Understanding Will – Part 6: I can’t make notes in my lectures #learning strategies #ADHD #thinkdifferently

Learning Life Hacks

This is the final part in a series of blog posts, Understanding Will,  in which we share what we have learnt about Will and how in understanding him better we have helped him to use different learning strategies.

Will said:

I find it difficult to make notes and follow lectures at the same time

What is going on in Will’s brain?

  • This involves Will in combining the storage and processing of information under a time pressure. He has to keep switching attention and this makes high demands on his working memory.
  • Will has to simultaneously listen, encode task relevant and inhibit task irrelevant information and hold information in his working memory. He also has to link information with information stored in his long-term memory in a way that creates meaning while writing notes, a dynamic cognitive process in itself.

The Impact:

  • Will is unable to take in verbal information whilst switching attention.
  • He struggles to encode, hold and probe information and loses focus.
  • He makes errors and often gives up.
  • His acquisition of knowledge and his understanding is limited.

Strategies that help Will learn:

  • Providing Will with lesson/lecture content prior to session. This allows him to familiarize himself with the information to be delivered.
  • Providing Will with printed copies of lectures, PowerPoints etc. that he can follow and annotate.
  • Providing Will with note-taking structures that highlight key concepts prior to the session so that he can annotate them, e.g. headings, bullet points, mind maps.
  • Using multi-sensory methods to convey information.
  • Ensuring that key concepts are explained in simple grammatical terms and their relevance made clear.
  • Pausing frequently to allow Will time to take in information and catch up.
  • Providing Will with supplementary materials, e.g key vocabulary lists.
  • During lessons/lectures, allowing Will to access the material, PowerPoints etc. on a laptop so that he can follow and annotate them as they are presented.
  • Allowing Will to record lectures so that he can revisit/review them later.
  • Allowing Will to photograph displayed information to supplement notes.
  • Encouraging Will to use graphic organizers to record notes.