I don't see any information on how the students were taking notes on their machines. Just "taking notes on laptops" may mean anything.
I wouldn't be able to take any notes in Microsoft Word or LibreOffice. But in Org-mode I actually take notes more efficiently than I can do than on paper.
To me the greatest advantage of digital notes over pen and paper is that I can extend a topic when I acquire additional information on it (whereas on paper there's usually no physical space to do that), reorganize them by merging related notes into a single unit and also search through them.
Also, I type much faster than I write and I can shape and transform my notes very easily with Org-mode.
But actually I'd prefer if there was some collaborative note-taking going on instead of the huge duplication of work as it is now. Something like wiki-notes, where the purpose of taking notes would be not to recreate them each time but to make them better over time and update them.
I use Org all the time. I even wrote my masters in it (exported to LaTeX and PDF).
I was using MODx Revolution for around two years, and it has many good sides, about which you can read on their website, in the books they published and in their wiki. But there are also some issues that led me to seeking an alternative now. MODx developers, please take this as an attempt of constructive criticism (and sorry for my imperfect English).
This isn't the full list. This is just some random (but major) inconveniences I can recall right now. To me, MODx is a great idea which for some reason wasn't implemented well.
"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." -- Mark Twain