Brain Hacking 302 – Active Learning: How To Take Awesome Notes & Learn


Notes… You can take them by hand on paper or you can use a device and take them digitally. There’s recent research that finds taking notes by hand leads to improved memory while learning and better test performance. This is because the pen/pencil users tend to paraphrase more, while the laptop users copy notes verbatim being able to type fast enough to keep up with the lecture. Thus, traditional writing is an ACTIVE learning activity, while typing is largely PASSIVE. Here’s a recent NPR Article: Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away that discusses the study published in Psychological Science, in which Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles tested how note-taking by hand or by computer affects learning.

While I am a proponent of taking notes on paper, I do realize that digital note-taking is here to stay and it is improving to include more active learning strategies. One such example is Sketchnoting, which requires a tablet such as an iPad, a stylus, and an app such as FlipInk or Adobe Draw. THE METHODS PRESENTED BELOW CAN BE USED IN BOTH TRADITIONAL AND DIGITAL NOTE-TAKING. The trick is to MAKE NOTE-TAKING AND LEARNING FROM THE NOTES INTO ACTIVE BRAIN ACTIVITIES. The infographic below describes the 7 components of awesome notes and explains how to use notes to learn more effectively, so pass it on to all teachers, parents, and students out there!

This was Infographic #7 in my BRAIN-BASED LEARNING SERIES. Please check out Infographic #1 to learn how to Leverage Sleep to Maximize Learning, Infographic #2 to get Strategies on How to Fight Procrastination, Infographic #3 to maximize Memory Retention, Infographic #4 to learn about how to help students Make Sense Out of Nonsense, Infographic #5 to help students become better Problem-Solvers, Innovators, and Creators, and Infographic #6 on leveraging our 2 thinking modes in learning.

Thanks for reading/looking and I hope you find this information helpful. Please share it with other educators and especially young learners who can greatly benefit from knowing how to take notes and use them to study. They might even like it. I will feature the 8th Brain-Based Learning Infographic: “Brain Hacking 303” in my next NEWSLETTER, so please SIGN UP if you would like to receive some tips on how to help your students become better learners.

And Remember: You have the power to change the world. Use it often.

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