Note-Taking vs. Note-Making
What many studies fail to differentiate is the type of notes that the students are writing. Teachers and students alike seem to miss the difference between making notes and taking notes. These are very different processes. Making notes suggests that the student is cognitively engaged with the material as they wrestle for appropriate language in an attempt to synthesize the information presented to them. In this sense the benefits come not from the act of writing but through the act of communicating and as students organize their knowledge, they improve their recall and identify gaps in their own thinking. Note-making requires critical thinking, thus, facilitates retention and applications of the information.
Note-taking, on the other hand, looks very different. Note-taking is when a student copies directly from the board or verbatim from the teacher. This process encourages very little cognitive function and is usually more physically demanding than it is mentally. There is growing research that indicates the difference between these forms of written notes. Bretzing and Kulhary (1979) compared students that copied notes (note-taking) with students that created their own set of notes (note-making) and found that students who took verbatim notes scored lower on comprehension tests than those who were cognitively engaged while they made notes. Einstein et al. (1985) found that successful college students engaged in deeper levels of processing during note-making, and that note-making itself “enhances organizational processing of lecture information.” (p. 522).
Source: Woelders, D. (2014, June 13). The Notes Debate: Note-Taking vs. Note-Making [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://danielwoelders.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/the-notes-debate-note-taking-vs-note-making/