Method of notetaking in lecture and effects on achievement in college students
Grace, Patricia Mary
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Educational research studies have demonstrated that notetaking in a lecture facilitates student learning. 99% of college students take notes during a lecture, and 94% of college students regard notetaking as essential for assimilating lecture content. Numerous studies have examined the effects of different types of notes; taken during lecture, or from reading text from books or on a computer screen; on achievement on immediate posttests and delayed posttests. The current study examined the effects of instructor notes, outline notes, and student notes on achievement on immediate posttests. The sample consisted of 38 college students in the second year of a Doctor of Pharmacy program. Three lecture topics in a required Professional Practice course, considered by the course coordinator to be of equal difficulty, were selected for inclusion in the study. At the end of each of the three lectures, an immediate posttest pertaining to the topic presented in the lecture was administered. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of three methods of lecture notetaking on achievement on immediate posttests. A qualitative analysis of the data indicates that the outline notes group was the only group that had all of the participants engaged in writing information on the note paper provided. The outline notes group had the highest percentage of key learning ideas written, and the least variation in number of key learning ideas recorded, when compared to the student and instructor notes groups. Quantitative analyses indicates that none of the participants in the study preferred student notes as a method for learning lecture material, and the majority of the participants preferred outline notes for learning lecture material. The majority of the participants preferred outline notes for passing immediate posttests, while the majority of participants preferred instructor notes for passing delayed posttests. A particular type of notetaking (student, outline, or instructor) did not consistently result in statistically significant higher mean % quiz scores or confidence level for selected answers. There is not a statistically significant correlation between preference for type of notetaking and the % quiz scores and confidence level for a particular type of notetaking. The results of this study indicate that the majority of the participants prefer outline notes as a means of transforming lecture material into a more meaningful form for the learner (encoding function), making the material easier to remember; and the majority of participants prefer instructor notes as a means for reviewing the material at a latter time (external storage function). This is consistent with the findings of a study conducted by Collingwood (1978). An understanding of the functions of the type of lecture notes provided by an instructor during a lecture can enhance student learning.