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Taking Notes from a Lecture

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Meagan Morash

on 24 September 2014

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Transcript of Taking Notes from a Lecture

Taking Notes from a Lecture

Why bother taking notes?
The underlying organization & purpose of the lecture will become clear through note taking
3 part system
Good notetaking has three parts:
Before Class
Preview previous notes
Cornell System of notetaking
The Cornell Note-taking method consists of six steps:

Other Notetaking Styles
With the exception of mindmapping, the other styles have similar elements to Cornell.

The summary, questions and self-testing sections work in the same ways as the Cue and Summary sections of Cornell
Choose a note style
Our brains don't all work the same and different subjects can lend themselves to different styles of notetaking
Taking good notes allows you to learn while you're taking notes by facilitating the development of connections between ideas and by increasing the likelihood that the information will end up in long-term memory through repeat exposure & review.

Note-taking can be, itself, a form of active learning. Rather than simply transcribing notes, you are obliged to reflect upon the information and categorize it, making it your own, not just words on a page.
Active VS Passive Learning
Active Learning

Listens to what is being said, not just hears the words being spoken
Prepares for class & reviews material weekly
Takes responsibility for own learning
Asks questions, explores , & reflects on information
Engages intellect
Connects learning to the world & other courses
How good notes help
Organized notes will help identify the core of important ideas in the lecture

They will help you better remember content for exams or the real world

Lectures usually contain clarifying info not available in texts or readings

Lecture is where you learn what the prof thinks is important - useful on exams!

Makes you restructure the information through
Giving it meaning
Forgetting Curve
Ebbinghaus Curve - without review, we forget 60% of what we learned within 9 hours
Before class
Divide up your empty notes pages so they look like this
During class
During the lecture, record notes in the main “Note Taking” column.

Listen for meaningful information, connecting that information to knowledge that has already been acquired. Think about the way in which this new information connects to existing knowledge.
After class
As soon after the lecture as possible, review the notes, looking for key words or phrases.

In the “Cue” column, attempt to categorize the ideas in the notes by theme or concept. This requires you to organize ideas into meaningful units and creates links between individual ideas.

This process helps students interact with the information in a meaningful way and increases the number of ways in which information can be retrieved from memory.
Mind mapping
This presentation uses words, pictures & bullet points. Here's a short form of the same info in a mind map as an example of notes could have been taken from a lecture/workshop on notetaking.
Mind mapping
Passive Learning

Copies instructor’s words without understanding
Lack of regular review
Avoids or projects responsibility for learning
Rote memorizes
Passive, zombie-like acceptance of information
Crams for tests
Comes to class unprepared
Do required readings
You're familiar with new vocabulary
You're familiar with new concepts
You've had time to reflect on ideas and create meaning so the lecture makes more sense
Be prepared to be open-minded to what the lecturer may say even though you may disagree with it.
Gets your brain "in the zone" of the subject
Prompts questions you might have had from the readings
Split page
Can be a combination of Cornell and slide handouts
We'll examine the Cornell Method in detail and the summary,questions and self-testing sections of the other styles will become clear as well.
Date & # each page
Leave margins for later info
Pick out main themes & outline in the intro
Recognize main ideas by signal words
Highlight headings, subheadings & new words using underlining, colored ink, boxes, circles, etc.
Jot down details or examples that support the main ideas
Match note style to content: graphs, diagrams, charts, bullets, indents
Write down the point, not the exact words
Use lecture summary at the end of class to check if you’ve got the main ideas
Incorporate your own knowledge & experience
Ask questions
reduce, recite, reflect, summarize, review
Covering the notes in the “Note-taking” column and using only the retrieval cues from the “Cue” column, attempt to recall as much information from the “Note-taking” column as possible.

Try to phrase the information in a way that seems natural, rather than parroting the exact phrases.

The purpose is not to memorize the material but to develop a deeper understanding of it. Verify that the information is correct.

In addition to encouraging a more active approach to note-taking, this process will facilitate the transfer of information to long term memory.
Reflective students continually label and index their experiences and ideas, put them into structures, outlines, summaries, and frames of reference.

They rearrange and file them.

Unless ideas are placed in categories, unless they are taken up from time to time for re-examination, they will become inert and may soon be forgotten.
Within 24 hours of recording the notes, use the “Summary” section at the bottom of the page to create a short summary of the page.

In creating the summary, a student might ask:
What are the main ideas?
How does this information connect to previous lectures?
Why does this information matter?
What exam questions might be taken from this material? (This question requires a student to practice metacognition, thinking about the emphases an instructor has placed on certain ideas.)

Before each lecture, quickly look over notes from the previous lecture.

Every week, set aside time to review notes. Using the same method as you used during the “Recite” stage of the process, test retention.

This process will serve to consolidate information in the long term memory. It will also provide a context for new information that has been learned since the class was taken.
Here's a video you can watch to see how it all comes together
Presentation by Meagan Morash
Fairbank Memorial Library, BoothUC

For more information or help in this area, contact:
The Academic Learning Centre
Fairbank Memorial Library
Library@BoothUC.ca or (204) 924-4858
Click on the link below to let us know what was most useful and what you'd like to see changed - all in a short three answer form.
Full transcript