Essay on Doodling Influences

Published: 2021/12/16
Number of words: 1617


As a teacher, there is a lot of importance attached to students’ eye focus when the teacher is teaching. Nevertheless, a limited search of doodling effects indicates retention is increased if the students are allowed to doodle during instruction time. If around learners that doodle present a 10% increase in retention, testing ability or concentration, that is sufficient improvement that calls for a teacher to consider changing lesson plans. Both students and teachers will benefit from this research hence it can be considered a win-win situation. If the research demonstrates that doodling does not contribute to retention during lessons, students can be discouraged from doodling. However, if doodle does contribute to retention, then teachers can add doodling to their lesson plans. Research that is either for or against doodling can led to establishment of lesson plans which permit or prohibit doodling. Due to the importance of establishing the influences of doodling on learning, this paper will look into doodling and its effects on the brain. The results will be significant in impacting education in every grade from kindergarten through college.

Questions about Doodling influences

There is importance in comprehending the manner in which the mind can store information in the course of a lesson while a student doodles. The most asked question is whether the mind remembers better when it comes to particular doodle types. In addition, most people wonder whether the doodles have to have a relation with the words which the learners are hearing, even if they are unsystematically decided by the learner. Such questions re aimed at establishing how retention, focus and attention can be affected by learners’ doodling.

Need an essay assistance?
Our professional writers are here to help you.
Place an order

Literature Review

When it comes to education, knowledge transfer is not the only component to be considered; various techniques that can be applied in the transfer of knowledge is also vital. Educational performance is determined by a working memory’s functionality. Due to the fact that a working memory is reliant on concentration, attempts to improve concentration will definitely impact the learning process in a positive way. Day-dreaming as well as mental wandering are deliberated as barricades of educational development, leading to inadequate educational performance (Tadayon & Afhami, 2016). There is doodling prevalence, particularly among students of lower age groups.

Doodling influences on retention

Most students tend to report doodling naturalistically. For quite some time, people have assumed that doodling is a form of distraction, especially in a classroom setting. Nevertheless, there are other arguments which attempt to prove that structured doodling has the ability to help high school students in focusing and retention (Sundararaman, 2020). A study which is an expansion to preceding research investigates how auditory recall can be affected by structured as well as unstructured doodling. The study employs a multi-method quantitative approach which involves a control, unstructured and structured doodling group, as well as a questionnaire to in order to evaluate the students’ doodling experience. In all the three conditions, the students took a test after listening to a history lecture, doodling in both experimental conditions. The outcome of the test established that the students involved in the structured as well as unstructured doodling group attained better performance compared to the students in the control group. Structured doodling presented the highest score among the three groups.

Prevention of mental wandering

Doodling can be used as form of remedy against mental wandering in order to augment retention as well as recall in the course of instruction (Tadayon & Afhami, 2016). Doodlers are surprisingly more successful in remembering compared to the non-doodlers when it comes to an auditory task. However, doodling can affect performance negatively when it comes to a visual recall task. A group of students, aged between 12–13 years, 169 in number, from a junior high school, was involved in a study. A section of the Natural Science course was taught and the students were handed a blank paper sheets during ten sittings of the course, with permission to doodle. In order to assess the doodling effect between the experiment group (doodlers) and control group (non-doodlers), 27 students were randomly selected. A t-test analysis was performed to compare the grades; the experiment group performed better than the control group considerably.

Improved comprehension

Doodling can help student to improve their comprehension as well as problem-solving skills. When it comes to boring tasks, doodling invites a student to pay attention to the present; therefore it should not be considered a distraction, but rather, as a form of mindfulness. According to an article by Pillay (2015), doodling keeps the brain alert when the students are bored with the content being presented to them. In fact, students that doodled showed a 29% increase in retention. Doodling keeps a student from falling asleep, or rather staring vacuously because the brain has turned off. The go-ahead to “free-draw” helps to keep the student’s brain online for a longer while. Additionally, when students pay continuous attention, a strain is placed on the brain; doodling offers the break needed by the brain to avoid losing complete interest. A report based on medical students that are used to grasping large portions of information reveals that they prefer doodling for a limited amount of time, as a learning style. (Pillay, 2015). A 30-minute doodle will help the students to recall information and offer a much required break from the heaps of information they ought to go through.

Visualization ability

When children doodle according to Cora, et al. (2021), they gain the ability to visualize and to proficiently generate concept maps. The concept maps help them to learn significant concepts as well as to swiftly make connections as they progress in age. In a conducted study, doodles were found to help students in recalling a conversation, where non-doodlers were not able to recall the conversation as well (Cora, et al., 2021).

Remembrance through drawing

A long known fact is that drawing aids a person to remember. A new study conducted by Terada (2019), indicates the superiority of drawing as compared to reading or writing. Drawing forces, a person to process data in manifold manners: semantically, visually and kinesthetically. Drawing concepts is estimated to be a more effective and consistent encoding strategy compared to writing, regardless of whether the students know how to draw well. Drawing necessitates amplification on the term meaning as well as deciphering the meaning to a new form. Therefore, the students have to pay attention to what they are learning and restructure it in a manner which makes more sense to them. When learners draw something, they are able to process the information in three diverse ways, hence they learn three times over.

Prevention of mental overload

Sketching expedites the connection of hands and the mind (Sung, et al., 2019). Young students have to be provided with suitable cognitive scaffolding in order to prevent mental overload. Therefore, doodling, which is a form of sketching, can help a young student to build and develop knowledge in effective manners. General education ought to not only sustain a student’s cognitive development, but also foster intrinsic as well as extrinsic values (Sung, et al., 2019).

Worry about your grades?
See how we can help you with our essay writing service.

Structured vs Unstructured Doodling

According to Boggs, et al. (2017), structured doodling presents a different influence compared to unstructured doodling. In addition, doodling that is structured can be applied as a note taking process. An experimental study incorporated 93 undergraduate students who were randomly consigned to either note taking, control, structured doodling or unstructured doodling. The results pointed to that students involved in the unstructured doodling had a worse performance compared to the ones involved in the structured doodling as well as note-taking condition.


Based on the given accounts, it is clear that despite common beliefs that doodling interferes with students’ concentration, recent studies show that doodling has positive effects on student’s concentration. Doodling seems to uphold arousal while using little cognitive resources compared to daydreaming, which uses a lot of cognitive resources. There needs to be clarity on whether students who doodle engage in less daydreaming compared to students that listen and take notes. There is need to establish ecological validity in order to inaugurate which type of doodling has the ability to moderate the association between doodling and augmented recall capacity. Therefore, future studies should recommend a pattern or sample for doodling. In addition, specification of the recommended amount of time for doodling, based on each age group, should be suggested for standardization purposes. Before teachers start considering whether they should add doodling to their lesson plans, a clear framework of doodling influences need to be established.


Boggs, J. B., Cohen, J. L., & Marchand, G. C. (2017). The effects of doodling on recall ability. Psychological Thought10(1), 206.

Cora, M. I. R., Gonzales, S., Sarmiento, M., Young, A. E., Esparza, E., Madjer, N., … & Abulatan, I. (2021). The Power of a Doodling Brain: Concept Maps as Pathways to Learning. Education Quarterly Reviews4(1).

Sung, E., Kelley, T. R., & Han, J. (2019). Influence of sketching instruction on elementary students’ design cognition: a study of three sketching approaches. Journal of Engineering Design.

Sundararaman, D. (2020). Doodle away: Exploring the effects of doodling on recall ability of high school students. International Journal of Psychological Studies12(2), 31-44.

Tadayon, M., & Afhami, R. (2017). Doodling effects on junior high school students’ learning. International Journal of Art & Design Education36(1), 118-125.

Pillay, S. (2015, December 15). The “thinking” benefits of doodling [web log].

The Science of Drawing and Memory By Youki Terada

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Online Chat Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055