Professional Development :If you write notes from a seminar in a notebook or on a piece of paper…..
- It is hard to interpret your own handwriting.
- Your piece of paper isn’t clickable to visit a web page.
- In order to share the paper you have to photocopy, mail, or fax.
- Taking picture from smart phone reduces the quality of the image.
This is the reason why now you see so many attendees arrive with their iPad or tablet so they can take notes. They might use Memos app, Evenote, or SimpleNote which are all online apps for taking and retrieving digital note files. However that is only for word processing. What about pictures of diagrams drawn on easels? What about the audio from the seminar? What about the manuals, workbooks, and study guides?
As a life-long learner I spend thousands per year on my professional development. In years past all of my notes would end up in the trash, recycle, or the shelf. Not anymore. All of my notes are digital in a variety of formats for quick retrieval and implementation.
Here are the tools I use.
I created a Dropbox Folder called “My professional development” and have folders for my coaches, mentors, and seminars. These folders include:
- PDFs, spreadsheets, templates
- Audio files of recorded presentations using Audio Memos iPad app
- Images of process visuals, diagrams or easel drawings
- PowerPoint files of presentations
I created a Professional Development Notebook that contains a note for each seminar. Inside the note it contains:
- Links to uncommon terms or phrases I have Googled.
- Links to Amazon books suggested by the group or presenter.
- Link to mind map I created from my iPad
- Pictures of drawings from easels or PowerPoint slides not provided in advance.
The problem with taking notes on a piece of paper is that there isn’t an efficient way to organize the key points into sections and categories. Also by solely taking written or typed notes you are only engaging in logic learning which reduces the likelihood of retention. By creating a mind map of the notes you activate spatial learning which gives you a more visual way of conceptualizing the ideas. For more information read Tony Buzan’s book on Mind mapping.
It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on your professional development or how much time you study. What matters most is how quickly you and your team can implement the principles discussed during the seminar.
If digital archives of every seminar you attended were available how much more would you be able to implement?