While it might seem a lot like taking notes on reading, making notes on audio and video presentations that are part of your course may require some slightly different strategies in order to get the most of the audio or video materials.
Many Kaplan Courses include brief pieces of audio or video, including animations, online Powerpoint presentations, clips from interviews with major thinkers, or instructional videos from a variety of sources. Additionally, many of your textbooks will include CD-ROMS and DVD-ROMS with additional audio or video resources on them.
Never throw away a CD or DVD supplement that comes with your textbook until you have looked at it closely. It may include helpful tutorials, practice animations, videos, or other materials (such as links to online articles) that can help you explore ideas and answer questions when you are struggling with material in the textbook and need a fresh perspective or quick review.
The Watching-Listening Challenge
While many students enjoy the chance to take a break from all the reading and see a live expert, play with an interactive simulation, or listen to an important interview, these multimedia materials present unique challenges in taking careful notes:
- With books, it's simple to keep a pen and paper nearby, to underline and take notes in the margins, or to read near your computer so you can type your notes with your book in hand. This is more difficult when watching videos and animations, or listening to broadcast interviews. Especially if you are watching or listening over your computer!
- We are so used to passively watching television or listening to the radio, that it simply isn't a habit to carefully consider what we are seeing and hearing.
- Media, such as audio, video, and animations, tend to keep moving forward even when our brains want to stop and consider. It's more difficult to go back and review particular sections, or to quickly locate a section that was particularly interesting or particularly confusing.
Suggestions for Effective Watching & Listening
Because audio and video are important ways to deliver and study new information, it's important to consider a few guidelines on how to make sure you get the most out of what you are watching and learning.
- It's hard to preview audio and video materials, but very often your course will give you a brief introduction to what's on the video and the clip itself may have an introductory segment to tell you what will be discussed. Use these introductions the way you would use a preview in reading. Also make sure you know if there are any discussion questions or exercises you will need to answer based on the material after watching and listening to it. This will help you remember the important parts.
- If you are using a digital notebook, such as the one you saw in Unit 2, take your notes with pen and paper first and enter them into your notebook later. This will help you keep notes at a pace the video is moving instead of having to type and watch or listen at the same time (which can be very hard when you are watching and listening at the same computer you are using to write your notes).
- Online video and audio players usually have a timer, to let you know how far you are in the material. Thus, if you are watching a 10 minute video clip, you can take notes on where the mostimportant or interesting moments occur. For instance, you might note that one important concept is discussed about 3 minutes into the video, and that there's an interesting short interview segment about 7 minutes into the video. This will help you find these sections again when you want to review the video later.
- If you are using an interactive tutorial, animation, or simulation, take your notes after you have gone through the interactive material once. This will let you get through the entire thing once before you stop to focus on taking notes the second time through.