Guided Notes

Last week, Jason C. shared some great resources for finding images along with design principles worth considering (find the post here). One item he discussed was the amount of text to include on a slide. His suggestion was “as little as possible”. When we think about this in the classroom, it may cause a little discomfort. After all, if we don’t have all the information on the slide how will they get it? I’m glad you asked! I recommend a strategy that has some evidence in the educational literature and allows you to use good slide design principles. 

What I’m referencing is guided notes. Guided notes are the pre-made handouts that you create for your learners with words omitted that are to be filled in during the lesson. This can be used during lecture, watching videos, and reading. There are two types of guided notes: short form and long form.

Short form guided notes are short one or two word blanks that are to be filled in the text. Below is an example of short form guided notes from one of our workshops.

short form guided notes


Long form guided notes are key words with larger space for the learner to write information. Notice below the difference in how the page is laid out.

Long form guided notes


Taking time to prepare these notes can be transformative for your learners. It removes the cognitive load of listening, remembering, writing, and repeat throughout the lesson. Using guided notes allows them to engage in the lesson more so than the mechanics of writing every thought down. Additionally, there are endless options in how guided notes can be modified for diverse learners. Give this strategy a try and let us know how it goes!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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