Wednesday, September 30, 2020

How to Be an Expert Note-taker During a Webinar

3 Tips to Help You Grasp What You Learn Online

By ALLEN JONES/TEXPERS Communications Manager

The pandemic has forced most organizations, including the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems, to move educational programming online. No longer in a classroom or conference setting, you are sitting in front of your computer, tablet, or smartphone, watching a live presentation online or viewing a recording of a webinar you missed. You may be attending webinars from the comfort of your home office or living room, or you might be isolated in a socially-distanced office building. Times have certainly changed, but with all this online learning, you may need a refresher on note-taking to help you better grasp the information you're getting from the webinars you attend.

If you are wondering if you should write notes on paper or type them on a computer or tablet, consider going the paper route. Students who write their notes on paper learn more than those who type their notes, according to a research study published in 2014.

Studies can provide us with data on note-taking benefits, but if you want to know how to take expert notes, colleges, universities, and sites that cater to post-secondary education are useful resources.

Here are three tips to help you master note-taking:

Don't Write Every Word the Speaker Says

According to a blog post on Palo Alto University's website, one key to taking better notes is to focus on the main ideas presented. Jot down the main points and summarize them in your own words. According to the university post, doing so allows you to become more engaged in what a speaker is saying and may help you stay awake. Avoiding writing down every word is also helpful when it’s time to review your notes.

Map Complex Ideas

This is an example of a mind map. outlines six note-taking systems, including mind mapping. The webinars hosted by pension industry thought leaders are often complex, focusing on topics that may be new to you, such as investment strategies. Consider using a mind map – write the main subject on the center of a page, circle it, and draw lines that branch out from the central topic to related ideas or points. Then, if you need, you can further branch out from the related topics to more in-depth details or "sub-concepts," as the site's writer refers to them.

Develop Your Own Shorthand

Dartmouth College offers its students note-taking advice, including a video that looks a bit outdated, but that packs many tips into its nearly 9 minutes of play. The use of shorthand is among the suggestions outlined on the college webpage. For example, use abbreviations and use the @ symbol for the word "at." Also, consider developing your own shorthand that will make things easier for you to understand. The site even suggests creating a key at the top of your notebook page so that you will remember what your shorthand means.

A search for "note-taking tips" on a web browser will come up with many sites to gain additional suggestions. Try and stick with two or three sources that you trust. Also, pick out a few tips to master at a time and be consistent with the methods you learn.

Being a public pension fund trustee or administrator requires professional development. Learning how to take notes could help you better grasp the topics you learn, especially during this new, socially distant world.

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About the Author

Allen Jones is the communications and public relations manager for the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems. He has been with the association since January 2017.

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