Welcome. We’re glad that you guys are here. We want to talk about taking effective notes. We are glad that you both joined us.
Just an introduction about note-taking, it’s an essential learning skill for college. One of the reasons that note-taking is so important is that our brains can only hold on to new information until something else comes along. Certainly, when we’re sitting in a class, it’s an hour and a half about constant new information. It’s going to push the old new information out of your getting new new information. We really want to make sure that all students are equipped with a means of keeping the information that’s coming at you and having it accessible to you after class. Using carefully organized notes gives you a lasting record of a class and the information that you’ve been given, and an opportunity to understand and learn what you’ve heard.
There will be some objectives. This workshop will cover a few things. The purpose and benefits of effective note-taking, the skills of active listening. We will go over a few note-taking methods as well as learning styles and strategies before, during, and after note-taking. The goals of this workshop, you’ll be able to explain the purpose of note-taking, demonstrate active listening strategies, practice approaches for systematic note-taking, and apply several of those note-taking methods that we will cover, as well as assess your current listening, learning, and note-taking skills and plan strategies for improvement.
I just realized we should probably take a moment. I’m Heather Crofoot and this is Jeanne Shaw. We both work in the learning commons and academic support. One of our roles is to hire and train note-takers for students with disabilities that received that as an accommodation. Just realized we should probably introduce ourselves. What are the benefits of note-taking? Beyond just having a record of what was presented in class, effective note-taking keeps you alert. I don’t know about you. Sometimes I will take notes even if it’s information I know because otherwise, I might fall asleep. It keeps me engaged, it keeps me actively involved in what’s happening in the classroom, keeps me from looking out the window. It also engages our minds. Listening carefully and deciding what to include in our notes keeps our minds actively involved in what we’re listening to, what we’re hearing, and choosing and deciding what it is we’re going to write down.
It emphasizes and organizes information. Certainly, as we take notes, we have to decide what information we’re going to take down. What are the key pieces that we want to highlight in our notes so that we have accessible to us later? We want to identify the structure of the class, listening to the presenter, determining what are the key pieces that we want to have, identify those supporting points. We’ll have main points and then all the little pieces that come after. By doing so, we make studying and understanding the information that we’ve written down easier to review after class. Organizing notes also make it easier to link classroom learning to textbook reading. I think a lot of times we’d be, I’m not going to read it because the instructor said we’re going to go over it in class. Well, if we read it ahead of time or afterwards, our brain starts to make those connection points, and it makes that new information become long-term information in our brains. It also creates a condensed record for study. Besides well-organized, gives you something to work from and review after class.
Where does note-taking start? Note-taking depends on active listening. Active listening requires you to listen attentively to a speaker to try to understand what they’re saying, respond and reflect on what’s being said, and retain the information for later.
Listening well is an active process. It requires determination, energy, and attention. The following can help you listen thoroughly, actively, and accurately. Overcoming distractions. No matter what the distraction may be, noises, cell phones, people, you must take responsibility for concentrating on what a class provides. No one else can listen for you, so make a commitment to listen whenever it’s difficult and reduce any distractions for yourself.
Also, focus on central things. Imagine that you must summarize the information. This will force you to decide on central information to pass on. Use speed of thoughts to make sense of what you’re hearing. This kind of thinking requires concentration. Prepare for class by doing assigned readings and reviewing previous class notes. You’ll be well-prepared to take in and organize new information that you hear. Judge the message, not the messenger.
Is the key.
Not all instructors are excellent presenters. I was joking while we did a run-through yesterday, Heather and I, I am not the best presenter. But if you can take in that information, whatever they’re presenting is still valuable. Focus on what you’re hearing, not how it’s being presented. Determine to learn from every class presentation.
One last thing, maintain your focus. When your mind wanders, try to refocus. Bring your attention back to what you hear. If you’re confused or lose interest, ask a question. Put a little question mark in your notes and then at a later point, you can discuss that with your instructor or even another student in class. Always keep up with your note-taking so that your record of each class will be complete. Without active listening, you cannot take effective notes. Without effective notes, you will have no lasting learning from a class session. Remember, learning begins with listening.
The next thing we want to talk about our different note-taking methods. Truly, no one ever taught me note-taking methods. It wasn’t until I got here and I thought, well now I want to go take classes and actually try this. There are several note-taking methods. We’re going to talk about a few of them. These are really the most common. There are some additional, but the five at the bottom and what we’ll discuss are the most common. When you’re choosing and note-taking method, it’s really important to take into consideration your learning style along with the subject or the course that you’re taking notes in and that’s really going to help determine which will be the best. It’s helpful to try out different methods. Particularly if you’re maybe taking a new subject a new course that you’ve never taken before and try to figure out what would work, or you’d never find note-taking methods in your life who know? I don’t know which one will work for me. Try them out, see which one you find most helpful. Not necessarily just while you’re taking the notes, but what’s helpful to you after last, what makes them most usable in the most helpful to you. The following note-taking methods will offer you a variety of ways to record notes. We didn’t hand out some blank exactly. We got some blank some all of these either as examples or for you to try out where it’s reset for you. We’re going to look at verbatim notes, outline method, the Cornell method, the charting method, and the mind mapping method.
When students take for, I don’t know if this is supposed to be me, but I’m going to go, so when students take verbatim notes. It just means they’re writing down everything that the instructor says, or at least as much of it as they can as they hear it. Really no particular format, it’s just, here’s more info, and I’m going to write it down. These notes can be a little hard to decipher and can be incomplete because honestly, we can write as fast as the instructor can speak. If you’re just writing everything they say without using any discernment about what maybe important key points and what aren’t, then we may lose some things because we can’t keep up. Really verbatim notes require a lot more attention and reorganization after class to be useful for study. But they are better than no notes at all. But let’s look at some other more efficient approaches.
This is the outline method. It might look familiar. This is actually how I take a lot of my notes. It’s for people who like simplicity. It’s one of the easiest ways to take notes, and it comes naturally to most people. It organizes the information in a highly structured manner, in a logical manner. Outline notes require active listening, as we talked about, and thoughtful decision to determine and record important points. The Outline Method is useful when you’re taking notes on one subject at a time, or when you are trying to organize something into different categories. We have an example here. The outline method, you structure the notes in the form of an outline, and you use bullet points. These bullet points will represent different topics and sub-topics. Start writing main topics on the far left of the page and add related subtopics bullet points below using indents. The key is to align information so that you established organization of ideas as you write them down. It’s just a great simple way to take notes. It helps you follow along, and it also helps you pay attention during class.
The next method we’re going to talk about is the Cornell method. Named that because a professor from Cornell and read it at it’s recommended actually by most colleges because it’s got a great record of success. In this strength of this particular method is in the page layout, and we’ll show you that in just a minute. But it involves dividing paper into two columns and then a row across the bottom. We can move to that, so we can take a look, and we’re going to use students. Anyone could be for anything you’d go to if you want to put notes in the right-hand column where it says note taking column. Then in the left-hand side and the acute column are keywords and questions. Then just a summary at the bottom. Here was the overall just up the class today. They’re really nice piece of this is that it’s a great way to quiz yourself because you can cover either the left or right hand and see if you can provide the answer that’s in the other.
The Cornell Method is very successful study strategy that many fine increase their understanding of the material. Some people do include that box at the bottom, while others don’t. They just use the two columns. Again, it’s going to be trial and error as you utilize or if you choose to try this method of whether you liked the box at the bottom or not. Using that summary. It’s just another form of review, and it adds to that critical thinking about the subject matter.
Here is another massive, it’s called the charting method.
This one speaks to my OCD Jeannie [OVERLAPPING] Nice yes this one
You can use this to condense and organize your notes. It’s an ideal method for notes that involve a lot of information in the form of facts. There you can organize in several columns as it looks. It’s similar to a table or an Excel spreadsheet. These are helpful if the lecture has a clear outline, and you can create the chart based on the different categories of information that the instructor covers. As you listen, you can go and fill in the chart with each fact. There’s some advantages to this because it reduces the amount of writing necessary. It’s useful for comparing similar topics and helpful in courses where you need to memorize the facts.
The last one we’re going to talk about it as the mind-mapping method. I like this one just because I think it’s cool to look at. I don’t know that my brain would do as well, but I like how it looks. The mind-mapping method is a great way of taking notes for specific types of subjects. We just looked at the charting and where everything was separate. What’s great about mind mapping is for subjects where things are all interconnected. Things like chemistry, history, philosophy, where things don’t tend to stand on their own, but they’re all interconnected. It’s still organized, but there’s still connected by using the column branches or bubbles. If we want to go to the next page, I think we have an example. Yeah. Find your main topic. Then you can create either branches or bubbles. Or maybe you make clouds you can use a variety of different things. But everything is off of that main topic. Everything connects back to it, which can be a little different than some other courses. This would really be specific to certain types of topics or subjects. You have, your main topic, you’re going to add and connect subtopics and then key points off the subtopics, and you can even go further than that by adding additional key points and just it makes a great picture. Things like data, formulas supporting facts and related concepts make for great branches. In an advantage of this format is that it can help you visually see how the information is all connected. Mapping can also help break down large projects or topics into manageable chunks. It’s nice. I think one of the things I was thinking about for projects, when things aren’t necessarily linear, that I have to do a before b. That mapping is nice because you can just pick wherever rather than trying to go into linear format.
What’s note-taking system is the best? We covered a few of them and like Heather mentioned earlier there are many ways to take notes. No one note-taking method is good for all students in all situations, everyone’s different. Every person learns and studies in a different manner. With this in mind, consider how you study, and you can determine the method that compliments that. It depends on what you’re learning, and we will discuss the snacks. It’ll depend on your own learning style. It all depends each one has its own advantages. You should also be ready to modify these methods to fit the needs of specific classes or instructors.
Learning styles I mentioned that. Learning style, it refers to an individual’s preferred methods of how they process information. It represents how they gather, how they understand, and retain new knowledge. There’s a few different learning styles that we will cover.
Yeah. There’s many types as Jeanne just said, let’s cover a few of them. One learning cipher type are visual learners. Visual learners learn best by seeing, by observing things like pictures, diagrams, written directions. Visual learners should make their notes visually memorable. Use colored pens or highlighters, drawings, graphs, charts, drawings, not meaning doodles, but drawings about what’s being presented. Flashcards can often be an effective study tool for visual learners.
There’s auditory learners. Auditory learners, they tend to learn better when the subject matter, when it’s reinforced by sound. Auditory learners, they listen carefully during lectures, and they need to focus more on what the instructor is saying, rather than writing every detail. When reviewing their notes, they will benefit from reading and repeating key information out loud.
Then there’s our kinesthetic learners. We landed it Jeanne. Kinesthetic learners are hands-on, and they thrive when engaging all of their senses during coursework. During lectures, they should focus on note-taking because the writing itself, the physical act of writing, is an activity in it. It just helps their brain and their memory to engage in the learning process and the information that’s coming in. Kinesthetic learners learn best when they are active during study time. Some ways to do this might include drawing diagrams or illustrations while reviewing notes.
One of the things I think I don’t know if anyone’s ever, and think about having worked in the elementary school, and you see that kid that just they’re standing up on their feet, and they’re doing their work, they’re leaning over and their desk, but they’ve got to stand, or they’ve got adjust their feet. It is just they’re engaging their whole body in their learning process because that’s their learning style. That’s how they engage their brain and their memory making the best. They can’t sit still, and you’re like maybe just not my learning style. You go ahead as long as you’re not disruptive.
Working with their learning style instead of against it, it can make note-taking less of a chore. There’s this great learning style survey that Portland State University created. If you’re curious to know what your learning style is, this is a great survey to take. Heather and I will provide you with this information.
We’ll follow up with an e-mail that will pop up afterwards.
That way you can take that survey and figure out what your learning style might be. Well, we do have a few strategies,
strategies before, during, and after class. These are several tips, and they can improve the quality of your notes in every class. You can pick one or two from each category to try it out. Before class. Read, or at least try to skim the assigned chapter in your previous session’s notes.
I feel like we just gave them permission to cheat. You don’t have to read it. You can just skim it. You don’t have to read it.
It’s been an idea of what class is going to be about.
Where you can easily see in here. I always like to sit in the very front of the class. I always thought that helped me when I went to school. Of course, turn off your cell phone to reduce distractions. Make sure you’re prepared. Have all of your materials pens, paper, textbooks, all of that handy. You can select the note-taking system that works best for class that you’re attending. Try out one of the methods.
During class, there’s a number of things. Date and number each page of your notes, and identify the main topic for that day. Listen actively and focus clearly on the presentation using some of the things we talked about earlier. If you find, maybe that, the instructor is going quickly, maybe use abbreviations or find codes that work for you repeatedly to help increase the speed of your writing. If you missed something or go, "I didn’t catch that", just leave a space between them. Either catch another student at the class or ask the instructor later, so you can fill it in. Then break down when the instructor emphasizes main ideas or details because that’s usually a pretty good indication that it’s going to be on a test or wanted in a paper somewhere.
After class. You can compare notes with a classmate to check your own notes and accuracy of your notes. Review and edit your notes. This is where you can go back if you left that blank. You can go back and fill in any missing details. Summarize your notes with marginal phrases, and you can identify potential test questions. Going back to the Cornell method that we talked about. Check your notes against the textbook. Review your notes within 24 hours and before the next class. Use your notes to write summaries and other guides for active learning. Make sure you keep your notes in a secure place, so you can know where to find them.
In conclusion, whatever approach that you choose to take notes, remember that it’s really important to still engage in active learning. You do that by reviewing those notes, going through them, maybe rewriting them. Not just that day but through the entire course. Collecting, you can have great notes but if you pull them all out the day before the test and that’s the first time you’ve looked at them since you took them not so good. That’s just a recipe that you’re not going to do well, so it’s an ongoing process. Taking your notes, reviewing your notes are something you need to do through the entire semester. Learning like exercising for fitness happens over time, not all at once. Though the reality is your instructors can teach you, they can provide you all of the information, but no one else can learn for you. That job is yours and yours alone. Preparing for, taking, and studying your notes is an essential part of becoming a successful learner and getting the most out of the time and effort you spend in class. Contact information. We will actually send the PowerPoint to you. If you’re like, "I don’t remember what this is, or I want to look up more info on it." This is our contact info. Feel free to reach out, at any time with questions or thoughts, or feedback. We do want to give credit where credit’s due so these are our cited resources that helped us along with this.