Taking notes during learning events is one way of learning. The act of writing is the reader’s way of learning. There are different options to digest notes after the event to deepen reflection and prepare the path to transfer the learning into practice.
I stumbled over a note I wrote 6 years ago about my own note taking habits: I produced in 6 years work about 20 booklets.What insights and key questions are in there I never went back to? My conclusion then was: I am a reader and writer. For me writing is the act of learning. Through the interesting blog post by Peter F. Drucker “Managing Oneself” I found out that I am actually in good company:
There are people, like Churchill, who learn by writing. Some people learn by taking copious notes. Beethoven, for example, left behind an enormous number of sketchbooks, yet he said he never actually looked at them when he composed. Asked why he kept them, he is reported to have replied, “If I don’t write it down immediately, I forget it right away. If I put it into a sketchbook, I never forget it and I never have to look it up again.” Some people learn by doing. Others learn by hearing themselves talk.
Still, obviously I thought 6 years back that there is more in note taking. A healthy post-conference experience maximises our learning. As facilitator of learning events I try to assist participants to boil reflection and learning down to the essence. Coming home with 2-3 key questions to follow-up, a key message or a story to share with the team, or a visual image to investigate further simplifies life.
- Build in reflection time during the event: Go for several layers of reflection and plan for an effective take-off.
- Integrate social reporting and harvesting ion the workshop flow.
- Invite participants to contribute a blog post.
What is valid for participants of workshops I facilitate is also valid for myself. It is just simpler to rework the notes right away. Blog, Twitter, Evernote and Co. made recycling easier. And it is also more fun.
How do you deal with your notes you take during conferences and workshops?