Through the years I have tried tons of different note taking methods: plain old paper, Cornell notes, The Word notebook function, Evernote and more. While Word and Google Docs are obviously trusty writing options, I have found the app Notability to be a secret superpower in both my note taking and learning.
Since I have visual processing and dysgraphia (a handwriting issue,) I have to type almost everything and have had to for years. However, the ability to type my notes doesn’t help me at all when my attention often fails me. Sometimes I took written notes, but as an auditory learner, the process of note-taking would distract me from actually digesting the lesson at hand. So I would leave class having notes but feeling like I’d learned nothing.
The reason Notability is so great is very simple: it has a recording function that is keyed to your typing. This has been incredibly valuable for me for a few reasons. First, recording a lecture gives me a backup for when I inevitably tune out for a few minutes. That way, I can go back to listen again to whatever holes I have in my understanding when I go to study or write a paper.
But while the recording is overall great, the keyed typing is really what makes Notability stand out. I can write down small bullet points (instead of getting distracted trying to furiously write everything down) and then after the lecture, I can go back and click on the bullet I typed and it will direct me right to that point in the lecture audio, which is a better memorizing method for an auditory learner anyway. Best of all, it can do more than text. You can draw all over a note with a stylus and even import pictures and sketch notes or diagrams over a photo and a recording will still be keyed to your drawing. You can export your notes as PDFs or turn the audio into an MP3. And then it will sync will all your devices so you can pull your notes up whenever you need.
The app, which you can get on a laptop, iPhone or iPad, is $9.99. And I would say that is well worth it.