Trying out visual notes was undoubtedly a very weird experience for me. I’m usually a very serious note taker, introducing little dynamism to what I write. However, it served as a great method to further my understanding on the topic. Although it would be impossible for me to do all my notes, I would do this again if I had to review a concept or topic, therefore rewriting my notes in this approachable format. For some reason, I always kept going back to arrows, which lead the way I think about a concept and understand it, especially in chemistry. Although it was not an particularly enjoyable, given that I am exclusively creative in music and nothing of the visual nature, the fact it helped me understand the concepts better fascinated me.
For my visual notes, I decided to draw my ARTHIST 102 lecture on African art. It was unusual for me to create a visual note due to the fact, that I am used to writing down just texts. To be honest, I don’t think that my understanding of the topic improved. However, while I was drawing these objects, I memorized some details better as I paid more attention. On the one hand, the process of creating these visual notes was engaging and interesting. On the other hand, I realized that I learn and understand better from my regular notes. I feel that this method of learning may be extremely useful for some students, but, as I realized, not for me.
I visually represented my notes for Computer Science 171 class. I found this process of visual note taking to be quite helpful to learn material. I think it is effective because it forces you to ponder on the material for a longer amount of time. Given the nature of drawing and doodling, it typically takes longer to draw out a concept rather than to just state it. Spending more time with the material will increase your chances of absorbing the material. Plus, drawing out a concept will make you think about it differently because you will be focusing on expressing the most important elements, thus producing a different (and probably helpful) perspective.
This was a strange experience. One that I have not yet tried out. I am used to simply writing down notes, so this was very different from anything I’ve tried.
It turns out that this doesn’t really help me with remembering my notes any more than simply taking notes. But my notes are already not purely text. I often include diagrams, charts, and pictures of concepts that we are learning in my notes already, so this is only taking away the words. If anything, this has been things a little more difficult to study. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m so used to note taking in the word form, or rather if it’s because I’m truly more built to memorize off of words. So, while this didn’t really help me remember things easier, it was still a more fun approach to taking notes. However, it also takes a lot more time. I found myself trying to adjust things that didn’t matter. This may be because I found myself working more on an art project rather than a set of notes, so I didn’t pay as much attention to the notes.
So while there weren’t any new discoveries of how I like to learn, it was a fun activity that was a good refresher from all the blocks of text I’m more used to. However, even if it is a refresher, it is still somewhat bothersome that it doesn’t really help me any more than regular notes. In fact, it may even be worse that taking regular notes. And, to top it all off, it takes way longer than regular notes. So, yes I’d be willing to do this again, but only when I have more time. When I’m pressed for time, such as when I’m studying for a test, this is absolutely not the way to go. At least, not for me.
While going through the process of drawling the visual notes, I didn’t notice anything new. My understanding of the topic didn’t improve, but I’d say learning the material certainly would’ve been easier had I seen this instead of reading his long arguments. I didn’t like the process of making visual notes because I find writing simple, written notes to be more time effective for me. I learned that I tend to think verbally as opposed to visually, which is why it took me a little while to come up with the concept/layout for the notes.
For my visual notes, I drew my ISOM-350 lecture on probability. I worked to put the information of the lesson into the word probability. I did this in two sections. The notes within the “Probab” part of the word are the real notes on probability overlap, definitions of terms used within this unit, and equations used to calculate probabilities under certain circumstances. I completed the phrase with “Probab-ly do not understand this.” This is the more difficult stuff that I will be putting into use throughout this course. The notes within the bubble letters are the bullets straight out of the powerpoint lecture while the random parts around are the side notes I included in my notebook that came straight from my professor while going over different material.
Then, in the “ility” part of the word, I included my true probability “Ab-ility.” The random math symbols that float around my head in color- instead of the boring black and white of the material before- when I think of math, numbers, and probability. Drawing out my notes allowed me to see the overwhelming information and formulas in one place organized by bullet. I did not have much room inside the bubble letters so only included the most important and relevant information. Seeing the notes in front of me in this way does not scare me away from the numbers and word problems that come after learning these basics.
Creating visual notes definitely helped me understand the “products of evolution” more so than just plain text. I find that when I’m in class I’m mindlessly typing and copying down notes as opposed to engaging and comprehending the information. Visual note taking allows for a more creative approach to grasping concepts, which I find to be not only beneficial but enjoyable as well.
I decided to take my visual notes for my chemistry class. I am currently taking CHEM 202 at Emory and we are learning about chemical equilibrium so my notes are on Le Chatelier’s Principle. My course’s this semester are mostly in the STEM field so taking visual notes seemed like a fun challenge for me. I employed the use of arrows and little doodles to keep myself engaged in the complex information. I also really like writing in different fonts, emphasizing certain pieces of information. I think this assignment was a very useful way, not only to study for my upcoming midterm, but also to put my creative skills to the test. I don’t know if my peers felt the same way, but this almost made my note taking pretty relaxing. I did not feel like I was basically transcribing from the textbook like I normally do. I hope to utilize this style of note taking much more in the future.
Taking a set of notes and translating them into a different medium made me realize that by breaking down complex concepts into simple representations of them, you can learn a lot about the material. It was especially useful for my Psych classes chapter on Classical Conditioning as there are many elements that are closely connected although they may not appear to be so. After I drew Ivan Pavlov and I placed him into my notes, I realized that the entire unit was connected to him in some way, and his impact on Psychology was far bigger than I had thought. It also made me sort of emotional to draw a crying child, as the scientists that experimented with classical conditioning using a baby scarred him for life and caused him to ultimately die.
By also being forced to lay down all my notes into just one clear space I was able to group all of the concepts about classical conditioning and have them side by side to see only the most important parts of the matter.