Taking Notes During Virtual Learning

Among all of the changes that have occurred due to the pandemic, one of the most difficult for high school and college aged students is online classes. Even though college is a lot of teaching yourself, this is a whole new level of self-taught learning. This post should give you some good tips to get through those tough video lectures or readings.

Notes from Lecture Videos

This is super dependent on how different professors take notes as well as what your style of learning is, but as a very visual and tactical learner, I need to see things and write them down in order to remember them. Most of my lectures during this virtual setting are not live, so I am watching them on my own time, so here are some of my top tips for video learning.

1. Pull up the powerpoint

This first one works for live and pre-recorded lectures. If you have access to the presentation by your professor or teacher, split your screen and pull it up during the lecture. This allows you to stay on a slide and finish up what you are writing even if they move on, which means no missed notes.

If you do not have access to the presentation and you are worried about missing something, screenshot or take a picture of the screen! Make sure to get those notes one way or another. Slides are a great study tool for later, and for most people, you are much more likely to remember information that you write down.

2. Pause & play it back

One of the BEST parts about online learning with pre-recorded videos is the ability to back your professor up as many times as you need to understand, so take advantage of it. I do this most often when there are example problems.

I used to take example problems for granted and not write them down because I never had enough time, but now that lectures are self-paced, I have that ability. Examples are your best friend in virtual learning because it gives you a perfect tool to refer back to for homework or future quizes.

3. Put the phone down

This is (or should be) an obvious one, but it can be crazy difficult in this setting. Professor can’t see you and you don’t technically have to pay attention, but that is just going to cost you more time later.

Set that phone on do not disturb, pick up the pen or pencil, and get to it. You will thank yourself later when you have more time for TikTok & less stress about class content.

Notes from Readings

Right out of the textbook. Gross.

I know that professors are doing their best during this time, but this one just rubs me the wrong way. I wish that some professors were getting a little more involved than just the textbook, but hey! lets make the best of it!

1. Get organized

Not everyone is the perfect note taker, and honestly, like most things, it takes practice. I think that like lots of other activities, you have to find your own style & groove. For me, I organize all of my notes the same way.

When I come to a new chapter or unit, I write the title out with the highlighter color that I use for that class. Each section within that chapter is noted with its title in all capital letters & highlighted. From there, while I read, I write down main points and ideas & underline things that are especially important.

But, that is just my tactic. Find something that makes sense to you!

2. Paragraph by paragraph

Some text is more difficult than others to organize; when it comes to text with limited headings or clear ideas, just take it slow. It may take a little extra long, but focus on one paragraph at a time while you read. Write down the main point from that one and move on.

The best time to determine the purpose of the reading truly is at the end, so after you think about things in pieces, try to go back and connect the dots. This will not only help enhance your understanding, but it will also give you time to review all of the information that you were processing.

3. Do the practice problems

I might sound like a broken record, but there are few things more valuable than those problems. Write key ones down in your notes too because, once again, it makes it incredibly easy to look back on while you are doing an assignment or reviewing.

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