I do not know how. I pretty much just write stuff down when someone lecturing or leading a meeting makes me think of a question I want to investigate further.
I think there’s other stuff notetaking can do though, and I don’t know how it works.
Do any of y’all?
Here’s my method, based on my experience in lecture-based post-secondary classes in school.
Ask if the lectures are based on a source material; in most post-secondary classes I’ve experienced, the lessons draw from a textbook or collection of academic writings. If the lectures are based off of a textbook, use it. If you buy your own book or rent the book from you institution, it’s likely you can write and highlight in this book; take advantage of this. At the end of each class, ask which chapter will be covered in the next class, and read the chapter beforehand. In class, while the professor is lecturing, scan section headings to figure out where the professor is drawing their current source material. Often lectures using this method go in the same order as the source. Usually these lectures are an overview or summary of what the book says, so if the professor repeats something from the book, it is vital, so underline or highlight this information. If they say something that isn’t in the book, they probably think it is important and it might be on an exam; write this information in the margins. When class discussion occurs, directed by the professor, especially if it’s a question, this is the professor trying to encourage students to draw conclusions from the information. Once the conclusion is stated, write down the conclusion near a relevant section heading.
If the class is not based off source material, write notes in an outline in similar format to a textbook. Divide information into section titles and then list information relevant to that section. It is okay and sometimes important to use abbreviations, symbols, and text effects to shorten words and phrases in a way that you can understand, especially if your professor talks quickly. You can usually tell when a professor is about to start a new ‘section title’ because they pause for a few seconds, or use transition phrases like like “Next, we’ll talk about…” or “That led to…” If this isn’t clear, ask your professor if they will do these things to make it clearer, because if information isn’t in sections, it’s hard to draw conclusions and or retain information. Make sure especially to note definitions and significant names and dates.
It might look something like this:
The birth of Apollo
-Zeus + Ledo = Apollo and Artemis
-Homeric Hymn to Apollo: Delos = site of Apollo’s birth
…and so on.
I hope this helps.
You might even get a professor who says something like ‘today I’ll talk about (topic 1), (topic 2), and (topic 3) if I have time’. I always write these down, that way I always at least have general themes I can come back to and talk to the professor about later if I need to.