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Unformatted text preview: Note Taking and Learning: A Summary of Research Franoise Boch, Stendhal University, and Annie Piolat, University of Provence Introduction The activity of note taking can be considered part of Writing Across the Curriculum. It crosses over all disciplines and has the two characteristics of Writing Across the Curriculum: note taking helps students learn, and note taking helps students learn to write. Even though techniques for understanding and writing texts are widely taught and practiced throughout a students school and university career, very few students are taught even basic note taking skills. This despite the fact that students are expected to take extensive notes during their courses across the curriculum, and despite the recognized usefulness of note taking for stor- ing, learning and thinking about what is being taught. The functional complexity of note taking has not been sufFciently ac- cepted by researchers and teachers, undoubtedly because the representation concerning the knowledge and skills it involves has been minimized. Too of- ten, note taking is seen as the rapid transcription of information by using a few condensing techniques, such as shortened words and substitution symbols, for the creation of an external memory whose only importance will be its later use. The work presented in this article shows that we can go much further than this minimalist view. This paper provides an overview of the research carried out in the Felds of cognitive psychology, linguistics, and teaching science relevant to this specialized form of writing (see also, Piolat &amp; Boch, 2004). It briey presents four aspects of note taking: (1) the principal functions of note taking: writing to learn; (2) the main note taking strategies used by students; (3) the different factors involved in the comprehension and learning of knowledge through note taking; (4) the learning contexts that allow effective note taking: learning to write. 1. What are the functions of note taking? Note-takers take notes to fulFll two major functions: to record infor- mation and/or to aid reection. Over and above the drawing up of a simple memory aid, such as a shopping list, or a record of actions, such as a diary, one of the major aims of note taking is to build up a stable external memory in a form that can be used at a later date. Confronted with a diverse range of in- formation-transmission situations, note-takers are striving to avoid forgetting 101 something. Note taking is an essential tool in many information-transmission situations. At the university level, which is the level we are interested in here, note taking allows students to gather information from lectures, books, or any other situation that they will later have to memorize or use in order to success- fully complete their academic program. Storage methods vary from copy-re- gurgitate strategies, which have proven to be effective from a scholastic point of view, to more complex reformulation-interpretation strategies. These are of view, to more complex reformulation-interpretation strategies....
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- Fall '06
- WAC Journal