Learning From Lectures
Suppose immediately after the completion of a lecture, you were asked to explain the major ideas presented by the instructor. How often could you adequately respond to the request? Could you provide the information for all classes or some of your classes? Would you have to refer to your notes? If so, would your notes provide all the information you need?
Much of the information learned about a subject in college is presented in lecture form. Remember the discussion of the information processing system in chapter 2. Because human memory fades quickly, it is important that you learn how to record major ideas and supporting details. Also, unless your notes are organized, it will be difficult to understand what you recorded weeks after you first took the notes. The most frustrating experience is to look at your notes and ask yourself: "What does this mean?"
One of the major differences between learning from texts and lectures is that in reading you can control the flow of information. If you do not understand something, you can reread it, take notes, or put down the text and return to it at another time. However, in lectures, the pace is controlled by the instructor. As a result, you need to use strategies to capture the main ideas more rapidly.
In this chapter you will learn that what you do with your notes is just as important as how you record them. Educational research indicates that students who take notes and review them shortly after class learn more than students who take notes but do not review them ( Kiewra, 1989). Part of the benefit of reviewing notes is that it allows further elaboration and integration of the material. Therefore, you should not simply skim your notes, but think