Student Notetaking Media in Higher Education

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This paper explores the evolution of research methodology in the study of student notetaking in higher education (HE) and its impact on pedagogic approaches. While acknowledging the importance of notetaking for student learning, the paper argues that the overreliance of randomized control trials (RCTs) has led to some potentially misleading conclusions about lectures in HE and the notes students make during them. The paper traces the historical development of research methodologies in student notetaking, highlighting the shift from early observational studies to experimental research focused on identifying effective notetaking styles. However, the paper contends that these experimental studies often failed to capture the complex real-world factors that influence student note taking behaviour and learning outcomes.Contradictory findings between experimental and observational research are presented, challenging the assumptions drawn from RCTs. Observational studies suggest that the quality and quantity of notes taken during lectures may have limited impact on long-term conceptual understanding and learning outcomes, while the revision and review process may play a more significant role. The paper also examines the issues of internal and external validity in experimental research on student notetaking. It argues that the experimental methodologies used in these studies often controlled for important contextual factors, resulting in misleading outcomes that do not translate well into real-world settings. Drawing on the concepts of holist underdetermination and auxiliary hypotheses, the paper emphasizes the need for mixed methodologies and a holistic approach to investigate and establish causation in the study of student notetaking. In conclusion, the paper suggests that a shift in focus from student notetaking to the lecture itself may be necessary. It highlights the importance of considering the broader context, individual differences, and the review and revision process in understanding the impact of notetaking on student learning outcomes. The paper calls for a re-evaluation of experimental methodologies and a more comprehensive approach to studying student notetaking in higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd European Conference on e- Learning, ECEL 2023
EditorsSarah Jane Johnston, Shawren Singh
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781914587900
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event22nd European Conference on e- Learning, ECEL 2023 - Pretoria, South Africa
Duration: 2023 Oct 262023 Oct 27


Conference22nd European Conference on e- Learning, ECEL 2023
Country/TerritorySouth Africa

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Learning

Free keywords

  • higher education
  • notetaking
  • research methods

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