People who doodle learn faster

Illustration for article titled People who doodle learn faster

New research published today shows that doodling helps you learn. In fact, say scientists, students should be encouraged to doodle while they take notes in class.

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If you're anything like me, your notes from about the age of seven all the way through postgraduate research are filled with doodles and scribbles in the margin, usually of things that have absolutely nothing to do with whatever you're meant to be understanding. It turns out we may have been on to something.

The researchers argue in a recent article in Science that doodling (about the topic at hand, mind you) can be used in a number of ways to help further science education. They say it can engage people who might otherwise not pay attention; it helps them learn how information is presented; it inspires learning and retention of information; and it can assist people in communicating that information later.

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Illustration for article titled People who doodle learn faster

Given the quality of many of the diagrams I was presented with in class through high school, a bit of doodling practice could go a long way.

So, go ahead and draw in the margins. It's helping you get the most out of that boring meeting — science says so!

Top illustration by artist Scott Wilson

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DISCUSSION

I had a boss that forbade me from doodling. Because I was too good, he said. Lots of people who drew squares and cubes were allowed to keep going, but because I drew recognisable faces, I had to stop. It was extremely frustrating.

Doodling takes up the bit of my brain that was going "La la la! Look over here!" and keeps it quiet, so I can absorb what's going on.