Visual Thinking: Exploring current practices and perspectives re student notetaking

Dawne Irving-Bell, Peter Hartley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Despite its importance, student note taking is under-researched and under-theorised. Many studies are outdated, analysing pre-digital behaviour. Hence, we question whether earlier findings still apply (as does van der Meer, 2012). Although we find some innovations useful, such as collaborative note taking (Orndorff, 2015), much recent research is also problematic. For example, consider widely reported claims that students taking longhand notes perform better than students using laptops (Mueller and Oppenheimer, 2014). Recent studies suggest more complex relationships (Luo et al., 2018) but typically adopt short-term experimental approaches. As a result, current advice and guidance for university students tends to be limited, often listing different techniques with relatively little commentary/analysis.

This session enabled participants to review progress on this ALDinHE supported project, inviting discussion on issues/development regarding our three main aims to:

Investigate current students’ note taking practices/preferences and develop transferable models to inform guidance and further research.
Pilot structured interventions, introducing different methods.
Produce/disseminate tools/approaches for longer-term investigation and application/adaptation by colleagues elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Learning Development in Higher Education
Early online date28 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022


  • Sketchnoting
  • Concept Mapping
  • Visual Thinking


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