The best way to take notes

I’ve just been reading a study which shows that, despite the increasingly common practice of taking notes on a laptop, taking notes the good old-fashioned way–by hand– dramatically improves your understanding of the subject.

While you may remember as many facts when you take notes on your laptop, you don’t glean the all-important conceptual understanding. Ergo, since management is largely about concepts rather than facts, the last thing you want to do is take notes on your laptop!

The authors of the study think that the reason is laptop note takers pretty much transcribe the lecture, while longhand note takers process the information, select the important bits, and put it in their own words before writing them down, all of which increase learning.

When you’re taking notes, then, don’t’ try to capture everything the lecturer is saying. Instead, think about the lecturer’s message and write it down in your own words.