The Benefits of Doodling: Creativity, Focus, and More
The Benefits of Doodling: Creativity, Focus, and More
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Andilynn Feddeler

Students who doodle or fidget in class are often seen as distracted, disengaged, or uninterested in learning, which may not be the case. Research has shown that doodling while listening to a lecture or a conversation can improve knowledge retention and increase cognitive performance, unlike many other multitasking activities. This is because doodling focuses the mind just the right amount to prevent it from wandering or daydreaming during an important lesson. Doodling can have many benefits, some of which include:

  • Stress relief. Just like many other forms of artistic expression, doodling can be a comforting and relaxing activity that lowers stress levels by filling in some of the gaps in learning that come from just copying down what’s on the screen.

  • Improved memory. Doodling helps the mind engage with the content matter in unique, individualized ways that aid in memory retention and concentration. When asked to explain or apply a concept, students may look back on what they were doodling when learning about that subject and remember key information more easily.

  • Creative expression. Anyone, no matter their artistic ability, can doodle. Getting any sort of shapes or marks down on paper can create a new outlet for students to express what they need, want, or think. People who have trouble expressing themselves in words may find comfort in being able to draw out their emotions, even if just in the margins of a notebook.

  • Visual processing activation. Doodling can help connect neural pathways in the brain that aren’t typically stimulated when simply taking notes. The visual component of doodling creates new associations with the content being taught that are easier to recall later.

  • Increased focus and attention. When the mind is occupied by two different tasks—note-taking and doodling—it has less room to wander. Daydreaming may seem harmless, but it can be really distracting and cause students to miss huge chunks of information that may be crucial for understanding the lesson and applying it.