Notetaking in lectures : the relationship between prior knowledge, information uptake and comprehension
Notetaking during lectures has been mainly investigated using an input-output procedure where particular subject variables are related first to notes-asproduct, then to comprehension test scores. In contrast, the purpose of this thesis was to look at notetaking as a process rather than a product and to discover factors that influence the process. The first, orienting study took a fairly traditional approach of training students in the use of two strategies -summarizing and networking- hypothesized to improve notetaking activity. Training was administered for a period of six weeks. Results indicated a main effect for mathematical ability but not for training. Differences in mean scores for training methods were non significant and not in the hypothesized direction'fnetworking > summarizing> control. The next study was a first-approximation to a true processing analysis. Students' self-estimates of prior knowledge, as well as the volume of their notetaking were linked to strategic and tactical processing variables such as whether lecture material was written down as heard or translated into own terms; whether they wrote only important points, and so on. This pattern was then further related to self-estimates of lecture comprehension. The pattern of relationship among processes, and between these processes, note volume and comprehension varied with differing amounts of prior knowledge and with language ability. The third study was more ambitious in its approach to processing variables. A videotaped lecture was segmented into idea units with a pause between each unit. For each segment, students took notes as well as recording their understanding of it. A regression model for the data shows that while self-estimated prior knowledge appeared related to outcome variables (e.g. comprehension), 2 it did not relate to understanding of the lecture as it was being delivered. A more detailed analysis by segments revealed that notes reflected the status of transmitted information with regard to importance and the level of understanding achieved for specific pieces of information. Mean lecture comprehension accounted for the largest percentage of variance in the number of words in notes. Findings are discussed with respect to contemporary theories of note taking and comprehension. A cognitive model of notetaking detailing how the various processes are instantiated and related is also offered.