Improving ground school effectiveness through improved notetaking

11% OF A LECTURE is all that first year college students typically capture in their notes, according to research.1

Hmmm, it that us the case for college students, what must it be like for the 50 year old aviation student taking a private pilot ground school. Part of the issue stems from the ability to organiza ones thoughts on paper. When the subject material is new, capturing the highpoints can be quite problematic, and before too long, ones notepad ends up looking like a big fubared mess. Even more so, is the inherrant distraction of notetaking in and of itself. In the past, it was common to provide handouts to the students before the lecture. Such notes would be completely filled in with all the relevant detail. Unfortunately, what this does, is it allows the student to be passive, rather than forcing their active involvement in the lecture.

An idea proposed by Gales2 is a compromise which provides for better student organization, and active participation The idea is a simple one, a set of key point notes at the beginning of class, for the student to fill in, followed up by a complete set of notes for the student to review at the end of class. However, such a practice is not common place, due to the resource constrants of professional educators, as noted in aeroinstructor.3

To me, this seems a golden idea, and I am definitely going to put it to use at my next ground school class. In addition, I'm going to see what sort of feedback this concept generates after trying it a session or two.


(1) Kiewra, K. A. (1985). Providing the instructor's notes: An effective addition to student notetaking. Educational Psychologist. 20. 33-39.

(2) Gales, P. (2005). Instructor-provided notes. In  B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology

(3) Amundson, R. H. (2006) Why we should look at educational psychology

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