Students’ Notes and Their Relation to Comprehension and Recall of Lecture Information

Maria Vanessa L. Oyzon, Oscar L. Olmos


Lecture is a primary teaching method in many secondary classes (Putnam, Deshler, & Schumaker, 1993; Thomas, Iventosch, & Rowher, 1987) and lecture notes are an important part of academic learning for most students(Peverly, Ramaswamy, Brown, Sumowski, Alidoost and Garner, 2007). Most students take notes in classes (Brobst, 1996) and studies have shown that students’ note taking during lectures are related to better comprehension and improving later recall of lecture information (Bligh, 2000, Bretzing and Kulhavy, 1979; DiVesta and Gray, 1972; Kiewra, 1984; Boyle and Weishaar, 2001).
Among the cognitive learning theories, note taking is perhaps best viewed in the context of the Information Processing Theory Model of Memory (IPT). According to the theory, similar to the computer, the mind receives information, “changes its form and content, stores the information, retrieves it when needed, and generates responses to it” (Woolfolk, 2004, p. 239 ). Thus, three operations have been identified by the theory as regards the flow of information in the mind: encoding, storage and retrieval. In note taking, students are engaged in the same three operations: they encode the information not only in their minds but also in an external storage (the notes), which the students “retrieve” when they review their notes.
Notes are defined as short condensations of a source material that are generated by writing them down while simultaneously listening, studying, or observing.

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