I've done a lot of professional development over the years. I've received a lot of handouts, and taken a lot of notes. And yet the number of times I've either re-reread those notes, or even skim reviewed them, can be counted on one hand. And those times were when I was preparing for a job interview and the training was directly relevant. The last time I moved house almost all went into the recycling bin, and I haven't missed them once.
Of course I made notes when I was studying, both in my undergraduate and my postgraduate, and used them to prepare for assessment but even then, for the most part, I found them boring to review.
There was one exception. One module I undertook where my study and research notes had to be submitted and assessed. I worked hard on my research, and those notes were tidy, organised and diverse. I submitted three exercise books of notes, comments, cartoons, diagrams, illustrations and quotes. Some were handwritten while some were printed. It was a work of art, and I received 28 out of a possible 30.
It's the one set of notes I kep and actually enjoy still skimming through from time to time.
And with that in mind, along with my years of teaching experience and my understanding of learning styles, I have commenced making my notes in a similar fashion this time.
I am a visual learner with some degree of creativity, so I cannot stand too much text on a double page. It has to be broken up somehow, whether by including computer-printed sections, cartoon, images, table or even simply colour. Everything has to be relevant and have a reason, not just included because it looks more appealing to me.
So far, so good.
I enjoy spending that little bit longer to make my notes interesting and enjoyable to me. I find that I not only retain more as I'm creating them, but I am much happier to revisit them.