designer | researcher | educator

Visual Note Taking

Visual Note Taking

TEACHING AND LEARNING IN A VISUAL WORLD
2016

Using visual note taking to exchange ideas by Sahoko Yui and Mahan Soltanzadeh (2014). This research was presented at the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah (2016) and used to teach a Freshman Seminar course (2016). See below for examples of visual notes (all hand drawn in pen by Sahoko).

Using visual note taking to exchange ideas by Sahoko Yui and Mahan Soltanzadeh (2014). This research was presented at the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah (2016) and used to teach a Freshman Seminar course (2016). See below for examples of visual notes (all hand drawn in pen by Sahoko).

Talk by Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a half (2015)

Talk by Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a half (2015)

Panel on bullying (2015)

Panel on bullying (2015)

Talk by the Oatmeal's Matthew Inman (2015)

Talk by the Oatmeal's Matthew Inman (2015)

Roundtable discussion at UC Berkeley (2016)

Roundtable discussion at UC Berkeley (2016)

LDA 21: Landscape Drafting Lecture (2017)

LDA 21: Landscape Drafting Lecture (2017)

Notes on graphic design principles (2016)

Notes on graphic design principles (2016)

Visual Notes of Invisibilia Podcast. Episode 1: The Secret History of Thoughts (2014)

Visual Notes of Invisibilia Podcast. Episode 1: The Secret History of Thoughts (2014)

Visual Notes of Invisibilia Podcast. Episode 2: Fearless (2014)

Visual Notes of Invisibilia Podcast. Episode 2: Fearless (2014)

Visual Notes of Invisibilia Podcast. Episode 1: The Secret History of Thoughts (2014)

Visual Notes of Invisibilia Podcast. Episode 1: The Secret History of Thoughts (2014)

Panel on Creative work (2015)

Panel on Creative work (2015)

In this research we asked the following questions:

What are the educational benefits to teaching visual note taking to students?

 

Cognitive theories of multimedia learning support drawing and imagery as effective means of transferring knowledge across contexts; visualization and concept mapping have proven to increase comprehension and ideation. From Edward Tufte’s Visual Explanations, to Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures, the relationship between visual thinking and critical and creative problem solving is well documented. Research has shown that thinking visually – drawing, mapping, diagramming, and visual metaphors – can help one process and recall information. As visual thinking strategies become more integrated into Common Core and IB curricula at the K-12 level, which recognize design as an applied art, landscape architecture educators have begun to advocate for more inclusive learning opportunities (STEAM rather than STEM).

This research included literature review of design and visual thinking and using visual notes at conferences, lectures, and brainstorm sessions. These notes were examined for themes and styles to apply in a classroom setting.

Key findings:

  • Hiearchy of text and visuals is critical in better comprehension and memory retention.

  • The spatial layout does not need to be linear but must have some logical flow of information. Symbols, such as arrows, can help navigate the eyes through the notes.

  • It is important to revisit the notes after initial note-taking to improve memory retention and to further improve comprehension.