I have started seeing examples of visual note taking all over. As
someone who likes to take notes and loves to learn new things, I was
immediately interested. With conference weekend last weekend, I
finally had a great chance to practice.
weekend was ideal, because there was lots to take notes on (ten hours
of broadcasts), and I won’t really need my notes to remember the
material. All of the talks will be available soon in multiple
still took my regular notes alongside my visual notes. This was nice
as I was able to look back at them for points I missed. This was not
nice, because by the end of the weekend, my hand really, really hurt.
learned a lot in this first attempt. First, visual notes are
wonderful for review. They are fun to look back at, and really
condense the talk into a few key points. In that respect, they are a
bit like a comic journal versus a regular journal. I may never reread
my conference notes once I have the written copy of the talks in
hand. I will most likely look at my visual notes, if only to
remember quickly who said what.
it’s easy to take note of something just because it makes a great
visual image and miss the main point of the talk. Also, some things
that you want to emphasize aren’t easy to make visually appealing. I
will have to study this some more and see what other people do.
I watched the women’s session at the church where the lights were
dim, so I took regular notes and completed the visual notes later
instead of at the same time. I think those notes are probably the
best representation of the talks. Creating visual notes that are
really useful might best be done after hearing the entire talk, so
that it is a good representation of the main points of the talk and
what I really want to remember.
I will definitely repeat this experiment. I think that visual notes are a great way to focus on the main points of a talk or lecture and have the information available for easy reference later. It’s also a good method to review what I’ve learned and think about it carefully.
you ever taken visual notes? Do you have any advice? Do you have
any recommendations of great examples of visual notes for me to
study? Please let me know!
When trying to learn something on your
own, it is important to spend some time on figuring out how you learn
best. I think that most people have a combination of strategies that
they use when learning something new. It can be helpful to analyze
why and how those strategies work for you so that you can use them
Since I was young, I felt like I
learned best from reading. This was especially true if there were
pictures to look at. One memorable example was learning to knit from
books. Books are still one of the first resources I turn to when
learning something new.
One of the least effective ways for me
to learn is from lectures. To compensate, I learned to take very
thorough notes in school. It’s a habit that has continued, and I
find that I remember and learn more by taking notes, even if I never
go back to reread them.
Superficially, this would tell me to
always learn new things from books and avoid classrooms altogether.
However, this is not really the most effective way for me to learn.
To figure out how I best learn, I had to analyze why books work so
much better for me than lectures.
When I read, I pause often to think
about what I read. I visualize the process. I think about how it
connects to what I already know. I turn back several pages to check
on something I remember reading to see if it relates to what I just
In a lecture, my mind is making all
the same leaps. Unfortunately, the information keeps coming, even
when my brain is on pause. When I take notes, it forces me to focus
on writing down the information and staying on task. My mind still
sometimes wanders, but it isn’t for as long, and I can usually pick
up what I missed to fill in the holes in my notes. I have to think
about the information later, often while checking back over my notes
to make connections.
My way of taking notes.
When I am learning to do something
new, my first attempt usually doesn’t go well. Failure, while not
fun, is part of the process. I then go back to check what I learned
to see where I went wrong. Books, especially books with diagrams,
usually have lots of information that I can go through to compare to
my attempt. I make a hypothesis on what I need to fix, and try
Lectures, because of time constraints,
have less information to go through. An hour of lecture could fill
less than a chapter of a good book. Books are more helpful when
things go wrong.
A couple of my daily practice sketches from January 2019.
However, actually seeing something
done really helps with visualizing what I need to do. Instead of
trying to piece it all together through descriptions and diagrams, I
can see exactly how it works. The problem is that demonstrations
usually make things look easier than they are. It’s hard to
reproduce that on my own.
Seeing something done, thinking it
through and visualizing it, attempting it on my own, then getting
feedback on what I did wrong, and trying again? That is really how I
learn best. Books and lectures are just the vehicles for the
information that I need.
Looking at that process, how I really
learn, I can see many other ways I can best accomplish it. Finding a
mentor might be the most effective way for me to learn. YouTube
videos and google searches could be valuable if done right.
Knowing how I really learn best can
help me be creative in how I learn. I can be more effective with the
time I have. This is one of the great advantages of self study.
Practicing is a necessary step in the
learning process. Samuel Johnson once said that, “By writing, you
learn to write.” Putting what I’ve learned into practice is the
ultimate test to see how well I’m really learning. If I can’t use
the information I have, the information isn’t very helpful after all.
But studying is an important partner
to that practice. Without new information, you are attempting to
slowly reinvent what others have already learned and shared.
Learning from the people who have gone before you can save you so
I love to learn new things. There is
such a feeling of accomplishment when I do something I couldn’t do
before. That moment when I understand something that didn’t make
sense to me, that feeling of the last puzzle piece clicking into
place, is so rewarding. Learning how I learn best makes the entire
process easier and less frustrating so that I can get to the good
part of learning that much faster.
How do you learn best? Has that
changed over time? Does it change depending on what you’re learning?
Do you like to learn new things?