry flash cards in your purse or backpack, and pull them out to review the material while you’re on the go.
    • They increase speed of recall. When you drill with flashcards, you learn to remember the answers quickly. That’s essential for tests, and it’s a great skill to develop for future learning.
    • Flash cards are inexpensive: Like all printed educational materials, flash cards are easy and inexpensive to make.
    • They make learning fun. Students from preschool ages to adult can make learning fun by creating their own flashcards using colored paper, colored pens, stickers, and other education materials.

    Students Need Printed Educational Materials

    Students learn better when they work with printed educational materials, including books, quizzes, charts, pictures, flash cards maps, and other paper education materials. For teachers, it is easier and more efficient to hand out packages of printed educational materials at the start of class than to constantly try to produce these materials throughout the course. These might be the curriculum, reading list classroom rules, and other items the students will find useful.

    Research has found that when students learn by scrolling through an e-book, the process of scrolling becomes distracting and leads to what’s called fragmented learning.

    In an article on learning outcomes at the digital magazine The Conversation, the authors note that, “From our review of research done since 1992, we found that students were able to better comprehend information in print for texts that were more than a page in length. This appears to be related to the disruptive effect that scrolling has on comprehension.”

    Reading the same information from a printed book improves comprehension and retention. Printed educational materials like pictures, charts, and tip sheets reinforce that retention. What works even better is using education materials that are printed in color, so if your budget stretches to that, consider using color in your printed educational materials.

    Take Notes the Right Way

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of many colleges that recommend printed educational materials for all incoming students. The university offers a guide to taking notes and how to use them.

    These tips will work for most learners, including those in early grades and adults who are going back to school or taking corporate training.

    • Preview the textbook or reading assignments ahead of time. You don’t have to read it in detail, but you should get familiar with the paper education materials ahead of time. Read the chapter titles and chapter summaries.
    • Focus on the main points during class. You don’t have to write down everything the teacher says. Focus on key points that are emphasized or repeated, and be sure to write down facts like dates, numbers, and statistics.
    • Review your notes after class. As soon as possible, review your notes to check for clarity and fill in pieces of information you may have skipped. This helps keep you organized and improves retention.
    • Keep your notes organized. Take clear, well-organized notes using the format that works best for you. Don’t just scribble randomly in your textbook or notebook. Use colored tabs, folders, or other visual aids to keep your notes in good order.

    Use Printed Educational Materials to Help Students Learn

    Using paper based materials will help your students understand what you’re teaching and retain that information. Encourage your students to take handwritten notes, create flash cards, and use printed supplements.

    If you are taking a course or class, even an online one, you can use these same printed educational materials to improve your learning, pass your tests, and complete the course successfully. Paper based education materials can benefit everyone.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on education materials. When it’s time to print your own classroom materials, count on Dazzle Printing for great service and affordable rates.


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