The Secret to Take Good Notes as An Educator

We all remember scribbling down important words as the professor delivered a lecture. Ever wondered if the professors also take down notes before teaching? As a matter of fact, they do. Note-taking is just as a necessary activity for educators as it is for the learners.

Educators need to take notes to ensure that the entire course material is well covered. It helps them select the key points they need to emphasize and also quickly highlight the source of the information when needed. Studies have shown that if a summary of learning material is ready, it assists in delivering a smooth teaching session. Unfortunately, note-taking is often an underestimated process. Selecting key points and getting them ready in an easy-to-deliver fashion requires sincere effort. The quality of notes, quantity (yes, some educators do confuse writing down an entire page as “summary”), format, are a few of the areas that demand a thorough thought before one gets into note-taking. Let us look at the best practices for educators to take notes. 

Pointers on Taking NotesPointers on Taking Notes

Make a hierarchy of ideas – Poorly organized ideas can be confusing when teaching. Before the lecture, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the topic and the materials required. Remember, your own engagement will reflect in the learners’ active participation.

Recognize important cues – Be selective and highlight the points which need to be elaborated beyond the written text. Think if any of those need a quick visual illustration or a sketch and prepare one accordingly. The goal here is to help the learners identify and capture the important ideas and later on be able to express those in the evaluation or assessments.

Review before and after class – Go through your key ideas for a couple of minutes and apply a framework to your thought process. This will give you time to review the quality and quantity of the notes. You can tie new concepts and ideas to the points, and rewrite for better organization and legibility.

Provide a lecture framework – It would be a good idea to provide some form of guided or skeletal notes to the students. Of course, there needs to be a balance between how much ready-made content to give to the students, but a simple outline with some room for the learners to develop their own notes should suffice. This is particularly helpful to keep the topic understanding in sync between the educator and the learner.

The Cornell note-taking method – there are several techniques (some scientifically developed; others individually devised) for taking out lecture notes. One such that has proved its worth is the Cornell Note Taking. It was developed by Prof. Walter Pauk of Cornell University in the 1950s and focuses on taking, organizing, and reviewing notes. You can read more about it here. What makes it special though is that it encourages you to reflect on your notes by making you ask yourself questions – works well with learners as well as educators! 

The Right Way to Do It

Here’s the good thing that comes with technology – handy tools for quality notes. There are a couple of those available, either paid or free of cost, depending on the features you decide to choose. For instance, there’s

  • Scriblink – This is an online whiteboard that lets you draw or write on a digital canvas. It opens in your web browser, comes with a simple toolbox, and has a built-in conference system so you can add participants and share the whiteboard or save your work for future references.
  • Padlet – With this one, you can copy-paste or drag and drop images and text pieces from other web pages.

While these (and more like these) are mostly tools for documenting and sharing content, they don’t necessarily help in creating notes from scratch and automatically. If that is your concern, you will need to check Quillionz Test – the world’s first AI-powered teaching assistant. Quillionz Test works as a summary generator and creates editable notes from the content you key in/paste, using its AI capabilities. Imagine writing a summary of an article within seconds! Users prefer calling it summary notes or precis and vouch for it as the best app for making notes. In fact, one of the most loved features of Quillionz Test is its ability to highlight key portions of the text and summarizing the main points, as this is hugely helpful in reinforcing the core concepts.

What are your tips, as an educator, to take high-quality notes? How do you summarize the text? You can write to us at info@quillionz.com or leave your comments below.

Enabling Instructional Designers with AI-based Technology – Case Study

About the Client

The customer is a leading design and development company, specializing in custom eLearning development. They create training material for their clients and also provide content curation services.

Business situation

Since the client designs training and assessment content for L&D divisions of the other companies, they are needed to work on designing assessment questions as part of the training content, from time to time. This was a tedious and time-consuming task for their instructional designers as they had to manually curate questions from training content. At times, depending on the content, an SME would also be involved.

Now, framing questions manually is a big time sink for these instructional designers. A single good multiple-choice question may take up to 15 minutes to write. And you need a good number of such questions to each assessment. When you add expert reviews and client feedback to this, it implies a lot of added time and effort. That seemed to be a gap someone had to fill. The client started looking for a solution which could enable their instructional designers to create and curate questions faster, with no compromise on quality.

Our solution:

Solving the client’s challenge implied using an AI & ML-powered automatic question generation system, which could be fed with the content to produce assessment questions. The client then turned to Quillionz, – a leading AI-powered question generator, for help. Quillionz specializes in automated question generation from digital content. It uses proprietary AI and ML algorithms to generate and curate questions.

The client’s instructional designers started making use of Quillionz to generate questions based on the learning content. It drastically reduced their manual creation and curation efforts.

Benefits:

The client noticed several benefits, with the use of Quillionz, in their workflow. Some of the prominent ones were:

  • Better Questions with human touch, generated by data-driven approach than structured questions
  • Time and cost saving in terms of efforts spent by SMEs, Instructional designers and quality check teams
  • Lesser dependency on domain experts for curation and quality validation of questions

Increased business potential capacity

The Importance of Interpretive Questions

We, human beings, are inquisitive by nature. We ask questions regularly and answer many too, almost every day. The purpose is not just to talk or communicate, but to deepen our understanding of a subject or topic. That’s the very reason why questions are indispensable in the education domain too. They are an important source of knowledge assessment, and in turn, filling out any gaps.

Educators use different types of questions to assess learners, the most basic ones being – factual questions. Factual questions have a clear single answer which is found in the learning content. The learner doesn’t really have to comprehend the text or think logically to answer them, a simple recall would let them answer the question correctly. For instance, the following questions would come under the category of factual questions.

  • Who is president of America?
  • What is the capital of Japan?
  • Where was the first case of the 2019–20 Coronavirus outbreak identified?

All the above questions have only one fact-based answer. Not undermining their importance in any way, but factual questions are good when you just want the learner to remember specific things. The idea is to take the learner into the learning content and have them remember important things.

factual questions

But, when you want learners to think beyond what is written and derive logical interpretations, interpretive questions are probably what you need to ask.  Interpretive questions usually start with why or how and build upon the learning content. They might have more than one answer and usually aim to take the learner through the content. Learners are required to revisit content to collect supporting evidence since the answers to interpretive questions might be debatable.

For instance, here are some generic interpretive questions that could apply to multiple content pieces.

  • What patterns do you sense in this whole writeup?
  • What were some of the positive effects of this situation?
  • What do you think is the ultimate reason Google collects so much of our personal information?

Interpretive questions generally spark and keep discussions going. Apart from all the earlier mentioned considerations, interpretive questions come with some implicit benefits for learners like stimulating their comprehension and reasoning abilities and improving their oral and written language.

Quillionz Pro, the premium version of Quillionz – world’s first AI-powered question generator, now also generates higher-order interpretive questions. When Quillionz was launched, it could create a variety of questions on your content, including multiple-choice questions, recall questions and short descriptive questions, but higher-order questions were a distant dream. It mostly generated factual questions that required learners to identify and recall specific entities, keywords, and phrases, define key terms, and describe key ideas encountered in the content.

Then came Quillionz Pro, where the question quality got better, generation-time got shorter, and output formats got wider. And now, with the launch of interpretive questions in Quillionz Pro, you can get questions that evaluate the learners’ ability to draw parallels or comparisons, infer implied causal relationships, or explain implicit themes and concepts in the content. With all these added advantages, there is no reason why an educator should not be trying out this tool. Available at a nominal price of $9.99/month or $24.99/3 months, Quillionz Pro can be purchased here.

5 Must-Have Additions for Your Ed-Tech Toolkit for 2020

2020 is here. Technology knows no bounds. Ed-tech, specifically, is soaring. There are many tools around to ease educators’ lives – some are new yet disruptive while some have been around for years and still going strong. Out of the thousands of ed-tech tools available, I am going to pick up my favorite 5. Add them to your teaching arsenal this year to make an impressive toolkit and you might just be thanking me soon. Have a look.

  • InsertLearning

InsertLearning is a tool that allows teachers to insert instructional content on any web page. With this tool, educators can turn a web page into an interactive lesson. They can highlight text; add questions, comments, and videos; and even test students. It works as a browser extension on Chrome. There are free and paid versions of the tool available. Teachers can pick and choose based on the number of lessons they want to turn into an interactive experience.

Sign up for InsertLearning here. 

  • Quillionz

Quillionz - Question generatorWith AI poised as the next big thing in education, you cannot afford to ignore it. The same goes for questions, they are imperative to education. What if you get a tool that generates questions from your learning content, in a matter of seconds, using AI. That’s exactly what Quillionz does. Quillionz is the world’s first AI-powered question-generator that works with any textual content – a chapter in the textbook, an article off the internet, or even a video transcript. Quillionz offers a free as well as paid version for use.

Sign up for Quillionz here.

  • Prezi

Prezi is a web-based tool for creating presentations. It comes with highly visual presentation capabilities, which help engage students during lessons. With designer templates, reusable presentations, and a PowerPoint-to-Prezi converter, there’s no need to start from scratch. You could find the presentation that you like and repurpose it with your own content. Prezi offers a free trial for 14 days and post that, you could choose between multiple subscription plans.

Sign up for Prezi here.

  • Raptivity 2020

Raptivity 2020

As the world’s first tool for building visually stimulating learning interactions, Raptivity 2020 brings in some unique, vibrant, and sleek interactions to present your learning content. Vertical and horizontal parallax, 3D image, layered display, panning slides, and happy meter are some templates included in this powerful tool. All templates are specifically suited to modern-day design and learning styles. These interactions are truly responsive, xAPI compliant, and suitable to build engaging micro-learning experiences.

You could start a fully-functional trial of Raptivity 2020 and choose to pay up later.

  • Wizer

Wizer is a tool that lets you create and share interactive worksheets with your students online. Add video, audio, images and a variety of question types your worksheets and assign them to students via Google Classroom or any learning management system. You could also save time with automatic checking & grading. Wizer is free for teachers. It does offer premium digital curriculum services to schools and districts.

Sign up for Wizer here

Have you used any of the above tools? How was your experience? Also, let me know if you any recommendations for ed-tech tools that your peers can explore this year. Comment below. 

Will There Ever Be an Efficient Way to Create Questions?

Any lesson or course cannot be complete without reinforcement and evaluation through questions. Assessment and knowledge check questions are integral to a successful learning experience. And yet, there is no denying that creating simple level-1 questions for knowledge checks and assessments is an unwieldy task. It puts a huge drag on the valuable time of educators, instructional designers and subject-matter experts. Question creation seems to be one of those eternal problems to which you can never find a satisfactory solution.

Outsourcing doesn’t always help

A lot of course creators and curriculum leads prefer outsourcing the tedious task of question creation, to save time and effort. For sure, it saves some efforts in the design process. But this is hardly a sustainable solution. Here’s why.

Outsourcing doesn’t always helpExternal consultants often lack the knowledge and expertise that your in-house experts possess. Naturally, the quality of the outsourced questions tends to be a bit suspect. This means that the efforts you managed to save in the design phase usually have to be put into the review cycle instead. This has two consequences: the cost implications of this two-pass process are significant, and delays are inevitable with dual dependencies on external consultants and in-house experts.

Can technology provide a way out?

Some believe that technology can come to our rescue for simplifying the question creation process. There seems to be some chatter about using automatic question generators as a solution to this common learning bottleneck. Here’s how it would work: We would use Artificial Intelligence to process a large amount of content, and basically let a software create questions for us on a single click.

Can technology provide a way outWith Natural Language Processing (NLP), machines can understand language at a morphosyntactic level—what that means is, it can tell parts of speech such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, and so forth. NLP even makes it possible to determine some meaningful relationships between independent words. So, with NLP you can tell which noun an adjective refers. But, question generation is more than just a function of grammar and syntax. To create good questions, you need to look at words in their context and understand their semantic significance—examining words in isolation will not work. This is where the current technology falls short, and this is where automatic question generators need a helping hand.

How about a confluence of artificial intelligence and human intelligence?

Clearly, the current technology isn’t a satisfactory solution to the question-creation conundrum. A purely AI platform, without any human intervention, will fail to deliver. A human-only solution isn’t sustainable either, as the time investment is unreasonably high. Both alternatives miss the mark when it comes to the fine balance between the time-and-efforts and the quality of questions.

How about a confluence of artificial intelligence and human intelligenceBut neither of these two solutions—an AI platform or human involvement—is without its advantages. Artificial Intelligence promises efficiency, while human intelligence preserves the context and the instructional value of the questions. What if there was a way to bring together the best of both alternatives to create a third, more robust solution?

Using AI would bring down the time it takes to create a set of questions from hours to, quite literally, a few seconds. The questions may not be perfect, but that’s where the human intervention comes in. This AI platform would need to be backed by a human element—an educator or an instructional designer, someone who understands the intricacies and nuances of question creation. This human in the loop can review and curate AI-generated questions to craft the best possible questions on the content.

Sounds promising, right? Well, that’s exactly what Quillionz is. It is the world’s first AI-powered question generator that enables you to create quality assessment questions for your courses in a fraction of the time it takes you today.  Here’s how it works: You upload your content to the Quillionz platform. Once you do, Quillionz’ powerful algorithms automatically create ideas based on your content, which you can then curate and publish. Quillionz finds the perfect synergy between human expertise and technology to make your question-creation process faster and more efficient. Click here for a free sign-up with Quillionz and delve into this new approach to question-creation.