Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Note Taking Tips for Online Learners

Image of a young ma at a computer taking notes

Organized notes should be a concise and complete outline of the most important points and ideas in the lesson.

Why is Note Taking Important?

The process of taking notes helps you to:
  • Clarify ideas not fully understood in the text or in the lessons
  • Comprehend and memorize important information
  • Develop quality assignments
  • Prepare for exams
  • Achieve the course objectives

1. Prepare for your Study Session
Explore different Note Taking Methods. Your method should vary according to the subject and learning materials. For example: Are you reading about literature, social issues or communication skills or are you reading scientific information, formulas or terms?

You can choose traditional methods such as:
Cornell method
Mind maps

You can also explore computer applications for note taking.
Macworld® Magazine Tips
Business News Daily Tips

2. Focus on the Topic
  • Reflect on what you already know about this topic. Review the previous lesson and skim the text. How does this lesson relate to what you knew before?
  • Identify and write the main ideas and supporting details. You can use the outline method or a mind map.
  • Identify unfamiliar terms and concepts and look up for the definitions in the textbook or in the dictionary.
  • Identify material that is unclear or difficult and develop questions to send to your instructor.
3. Summarize
  • Write a summary of the ideas and facts.
  • Use abbreviations, key words and short phrases.
4. Recite
Using your own words repeat what you have learned in this lesson.

5. Assignments and Exams
Review instructions and if necessary clarify with instructor. Following instructions will contribute to relevant assignments. Respond the questions that are being asked.

6. Save your notes
  • Review notes and add comments. Think about your opinions. Reviewing contributes to more effective memorization.
  • Create a folder in your computer to save your notes. You can organize them by lessons. You could also keep them in a three ring folder.

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Beatriz Cohen on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.