Join Paul Nowak for an in-depth discussion in this video Note-taking for linear vs. nonlinear concepts, part of Learning Study Skills.
- In this chapter, we're going to discuss ways in which you can improve your note-taking abilities. First off, let's think about why we take notes. Usually, it's to refer back to the most critical or personally meaningful information we've read. But have you ever taken notes and never looked back at them? You might have notebooks upon notebooks of notes that you never bothered to refer back to. Was this a waste of time? According to research, no. This effort of taking notes was not a waste of time. Researchers find that the very action of taking a note strengthens your memory of that information, even if you never bother to look at the note again.
Why is that? Because the physical action of taking notes is a form of repetition that helps you better remember information and ideas. Now, if you happen to review your notes, that's another form of repetition. But it's important to realize that simply taking the time to create notes does improve your ability to remember the information. But how should you go about taking notes? You might highlight, take notes in the margins, underline, or take notes on your favorite note-taking app. But it's important to realize the format of your notes does matter.
Have you ever taken notes that ended up looking something like a jumbled up mess? It's very difficult to review notes like this. How do you find specific pieces of information? The notes we're looking at here are linear based notes. Outlines are also very linear, in that they assume Roman numeral number two comes after Roman numeral number one. These notes are most appropriate for information that runs in a specific sequence, like history, or for instructional information that may contain a step one, step two, and so on. But for many other topics, the information doesn't have to be in a specific order.
For example, let's take the general topic of law. There are many different things involved with the topic. There's Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property and Labor Law. There's also Immigration and Contract Law, and we can keep going on, but the point is there is no rigid sequence. All of these topics are associated with law, but in a nonlinear way. This is very different from history, which would follow a specific sequence. Now, a great way to organize nonlinear information is to take notes visually. Mind maps are a great example of this.
Mind maps consist of a central idea in the middle of your page. If you were taking notes while reading, this might be the title of your chapter, with nodes extending from that central idea. The surrounding boxes or bubbles could be headings and subheadings within the chapter, or main points from the material you were reading. Mind maps can include color and other visuals to help you remember even more effectively. Mind maps are effective at helping you remember, because they reflect the way your mind really works. And if you're looking for a great way to take notes while viewing lynda.com courses, check out the My notes tab.
You can find it to the right side of the FAQs tab. The great thing about taking notes within lynda.com is that it will automatically keep track of the location in the video from where you started taking notes, so you know exactly what part of the video the note refers to. Regardless of how you end up taking notes, the most important thing to remember is that note-taking aids your memory. And if you really need to remember something, you should probably be taking notes in a manner that you feel is most appropriate.
- Learning to read faster and more thoroughly
- Improving your note-taking skills
- Enhancing your memory
- Memorizing new words and formulas
- Scoring better on tests
- Creating study plans