Elcoro, Hebert & Ghirardi-Broughton

Guided Notes in Undergraduate Instruction

Mirari Elcoro, Framingham State University
Laura Hebert, Framingham State University
Krystal Ghirardi-Broughton, Framingham State University 


This critical reflection of practice is based on the examination of three different modes of implementation of guided notes in undergraduate courses. Guided notes used to respond to student needs, and assessments focused on student perspectives on the use of guided notes were aimed at learning more deeply about diversity of backgrounds and experiences of students. The use of guided notes was adapted across several courses following a reflective approach guided by outcomes from assessment and pertinent literature. This reflection starts with an introduction to guided notes, and then it is followed by results from assessments of the effects of guided notes on student perspectives on learning and satisfaction, as well as on quiz scores for one of the courses. Guided notes were implemented consistently, partially, and voluntarily, across different groups. Students tended to rate guided notes positively, and in some cases negatively. In addition, guided notes may have significantly increased quiz grades in one course. Based on a critical view of the results and a review of pertinent literature, advantages and disadvantages of using guided notes are outlined. Some lessons learned, best practices for implementation, and assessment of the use of guided notes in undergraduate instruction are described.

Keywords: guided notes, note-taking, studying, undergraduate students.

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