Gains In Retention Using The Cornell Note Taking Method

1702 words - 7 pages

A student seeking better retention of material taught in the class-room environment may employ the Cornell note-taking method. With such a method, the three sections of the note-taking outline can aid the student’s retention by improving encoding. For a student to be able to retain oncoming material, they first must be able to encode, as in interpret and internalize, oncoming material (Faber, Morris, & Lieberman, 2000). The note-taking section forces the student to use elaborative rehearsal which helps material reach long-term storage. The cue section uses recoding to deepen the material’s encoding. And the summary section makes the student reprocess what they’ve written down to prolong its retention. As these sections must be filled out separately, the student is expected to return to the notes at least three times in a twenty-four hour period. This immediacy in review may help the student retain the material to a greater extent. Thus, the process can serve as a vantage point for learning with Cornell note-taking as it encourages retention by improving encoding during the process of note-taking and guaranteeing review of the material in a first twenty four hours.
With Cornell note-taking, lecture notes are noted down by the student in a more comprehensive manner which may improve retention. Instead of writing whatever is said or seen, the student must note down information that appears to be meaningful. This allows for the process of elaborative rehearsal; one connects the oncoming information with what they readily know (O’Brien Moran, 2014). When recording notes, the student performs elaborative rehearsal ensuring that the new material is meaningful when it is first received and so is easier to store. At the same time, the process of self-questioning which enables them to interpret the oncoming information in a meaningful way has been studied to further retention (Faber et al., 2000). As the students note down information, they create and deal with a self-generated series of questions, which forces them to pause and contemplate their comprehension of the material (Faber et al., 2000). If comprehension does not occur, they will take further action during note-taking to ensure it does (Faber et al., 2000). All this effort put into contextualizing the oncoming information adds to the process of elaborative rehearsal, and so may further the depth of the initial encoding, which expectantly should improve the material’s retention. It has also been suggested by research that an active note-taking procedure such as this gives the original notes a semantic nature (Faber et al., 2000). In typical assessments of memory, those with semantic encoding tend to have enhanced later recollection, as in they are less likely to fade Mulligan & Picklesimer, 2012. As the recorded notes have a semantic nature, they are less likely to be forgotten overtime as well, as the material is well retained. Hence, the process of writing down notes using this method improves...

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