notes on learning, design, tools, & life

How to take great notes

Some solid tips from FutureLearn on taking notes. A couple stand out especially to me:

Don’t just transcribe

Whether you’re sat watching a video, or in a lecture hall, it’s easy to just frantically try and scribble down everything the speaker is saying. The result is usually smudged, nonsensical notes and a sore hand. You end up focusing on transcribing instead of learning. Try and filter what the speaker is saying, listen for key points, or jot down things to research further.

I’d add that it’s quite easy to disengage and go into a passive mode if you try to get things down word for word. Passing what you’re hearing and seeing through your own filter nudges your mind to think through what it’s absorbing for itself.

This advice at the end is great as well:

Play to your strengths – prefer learning by listening? Record yourself reading your notes. Prefer visual learning? Get artistic and draw out concepts and illustrations. There’s no one way to take good notes, it’s about what suits you.

For some inspiration here, have a look at Sketchnote Army or get yourself a copy of Lynda Barry’s excellent Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor.