5 Ways to Make Lecture Notes (and Listening to Lectures) More Interesting

We learn what is naturally interesting to us. For example, if you ask a child his multiplication tables, odds are he might draw a blank around some multiples, but ask the same child the best way to play a World of Warcraft character and he might even draw out a three-pronged approach. Of course, this phenomenon is not the sole domain of childhood because all of us could name something we are interested about versus something that bores us. Simply said, we probably know a heck of a lot more about something that naturally rocks our boat.

Now if we think about it, if we naturally learn anything that interests us, then it follows that if we make something interesting, then we could probably learn it and master it many times over, right?

Take, for examples, attending lectures. We could have great exam preparation habits, or have excellent  memorization techniques, but it will all be in vain if we can’t make good lecture notes. Now we all know that lectures can be a hit or miss affair depending on the one who is speaking in front. But what if we make taking lectures notes more interesting? Here are five ways to do it:

Think like a teacher and ponder on how to deliver a better lecture. Try to figure out what makes his lecture boring, and come up with ways to liven it up. Note down the things that you could have done. Ask yourself if it’s the content – is there something that’s amiss with what he’s talking about? What activities could you have done instead to make the class more interesting? Take note of all these things during the lecture, and you’d probably realize that you’ve learned more content than you did before.

Write a review of the lecture. We’ve probably read (and may have written) a lot of reviews about the movies we’ve watched, the movies we’ve read, and whole lot of stuff, but it would be interesting to review a lecture. Rate the lecture, then point out its strong and weak points. Write down where it could have improved. If you liked the lecture, write down everything that made it a lecture worth listening to. Thinking about the lecture in this way makes one more interested in anything that has been said. You could even post your review online, if that’s something that interests you.

Figure out the ending. Good movies keep us on our toes – is he really the killer? Will they ever make it in time? We get hooked by something that keeps under suspense because it just kills us to not know – which is the reason why we try to guess what will happen next. We could apply the same principle to lectures, actually, and try to fast-forward and figure out what the speaker will be talking about next. Write your theories down, and try to give explanations as to why they are probable “endings” to the lecture. Lecture notes that try to predict the next topics would probably interest the student more.

Think like the expert. If we could try to predict the outcome of the lecture in advance, we could also try to figure out the history and the reasons behind the topics that were being discussed. If the lecture is about the binary system of numbers, we could write down lecture notes that ask questions about its history (Why did we develop the binary system?), its inception (How could one develop a binary system of numbers?), and so on. This would essentially bolster the quality of one’s lecture notes, and become starting points for study outside of class.

Read ahead. Of course, reading ahead will always be a good tactic to make lecture notes more interesting. Odds are, lectures become boring because we actually don’t know anything that’s being spoken in front. Doing a little bit of advanced reading goes a long way to make lectures more interesting.

These are just some things that we could do to make our lectures notes (and listening to lectures) more interesting. Now, it’s your turn: How do you make your lecture notes more interesting? Write down your favorite note taking tips in the comments section.

2 Responses to “5 Ways to Make Lecture Notes (and Listening to Lectures) More Interesting”

  1. […] we could see that memorization is the foundation of any educational task. Though we could find ways to make lecture notes more interesting, or personalize our education with learning styles, if we can’t have the capacity to memorize […]

  2. […] Write notes – Again, an easy tip but something that most neglect to do. Note-taking supposedly helps a person re-experience his own initial understanding of the topic. It’s not just about writing what the lecturer puts on the board; it’s all about making mindful reflections of what’s being discussed. If you need more help about this, take a peek at our article about making lecture notes (and listening to lectures) more interesting. […]

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