Pen-and-paper or keyboard-and-screen?

Which one do you prefer for language learning (flashcards, notes, journaling)?

I’m an all-digital guy: I wouldn’t have been allowed to take a laptop to classes even if I’d owned one back when I was in high school, but I got used to taking only basic quick-and-dirty notes on paper during class and rewriting them into proper digital notes at home. Nowadays I can usually do everything on my PC right away and easily synchronize everything, so I can learn vocabulary or check grammar notes on my phone. It’s very efficient, but the process of writing down this or that is such a minuscule part of the entire process of language learning that I consider it a matter of preference.

I certainly see the angle of digital stuff being distracting: when I read anything longer, I use my ebook reader (where I don’t use WiFi) or go straight up for paper if possible. There’s also a certain pathos of writing things down by hand and keeping notes aesthetic without the use of CSS. Claims of modern tools being efficient can be misleading, not taking into account human motivation, need for creativity etc. So I do see the argument for traditional note-taking and such, I consider trying it out.


Interesting read. I’m mostly “on screen” for learning, even for Kindle (excellent for reading, learning, translating) but I always take a real paper book with me if eating out on my own or going to Coffee1. People often say “Good book?” but wouldn’t be so friendly if I was glued to my screen or phone. I also still use my paper dictionary at home.

Happy learning!