- Aug 2022
Fiona McPherson has some good suggestions/tips in her book on Effective Notetaking. In general it revolves around using relevant icons for your illustrations and limiting your supporting text of the diagrams. (I.e. Have a good icon that explains the process and only 2-4 words paired with the icon).
I haven't delved into McPherson's work yet, but it's in my pile. She's one of the few people who've written about both note taking and memory, so I'm intrigued. I take it you like her perspective? Does she delve into any science-backed methods or is she coming from a more experiential perspective?
- Jul 2022
Is anyone practicing sketchnotes like patterns in their notes?
I've noticed that u/khimtan has a more visual stye of note taking with respect to their cards, but is anyone else doing this sort of visualization-based type of note taking in the vein of sketchnotes or r/sketchnoting? I've read books by Mike Rohde and Emily Mills and tinkered around in the space, but haven't actively added it to my practice tacitly. For those who do, do you have any suggestions/tips? I suspect that even simple drollery-esque images on cards would help with the memory/recall aspects. This may go even further for those with more visual-based modes of thinking and memory.
For those interested in more, as well as some intro videos, here are some of my digital notes: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=sketchnotes
- Jun 2022
Templater scripts: - My Clippings: https://github.com/SilentVoid13/Templater/discussions/296 - Extract highlights to create mini-summary draft: https://github.com/SilentVoid13/Templater/discussions/294
This could be interesting to attempt on a book.
- Apr 2022
There are a number of books which feature the sketchbooks and notebooks of famous writers, researchers and artists. However, most of their work is presented as art in and of itself. Rarely are the messiest and ugliest pages pictured. Most of the layouts in these books are laid out as art. Frequently missing are the structural parts and interviews with the original authors talking about their process. How do they actually use these notebooks in practice? How do ideas move from their heads into the notebooks and from there into their practical work? The notebooks only capture raw ideas as a scaffolding for extending the user's brain and thinking, but it doesn't capture the intangible ideas and portions of process which are still trapped within their brains. To be able to evaluate these portions, the author needs to talk or write about those missing portions of the process otherwise the way they create genius is wholly missing. A viewer of such notebooks would be no closer to creating genius for themselves by attempting to follow the same patterns without these additional structures. It's like the indigenous peoples who talk with rocks as part of their cultural practice—so much of what is happening is missing from the description of "talking with rocks" that most people wouldn't even know where to begin, but for the initiated, the process would be imminently crystal clear.
Which of these books actually delves into the process and does interviews as well?
This article actually lays out the notebooks as their own form of art rather than centering the idea of creative process as a means of helping others to follow these same patterns. We need the book that does for the art and design area what Sönke Ahrens' book How to Take Smart Notes does for the note taking space. It's interesting to see Niklas Luhmann's collection of 90,000 index cards, but without knowing how he used them and what purpose they served, the enterprise is lost. Similarly the depiction of Roland Barthes' index cards in Roland Barthes has a similar function. Showing them is not equivalent to actually understanding them.
- Mar 2022
A simple request to “move your handsas you explain that” may be all it takes. For children in elementary school, forexample, encouraging them to gesture as they work on math problems leadsthem to discover new problem-solving strategies—expressed first in their handmovements—and to learn more successfully the mathematical concept understudy.
Given the benefits of gesturing, teachers can improve their pedagogy simply by encouraging their students to move their hands while explaining things or working on problems.
Studies with elementary school children have shown that if they gesture while solving math problems led them to discover and understand new concepts and problem solving strategies.
link this with prior idea of handwriting out annotations/notes as well as drawing and sketchnoting ideas from lectures
Students reviewing over Cornell notes also be encouraged to use their hands while answering their written review questions.
In one study, subjects who had watched a videotapedspeech were 33 percent more likely to recall a point from the talk if it wasaccompanied by a gesture. This effect, detected immediately after the subjectsviewed the recording, grew even more pronounced with the passage of time:thirty minutes after watching the speech, subjects were more than 50 percentmore likely to remember the gesture-accompanied points.
People are more likely to remember points from talks that are accompanied by gestures. This effect apparently increases with time.
What does the effect of time have on increased lengths? Does it continue to increase and then decrease at some point? Anecdotally I often recall quotes and instances from movies based on movements that I make.
What effects, if any, are seen in studies of mirror-neurons and those with impairment of them? What memory effects might be seen with those on the autism spectrum who don't have strong mirror-neuron responses? If this is impaired, what might account for their improved memories for some types of material? Which types of material do they have improved memories for?
Is the same true of drawing points from a speech using the ideas of sketchnotes? Is drawing an extension of gestural improvement of memory?
- Feb 2022
Trying to find research on sketchnoting during presentations. Research directly comparing sketchnoting and more traditional notetaking does not seem to exist. References to dual coding theory do not count. Why is this popular?
- Oct 2021
What I'm interested in is doing this with visual artefacts as source material. What does visual pkm look like? Journaling, scrapbooking, collecting and the like. The most obvious tool is the sketchbook. How does a sketchbook work?
It builds on many of these traditions, but there is a rather sizeable movement in the physical world as well as lots online of sketchnotes which might fit the bill for you Roy.
The canonical book/textbook for the space seems to be Sketchnote Handbook, The: the illustrated guide to visual note taking by Mike Rohde.
For a solid overview of the idea in about 30 minutes, I found this to be a useful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evLCAYlx4Kw
I wonder if these still exist in the new spaces of productivity porn in within journaling? Perhaps the application of stickers in peoples' planners sort of serves some of this functionality, though I'd consider them to be more in the drollery family.
- Sep 2021
Some interesting finds Josh.
Related to some of the bullet journal (aka BuJo) and journaling space you will eventually come across the idea of "morning pages" which is a technique where you spend a block of time (usually in the morning, but ideally just before you want to do your creative thinking work) where you write for a set amount of time or number of pages. The goal of this method (and to some extent bullet journaling) is to clear the cruft and extraneous details out of your head to be able to better prioritize and focus on your creative work. There's a relatively large group of people doing this as a technique, so even knowing the phrase can help one to find the literature.
Tangentially related to this and memory (via our old friend rhetoric), I've been doing some significant research into the commonplace book tradition and general note taking with an eye towards knowledge acquisition, creation, and spaced repetition systems. This has led into research into the areas of the zettelkasten, digital note taking, digital gardens and the like. All fascinating areas which overlap memory via rhetoric. I suspect that many mnemonists in the Renaissance used commonplace books as physical written memory palaces, though I've yet to find anything in my research that directly links them other than the relationship they have in the long tradition of rhetoric in Western culture. Since you mention music and writing lyrics, I recently noted that Eminem has a commonplace technique which he calls "stacking ammo" by which he compiles ideas for his lyrics. His method is certainly less structured than a traditional commonplace book, but the overall form traces back to our friends Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian.
If you delve into some of the Bullet Journal and journaling literature you'll find a subculture of people (YouTube has hundreds of people with entire channels dedicated to the topic) who write into their daily/weekly planners and decorate them with stickers, washi tape, photos, calligraphy, drawings, etc. I've called some of this "productivity porn" before, but if you search commonplace book on Instagram or Pinterest you'll find examples of people whose journals and notes are becoming physical memory palaces where the visuals are likely helping them remember portions of their lives or what they're writing. The stickers and images to some extent are serving the purpose of drolleries seen in Medieval manuscripts as mnemonic devices.
And finally, tangentially related to all of this is another interesting sub-genre of memory and note taking called sketchnotes which combines active listening, writing, and drawing into a mnemonic related note taking activity. I'm actually a bit surprised to find so little on the technique here on the forum. Searching for sketchnotes on social media will provide lots of examples and there are many "What are sketchnotes" short videos on YouTube that will give you an idea of what's going on. Many of these talk about a memory component, but not being mired into the sub-topic of rhetoric, they're usually not using the same framings we would (here on the forum), though the effects one might expect are the same.
Some related richer resources for these areas, to help people from going down the rabbit hole within the performative social media spaces:
- How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking–for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers by Sönke Ahrens
- This touches on note taking within a zettelkasten framing, but is also applicable to the commonplace book tradition
- Sketchnote Handbook, The: the illustrated guide to visual note taking by Mike Rohde
- This is one of the bibles in the space and gives a solid overview of what, why, how, etc.
- A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden by Maggie Appleton
- How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking–for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers by Sönke Ahrens
<small><cite class='h-cite via'>ᔥ <span class='p-author h-card'>Annie Murphy Paul</span> in Opinion | How to Think Outside Your Brain - The New York Times (<time class='dt-published'>09/13/2021 19:58:53</time>)</cite></small>
Likewise, the notes and sketches of artists and thinkers over the centuries bear testament to “that wordless conversation between the mind and the hand,” as the psychologist Barbara Tversky puts it in “Mind in Motion: How Action Shapes Thought.”
Moving mental contents out of our heads and onto the space of a sketch pad or whiteboard allows us to inspect it with our senses, a cognitive bonus that the psychologist Daniel Reisberg calls “the detachment gain.”
Moving ideas from our heads into the real world, whether written or potentially using other modalities, can provide a detachment gain, by which we're able to extend those ideas by drawing, sketching, or otherwise using them.
How might we use the idea of detachment gain to better effect in our pedagogy? I've heard anecdotal evidence of the benefit of modality shifts in many spaces including creating sketchnotes.
While some sketchnotes don't make sense to those who weren't present for the original talk, perhaps they're incredibly useful methods for those who are doing the modality shifts from hearing/seeing into writing/drawing.
I want to mix sketch-noting and typing; to insert quick hand-drawn illustrations into my notes such that I can edit those sketches later.
It dawns on me that in some sense small illustrations and images in a mnemonic like manner are what Dave Winer is doing on his blog.
A recent review of the evidence finds that when students are cognitively overloaded, they disengage more often, perform badly and learn less. You can help students stay focused by making your presentations less cognitively overloaded. So, shorten slides, reduce text, use diagrams, remove irrelevant images, progressively reveal content and stick to one idea per slide. Take a careful look at the materials you use and ask yourself: “What’s my main message? What distracts from that? How can I remove distractions?”
This feels related to some of the potential power of sketchnotes.
I'd like the reference to this particular research though.
Visual elements within sketchnotes:
Look! It's a sketchnote of the talk Maker Households by Ton Zijlstra.
I ought to create a bank of common icons to keep on hand. Here's something that's a good start.
- Aug 2021
There are some interesting parallels between these calendar pages and associated images and the general ideas behind sketchnotes.
How To Do Sketchnoting (Even If You "Can't Draw"!)
a lesson with Emily Mills of the Sketchnote Academy
Types of Sketchnotes
- Lecture based
- Experience based
Skills for sketchnotes
- looking for ideas, high level
Pairing images and words together to be dynamic and memorable.
One doesn't need to be the greatest artist to do sketchnotes.
memorable >> masterpiece recognizable >> realistic big ideas >> nitty gritty
Seven building blocks for drawing
- straight line
- crooked line
- curvy line
- The fewer elements, the easier
- Rearrange rotate, reorient shapes
- standard stick person
- A person
- oval person
- star person
Containers and connectors
Boxes are boring, so add frames or more interesting Use containers to separate information that is different from the rest or to highlight.
- star "pow" outline
- box with a shadow
Tell people where to read next
- Create a really clear header
- help people with connectors (dotted lines, arrows, numbering)
Start out small first as it's more intimidating to use bigger formats
- Sketchone marker (thin point ink, pigment or permanent and not water-based, otherwise bleedover in coloring)
- Tombow dual brush markers for color
- two grey tones, one lighter and one darker
- small handful of colors (red, blue, yellow, green)
How to Sketchnote
- Step 1: Header
- Step 2: Layout (top to bottom/left to right is usually more intuitive) Pre-plan this. Think about connectors.
- Step 3: Consistency
- headers, characters, size of writing,
- Step 4: Refine
- check spelling
- whiteout for mess ups (gellyroll white gel pen)
- ensure connectors are obvious
- Step 5: Guiding shapes (to help flow of information on page)
- cloud outlines
- lines in the negative space (also creates contrast)
- Step 6: Coloring in
- greys first, dark then light
- highlighting connectors
- shadows on boxes, ribbons, connectors
- color should be more of a highlight than a background filler (it's not a coloring book)
Higher contrast notes are better
Anecdotal mention here of someone using sketchnotes or doodling as a mnemonic device.
Sketchnotes could be a means of implementing visual method of loci in one's note taking. Like creating a faux memory palace. Also somewhat similar, expecially in the case of the leaf doodle mentioned above, to the idea of drolleries, but in this case, they're not taking advantage of the memory's greater capacity of imagination to make things even more memorable for long term retention.
Sketchnoting forces students to take ideas from a lesson and turn them into their own ideas. It also forces modality shifts.
Reviewing over a lecture after the fact to create sketchnotes is incredibly similar to some of the point and purpose of Cornell Notes.
While watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOHcWhdguIY
Sketchnotes by Chad Moore and Chris Wilson
Sketchnotes are ideas not art.
Squiggle birds - take squiggles and give them beaks, eyes, and bird feet. (Idea apparently from Austin Kleon.)
How you might take notes if you'd never been told how to.
- There is no particular app or platform that is the "right" one.
- Headlines and sub headlines are common
- Elegant text / fancy text
- containers - ways of holding information together
- this can be explicit or via white space
- flow of information (arrows)
- arrangements or layouts of how information is displayed
- top to bottom, circles, columns, stream of flow of ideas
- emotions, perhaps using emoji-like faces
- shadows, highlights
Simple can be better. Complexity may make understanding more difficult.
A few they pulled off of the web
Goal: Create an info rich portrait with character. Portrait, name, info, location, passions, hobbies, interests, social usernames, now section, etc.