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The importance of good note-taking cont.

Studies on the correlation between note-taking and academic achievement recognize that there are two distinct categories of note-taking (Meyer, 2001). The first category suggests that the notes themselves are valuable because they 1) help the learner rehearse the lecture content and (2) serve as a memory device that can help the student to remember parts of the content that were not included in the notes themselves.

The second category suggests that the act of taking notes is important because it 1) increases attention and concentration, 2) encourages students to process the material at a deeper level, and 3) provides a means of connecting new learning with prior knowledge (Carrier & Titus, 1981). These two categories imply that note-taking can boost achievement by acting as a product (the first category) or as a process (the second category). In this project we will investigate the impact of increased writing speed and written output on both the product of note-taking as well as the process of note-taking to enhance scholastic achievement.

Some experimental studies on student achievement have been inconclusive regarding the benefits of note-taking training. However, these studies have had serious methodological weaknesses and have not consistently involved meaningful training sessions that incorporate practice and evaluation of the note-taking skills (Boon, 1989). For example, a study by Bretzing et al (1987) involved 15 minute training sessions before the testing and provided only general note-taking tips. Another study by Peck and Hannafin (1983) showed students a videotape on how to take notes more efficiently. A study by Meyer (2001) allocated one class unit for note-taking training. Research on the effects of pretraining on note-taking and information recall found that training in note-taking must involve long-term, systematic instruction and continuous practice (Dunkel,1985).

Bretzing, Kulhavy and Caterino (1987) and Peck and Hannafin (1983) conducted similar research to gain insight into this issue. In all of these studies, one or more experimental groups received special note-taking training, while one or more groups received no formal training. The results of Peck and Hannafin's study found that the uninstructed note takers actually performed better on all three tests. Peck and Hannafin suggested that the results were a product of an "interference effect" in which the process of note-taking itself interfered with the retention of information.

In our view the "interference effect" was a result of insufficient training as opposed to what Peck and Hannafin believed a negative impact of note-taking on learning. Students were inadequately trained in the product which caused an adverse effect on the note-taking process.

In addition, an evaluation of over 340 NSF project directors of 13 possible innovations in undergraduate teaching found cooperative learning was ranked highest. When collaborating on projects students must accurately capture spoken information and share their notes efficiently with other students in their research groups. The EasyScript methodology can provide a seamless exchange of sharing information to address this issue.

Book Sample

"Bridgewater State College has been offering the EasyScript since the fall of 1990. We found that people of almost all walks of life were among of participants.

In the beginning, we were a bit skeptical that in such a short period of time a speedwriting method could be learned. From the course evaluations and comments from the participants including our faculty staff, the course does achieve the stated objectives. Participants were able to learn a complete speedwriting method and attain a writing speed up to 40 wpm.

Also, participants who had learned Gregg Shorthand or conventional speedwriting prior to taking the EasyScript course commented that by a wide margin the EasyScript method was much easier to learn, retain and apply. In addition, a number of participants have recommended EasyScript program to their employers and they in turn have conducted the EasyScript program for employee training.

We recommend the EasyScript program without reservation and will continue to offer it in our curriculum." - Bridgewater State College, Mary Delgado

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