Taking Notes Effectively

Some of the most powerful tools for learning may feel bathetic. And yet, you might experience a sense of excitement when looking closer into them.

Sophisticated digital helpers increasingly suggest they take off the burden of data curation and promise easier communication, easier remembering, easier living. This is where the seemingly counterintuitive act of note taking by hand is like rediscovering a superpower.

A paper by Mueller and Oppenheimer suggest that taking notes with pen and paper is advantageous for remembering.

A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop

An article written for Scientific America by Cindi May, a Professor of Psychology at the College of Charleston

There may be situations where remembering is not a priority, such as meeting minutes. Taking the minutes with a computer might be more efficient here.

When recollection is important, the classic paper note and a pencil are unbeaten. But effectively taking notes needs practice and a system. A proven way to write structured notes well is with the Cornell Notes.

Read a short introduction to Cornell Notes at Cornell University.

A combination of Cornell Notes and Sketchnotes (adding sketches to note taking) can add visual feedback to your notes when revisiting them. There is complete artistic freedom and using this additional technique is optional.

When the best way to take notes is by hand – BBC Future

“. . . if your aim is to understand the material better and not just to create a record of the material, then take notes by hand.”