I recently did some mandatory online training modules at work. You know the sort of thing – manual lifting, equality and diversity and, new for 2018, GDPR (if you don’t know what that is, look it up). I’ve come to like this form of learning – it’s an in-my-own-time, read, listen and then answer some multiple-choice questions type of thing.
What online learning doesn’t dictate is how you absorb the information and, while it’s all fairly basic stuff, I do this by taking notes as I’m going through the module. I know my style of learning is ‘by doing’ which is not enough reason to start a fire to find out how to use the extinguisher… so I have to find other ways to embed the learning – hence the notes.
This note-taking is an extension on my normal practice when in meetings – it helps me to concentrate and to recall what was said and agreed – weeks later if necessary. And it’s surprising how often a discussion at a meeting can spark a completely unrelated idea; I need some means to record the idea for future investigation at a later date – I don’t trust my memory.
Another time I take notes at work is when I’m in a 1-2-1 with a would-be entrepreneur – often a young person thinking of starting their own business. I’ve been in advice roles for over 15 years and I find that being seen to take notes (pretty much whatever I actually write on my pad!) shows them that I’m listening; they’ve got my attention.
What worries me is that I’m not at all sure I’ve got the attention of the young people I support. I share detailed feedback on their business plans – usually my scribbled notes on their word-processed plan – and then see a look of horror on their faces when I say I’m going to hang on to their plan and my notes! Very few of them bring any note-taking materials to our meetings and I sometimes comment on this – giving them a pen and paper if they take the hint. Do they bring paper and pen next time? Not often.
I can only conclude that young people don’t need to take notes these days (and the hand-written work I’ve seen suggests some of them might not be able to) that in our fast-moving, information-filled lives the modern brains of the younger generation have adapted to record and recall information at will. Unlikely.
Which might bring me on to lists (my reliance on and love of them) and the state of my hand-written work diary, but that sounds like the subject for another blog post or two (or possibly a new online training module?)
For other blog posts about ‘working well’ go to https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/working-well