Virtual learning lab title - Becoming an expert learner

8 Essential Lessons, Unit 7: Getting the Most Out of Lectures


Developing and refining your ability to take thorough college notes is a critical learning skill .Since college instructors impart a great deal of information through lectures, it is important that students acquire and retain this aptitude. Research indicates that recording and reviewing lecture notes is related to good test performance (Kiewra, 1989).

One of the most important tasks in good note-taking is the ability to separate main ideas from examples, illustrations, and definitions. When you review your notes, you should immediately be able to identify the main ideas in the lecture. Unfortunately, many students do not follow any specific system of note-taking. When they review their notes, they see a disorganized recording of information, which makes it difficult to study.

The purpose of this unit is to help you learn how to take effective notes to aid your comprehension of the material, supplement your recollection of concepts and facts, and move information into long term memory. 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). Thus, the system you will learn identifies learning behaviors before, during, and after the lecture.

Unit Objectives

At the end of this unit, you should be able to:

  1. Use strategies before, during, and after lectures that will improve your note-taking abilities and retention.
  2. Practice a system of note-taking that organizes content for improved reference and retention.
  3. Generate questions that will help you learn the material.