Whether you are an avid note-taker or just starting to learn, we hope this blog will demonstrate the importance of notes and give you some new ideas for creating them. If you already have a note-taking strategy that works for you, that’s awesome! Keep reading, though, because you may learn something new to add to your current strategy.
Why is Note-Taking Important?
Humans forget things easily and quickly. After only one day, most people will have forgotten 62% of what they learned. Our brains transfer information into memory as we process through our senses. However, our brain has trouble deciphering what is important and what is not. As you write, you automatically organize relevant information, which helps your brain retain the new information. A study by UCLA found that cramming (studying a large amount of information in a short period of time) pushes information into short-term memory rather than long-term memory. Taking effective notes all semester will allow your brain time to make connections and move information to long-term memory.
Notes Haven’t Helped Me.
Everyone is unique, meaning there is not one note-taking strategy that works for every single person. If you haven’t been making the grades you would like, try something new. Check out some of the ideas below, and mix and match methods until you find what works best.
If you are more of a creative type or you get bored easily with a lot of text, visual note-taking may be a good option for you! Watch this video to learn the basics of visual note-taking. There are three components to this strategy including Text, Images, and Structure.
Text: This does not mean merely writing the lecture word for word. It means that you should highlight important information based on what you already know. Think about using colors,different styles of writing, underlining, etc. to highlight information you need to remember.
Images: Yes, this does mean you get to doodle in your notes. Please, just make sure it’s relevant. For example, maybe when you’re learning about chemical equations in Chemistry, you could draw a picture of a salt shaker instead of writing “Sodium.”
Structure: This includes graphs, charts, tables, and other forms of organizing. You don’t need a printable to create these. You can draw your own flow charts, Venn diagrams, etc. This helps to easily organize otherwise confusing text.
Another note-taking strategy is called the Cornell Method. You can print the attachment and use it to help you organize your lesson notes. The Cornell method splits your notes into Key Points, Details, and a Summary. As you pay attention to your lessons, jot down the key ideas in the space on the left and important details in the middle. At the end of the lesson, create a summary. Although it may seem like an annoying conclusion to your lesson, this step is crucial to helping your brain decipher what was important and make connections to other things you have learned. Don’t be afraid to combine your Visual Note-Taking tools with this method, such as using multiple colors of writing pens.
Outlining is another way to organize your notes. Take a look at this example:
– Thomas Tallis
– William Byrd
First, the main topic is listed. The next sub-topics are bulleted. Details that fall under those sub-topics are listed in further bullets. Once you start taking notes with this method, it is easier to hear how a lesson could be outlined. Thus, this method can help train your brain to grasp lessons in a more organized fashion.
Type Your Notes
Some people feel as if they can type faster than they write. If you fit into this category, you may want to consider typing your notes in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. You can also use Evernote, which is a free online note-taking tool. Using Evernote, you can access your notes from any computer. Keep in mind that typed notes are not allowed on your final exam. However, you can print your typed notes, highlight what’s important, and write that information down prior to your exam. In fact, that process will further help you in preparing for the test.
We hope these strategies help you take excellent notes in your online courses. If you have a new note-taking idea, we would love to hear about it! Send your idea to the Student Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.