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Unit 6: Listen, Take Notes, Read, and Study   The five most basic building blocks of learning in college – and elsewhere – are reading, writing, listening, taking notes, and studying. You have already learned how to improve your reading skills in Unit 4 and explored your learning style in Unit 5. This unit introduces you to concepts that will also improve the learning skills you use during class, including listening and taking notes during instruction and discussion. You almost certainly already know how to practice these skills to some extent, but this unit provides you with tools to practice these skills more efficiently.
 
Like any other skill, the key to improving your effectiveness in listening, taking notes, reading, and studying is to understand each skill better. Just as a baseball player or golfer will not get better at hitting the ball by continuing to swing poorly over and over, you will not become a better listener by continuing to listen poorly! The athlete needs to look at his swing, get advice on how to swing better, and practice the better swing. Even professional athletes analyze their performance in order to improve, so no matter how good you already are at the skills covered in this unit, you can always work on these skills in order to become a better student.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 6.75 hours:

☐    Subunit 6.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.2: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.4: 1 hour
 
☐    Subunit 6.5: 3 hours
 
☐    Subunit 6.6: 0.5 hours
  
☐    Unit 6 Assessment: 0.75 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - describe the elements of effective listening; - demonstrate strategies that make listening more effective; - explain the elements of the learning cycle; - explain the roles of listening and taking notes in the learning cycle, and discuss why they are important; - compare and contrast the four primary methods of note-taking: lists, outlines, concept maps, and the Cornell Method; - identify note-taking methods that support your preferred learning style and/or an instructor's teaching style; - list and describe strategies to make your note-taking more effective; and - organize your notes into effective study guides.

6.1 The Learning Cycle: Prepare, Absorb, Capture/Record, Review/Apply   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 4: Section 4.1: Setting Yourself Up for Success” Link: College Success“Chapter 4: Section 4.1: Setting Yourself Up for Success” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the Chapter 4 introductory text, as well as Section 4.1, to identify the roles of listening and note-taking in the learning cycle. Then, write a brief paragraph in your notebook summarizing how practicing these skills in high school differs from practicing these skills in college.

 Reading this section and writing your response in your notebook
should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

6.2 Prepare to Learn in Class   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 4, Section 4.2: Are You Ready for Class?” Link: College Success“Chapter 4, Section 4.2: Are You Ready for Class?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this section. Consider writing your answers to the three main questions at the beginning of the reading in your notebook. Being prepared to learn could be the most important factor in determining what you get out of going to class. This reading is very short but presents key steps to follow before you enter the classroom.  If you are an online student (for example, in studies at Saylor.org), consider how these steps will still apply to you in your online learning environment.
 
Reading this section should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete. 
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

6.3 Absorb Information Using Active Listening   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 4, Section 4.3: Are You Really Listening?” Link: College Success: “Chapter 4, Section 4.3: Are You Really Listening?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In Section 4.3, read from the beginning of the section through the box titled “Principles of Active Listening.” Pay close attention to the description of this skill; it is not the same concept as just plain listening! Even if you are an online student, these skills will be of great benefit to you. Good active listening skills are critical for viewing online lectures, videos, and other course media. As an active learner, you are not a passive consumer of knowledge, but rather an alert participant. 

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes to
complete.   
    
 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

6.4 Strategies to Improve Your Listening   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 4, Section 4.3: Are You Really Listening?” Link: College Success“Chapter 4, Section 4.3: Are You Really Listening?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Pick up the Section 4.3 reading where you left off in Subunit 6.3 (from “Activity: Listening to Your Whole Body” onward) to learn additional strategies for staying active while you listen. Even if you are an online student, these skills will pay off great rewards. When interacting with online course content, eliminate distractions, lean forward, focus on what is being said and make note of questions you may have as if you were in front of a live instructor. Even though you may not have ready access to a live instructor who can immediately answer questions, noting your questions will allow you to focus on the material. You may be able to answer most of these questions through conducting independent reading of related texts, reviewing the course materials (textbooks, assignments, and lectures) and performing independent online research. You may also wish to establish or join a study group or online discussion forum in order to share questions and answers with fellow learners.  
After reading the rest of Section 4.3, make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

6.5 Capture Information Using Note Taking   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 4, Section 4.4: Got Notes?” Link: College Success“Chapter 4, Section 5.4: Got Notes?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Section 4.4 to learn about the reasons why you should take notes in class, some effective note-taking methods, and what to do with your notes once you have taken them.  Make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
 
Please note that this reading also provides the information you need to know for subunit 6.5.1 below.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

  • Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Listening, Note Taking, Reading and Study Skills” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Listening, Note Taking, Reading and Study Skills” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: This video will provide information that is correlated to the readings in this unit. Note that the video also covers reading skills, a topic that has been covered in earlier assignments in this course. You can use this video to review strategies for reading college-level texts effectively.
     
    Please note that this lecture also covers information you need to know for subunit 6.5.1 below.
     
    Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to Becky Samitore-Durand, and the original version can be found here.

6.5.1 Why Note-Taking Is Important   Note: This topic is covered by the resources assigned beneath Subunit 6.5 above. For this subunit, review the section introduction, including the learning objectives and Table 4.2, titled “Note-Taking Methods.” In your notebook, list the note-taking methods that might work the best for you based on your academic strengths and learning style. Spend approximately 15 minutes considering this topic and writing in your notebook.

6.5.2 Four Note-Taking Methods   - Reading: Alexandria Technical and Community College: College Service’s “Methods of Note Taking” Link: Alexandria Technical and Community College: College Service’s “Methods of Note Taking” (HTML)
 
Instructions: The first section of this webpage describes the Cornell Method of note-taking, which you will learn about in detail in the next subunit. For now, scroll past the section on the Cornell Method and read the red heading titled “B. Mapping” for some additional information on the note-taking method of Concept Mapping. Concept Mapping is particularly useful to help you organize information not only when taking class notes, but also during study sessions.  
Reading this webpage should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.5.3 The Cornell Method   - Reading: Alexandria Technical and Community College: College Service’s “Methods of Note Taking” Link: Alexandria Technical and Community College: College Service’s “Methods of Note Taking” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the first section of the webpage, under the red heading titled “A. Cornell Note-Taking System,” for information on the Cornell Method. Note that the chart listing the various elements of the system provides a specific example of a topic that has been organized using the Cornell Method.
 
Reading this webpage should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.6 Practice Your Note-Taking Skills Now   Link: Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Activity Instructions” (PDF)

  • Web Media: YouTube: Bill Nye’s “Bill Nye the Science Guy on Static Electricity” Link: YouTube: Bill Nye’s “Bill Nye the Science Guy on Static Electricity” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Click on the link in the subunit introduction above to access and read the activity instructions. Then, watch the Bill Nye video to complete the activity. Use this activity to compare your old style of taking notes with the note-taking techniques you have just learned.
     
    Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 6 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Assessing your Study Skills” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Assessing your Study Skills” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Complete this quiz to assess how much you remember about effective studying skills.
 
Completing this assessment should take approximately 15 minutes.