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  • Writer's pictureBeth

Sketchnoting: A Beginner's Guide to Dual Coding Theory...

Do you ever find yourself struggling to take notes in a meeting or classroom setting? Or maybe you are a visual learner who enjoys creating diagrams and mind maps to better understand complex topics?

If so, sketchnoting could be the key to unlocking your potential for visual thinking, enhancing your memory retention and fuelling your creativity.

At its core, sketchnoting is a form of visual note-taking that utilises text, images, and colours to convey ideas and concepts. It is based on the Dual Coding Theory, which

suggests that we process and remember information more effectively when we combine both verbal and visual cues - powering up our brain!

Understanding Dual Coding Theory

Before diving into the world of sketchnoting, it's essential to understand the fundamental principles of dual coding theory. This theory suggests that our brain processes information through two parallel channels, one for verbal information (i.e., words and language) and the other for visual information (i.e., images and graphics).

When both channels are activated simultaneously, they work together to create a more robust and cohesive understanding of the information presented. By incorporating visual

elements into your note-taking, you can enhance your cognitive processing by harnessing the power of both channels - rocket fuel for your brain!

Getting Started with Sketchnoting

Now that you understand the theory behind sketchnoting let's take your note taking skills to the next level...

All you need to start sketchnoting is a pen and paper, though if you want to sketchnote digitally you could use a tablet - personally I use an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and the app ProCreate. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Start small: Begin with simple sketches and illustrative icons that you can easily create. Practice creating simple shapes and symbols that you can incorporate throughout your notes and remember sketchnoting is about the information, not the images!

  • Listen for key concepts: Pay close attention to the speaker or lecturer and listen for key concepts and ideas. Think about how you can visually represent these concepts on your paper, and highlight them.

  • Use colour: Colour can be an incredibly powerful tool in sketchnoting, helping to differentiate ideas and concepts and adding a pop of visual interest to your notes.

  • Organise your notes: Utilise different layouts and structures to help organise your ideas and draw connections between different concepts. Think about the structure of the information - is it chronological, or more of a mind map?

If you'd like a step by step guide to creating your first sketchnote then watch this space - it's coming very soon!

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