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A Stupid Simple Way to Help Students Learn | Great Online Teaching

When students record notes from a presentation, they learn more, retain it longer, and report more satisfaction with the course.


The benefit of taking notes is not only using them later to review the material. The actual note taking is a powerful learning tool.

Note-taking requires the student to pay attention, understand what is going on, identify what is important, and coordinate the physical act of writing (or typing) with these thought processes.

No matter what you are teaching, encourage you students to take notes while they are listening or reading your content.

Sure it sounds kinda “teachery,” but it can be a game changer. When your students start taking notes on the new information in your course, they will start seeing unbelievable results.

It’s your job to help them use this powerful learning technique. And it is one of the easiest teaching strategies to implement.


Teaching Tip: Help students to take notes

It really is as simple as telling students to take notes. Doesn’t get easier than that.

Take it one step further by providing a framework for taking useful notes. For example, Powerpoint lets you print note pages so students can take notes about the content of a slide in the space next to that slide.

You could also simply provide an outline, but be careful not to make it too detailed. You want the students to do the actual writing (or typing) of the information. Your outline should just guide them toward the key points to stay focused on.

Providing transcripts of a video presentation does not take the place of encouraging note taking. The transcript is useful for the student who would rather read than listen to a lecture, but it doesn’t help them to process the information like taking notes does. If you have a transcript, also encourage students to use the note taking cheat sheet.

It takes practically no time to add this support system to your courses: encourage note taking in your introduction or welcome, remind students to take notes periodically throughout the course, and give them a tool to help them focus and get the key points into their notes.