How Note-taking Impacts Cognitive Learning

Do you often have trouble remembering important information? It is because the human brain forgets almost 40% of the information just within the 24hrs of hearing it. The learning process involves the intake of any information, processing it, and then using that information later. Therefore, in the learning mechanism, note-taking is a powerful tool that shapes our cognitive learning process. Various studies have now made it evident how note-taking has a positive impact on our memory.

Note-taking impacts our memory

Relation between note-taking and memory

  • Note-taking by hand results in a deeper understanding of any topic or information. As it involves the cognitive engagement of a student, it is an important part of our learning process. The personal investment of a student in note-taking impacts cognitive learning.
  •  According to a 2011 article in the American journal of psychology, engagement with the study material, like note-taking process, gives a great benefit and improve performance.
  •  According to a journal of social and behavioral sciences, note-taking supports the capacity of our brain in retrieving any information. It is also an important tool for encrypting embodied cognition.

Ways to optimize note-taking for information retention

Note-taking expedites learning mechanism by involving the cognitive learning process of an individual. For instance, note-taking during any lecture causes the shift between various cognitive processes in our working memory. Therefore, it becomes easier to recall that information later. Here are a few ways how you can optimize your note-taking and aid in information retention.

1. Chunk down information

Our short-term memory has a limited capacity and could only store not more than 7 items of information at a time. But, you can increase its capacity by chunking down a large piece of information into smaller ones. For example, instead of writing a long single paragraph for your notes, you can divide that paragraph into bullet points and it will stay in your memory for a longer time.

2. Use of mnemonics

It would be easier to recall anything if you write them down in the form of some cues. Mnemonics are quite helpful if you want to remember any information in a particular order. Use of keywords, acronyms and rhyming words while note-taking can help in longer retention of any information and increase cognitive learning.

Digital notes in noteshelf

3. Use of visual cues  

Using visual cues such as diagrams, colors, doodles, etc., during note-taking can boost your information retention ability. According to a 2009 study, students who did doodling during the lectures were able to remember 29% more information in the surprise test. Mind-mapping and sketchnotes are other note-taking techniques that include visual cues.

4. Revision and logical association

Students tend to retain more information when they revise their notes again. Studies have shown that around 66% of the information could be forgotten if not revised again. Also, while working on your handwritten notes, try to create a logical association with something, whether a place, image or even person. This sequence of association will aid in better memory and improve logical thinking as well.


How is digital note-taking useful?  

Digital note-taking keeps us updated with the recent technology and provides various learning and writing tools at one place. With note-taking apps such as Noteshelf, you can choose any page template of your choice such as ruled, dotted, plain, etc., for effective note-taking. Digital note-taking method is faster and more organized where you can incorporate colors and pictures of your choice. It even gives you sharing and backup options to keep your work safe.

Wouldn’t it become much easier if we remember everything we study? So, if you want to store any information in your long-term memory, you need to create a definite learning pattern and avoid randomness. Therefore, the process of turning any data into visual cues or words through the note-taking process requires your efforts; which in turn would create a new pathway in your brain and will stay in your long-term memory.

note-taking for cognitive learning

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