Drawing May Be the Fastest Way to Learn New Information

A new study shows that drawing is a much more effective way to learn than reading, visualizing, or even writing down new information.

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Whether you are a Picasso, Rembrandt, or simply yourself, there was a time in our life when all of us loved to sit for hours and draw pictures. For most people, that time stops when they grow older and find other hobbies.

New research
shows that drawing is not only a fun past-time, but a much more effective way to learn than reading, visualizing, or even writing down new information. So, doodling in the middle of your note-taking may be a beneficial learning tool and not just a way of passing time.

A series of studies by a research team at the Canadian University of Waterloo set out to see the influence of drawing on memory. They completed several studies where the team asked the study participants to learn a series of words. Half were told to draw them and half to repeatedly write them. They had only four seconds to complete the task.

A second research group had additional time to add more details to the picture or to write the word more times.

The results showed that both drawing and writing were better than reading the words but the group that drew the words recalled more of the details and context than the people who just wrote the words. Artistic ability didn't make any difference at all.

The results were the same when it was tested on complex concepts. It was consistently found that drawing promotes better recognition than writing.

The research team concluded that the findings showed that this learning technique could be used for people of all ages and that it showed the most promise to use as a technique to enhance memory that is impaired from aging.

The next time you need to learn something new, in a lecture or a meeting, don't just read about it or just take notes. Release your inner artist and draw it instead. A picture really can be worth a thousand words.

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