How to Learn More Effectively

Learning is a process that never stops. No matter where we are in our career, we have to continually grow and develop through learning, whether it be in a formal classroom setting, on the job, or through discussion with colleagues. That being the case, it would certainly be in our best interest to know how to learn in the most effective way.
We are used to having technology aid in the learning process, and there are many ways that it can improve learning. But there is one way in which technology can actually hinder our absorption of information. That is with note taking.
When we take notes using our laptops, which these days most people do, we generally try to get down everything that the lecturer is saying. That is possible to do because if a person is a good typist, he or she can pretty much keep up with the speaker.
There is a problem with this, however, because the person then becomes just a stenographer. He is not really listening thoughtfully to what the speaker is saying, attempting to parse the information, sorting out the main points. And after the presentation is over, the note taker is left with a huge block of print to sort through and make sense of.
For this reason, some experts advocate taking notes the old-fashioned way, with a pen and paper. No one can write as fast as someone can speak, so the note taker is forced to pay closer attention, to pick out the key points, condense and summarize blocks of information. So, through the activity of taking notes itself, the note taker is processing the information, thinking it through. A good note taker takes notes in outline form, organizing them as he goes along. And this too, putting the speaker’s information into your own words also helps the learning process.
Another advantage of pen and paper notes – there is no temptation to take a peek at Facebook or email during the presentation.
The advantage of pen and paper notes was borne out in one instance where a university professor banned the use of laptops for notetaking in her class, forcing the students to use pen and paper. The result: students had higher test scores as a result.
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