Do you know the best tips for taking notes or the most common myths about learning? Do you know Elmore’s four modes of learning that correspond to our personal theories on the subject and influence the way we learn? Test your knowledge by answering the following five questions.

1. True or false? For learning, manual note-taking is more effective than keyboard note-taking.



While computers allow you to take more notes and produce a more accurate report that is easier to read later, they do not allow you to digest the information and make it your own during the exercise, which is far from trivial in terms of learning.

Taking notes by hand would even be beneficial for brain development and health, according to a 2012 study published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education.

Find out more: Note-taking: Keyboard or Pen? The Verdict of Science!

2. For better note-taking, it is recommended to follow all but one of the tips below. Which one is it?

A) Prioritize ideas rather than sentences.

B) Adapt what the teacher says and use your abbreviations and symbols.

C) Change lines or paragraphs for each new concept.

D) Wait 24 hours before reading your notes for the first time.



To use your memory optimally, it is recommended that you do the first reading of your notes within 24 hours.

Taking notes is far from being a trivial exercise when you know that the average oral output is 150 words per minute, while our writing capacity is limited to some 27 words per minute! In addition to requiring the ability to write quickly and concisely, this exercise requires concentration, listening skills, analytical skills and a spirit of synthesis.

Find out more: The art of taking notes

3. Accurate or myth? Which of the following statements is/are true?

A) To promote optimal cognitive performance, one should avoid sleeping less than 7-8 hours per day.

B) Too much sleep can impair cognitive performance.

C) Only positive or pleasant emotions promote learning.

D) Visual, auditory, kinesthetic… knowing which of these learning styles is your own is an asset to better learning.


A. and B.

As far as emotions are concerned, it is perfectly normal for learning to make us experience less pleasant feelings since it implies questioning what we thought we knew, coming up against our limits, etc. Nevertheless, it is desirable, even necessary, that this process also gives us pleasant emotions. However, these emotions must be related to learning since any pleasant or positive emotion does not immediately promote this process. Conversely, a “negative” emotion, if it occasionally occurs and in moderation, can motivate the learner to redouble his or her efforts to achieve the goal.

As for “learning styles” (visual, auditory and kinesthetic), this is one of the most persistent “neuromyths,” or misconceptions about how the brain works, that has even managed to spread to the education community. While you may prefer to learn in one of these three ways, none of them will help you learn better.

Find out more: 3 Myths That Prevent You from Learning

4. We all have our theories about learning and our preferences for one way of learning over another. Richard Elmore, a Harvard professor, breaks down this concept into four main modes of learning organized around two axes: individual or collective and hierarchical or free. These modes are: individual hierarchical, collective hierarchical, individual decentralized and collective decentralized.

Select the correct term to complete the following statements about the general principles considered in Elmore’s model.

Terms: Over the course of our lives, boundaries, depending on circumstances, a variety of factors

Most of us have experienced all four modes of learning ________. Our ability or preference for one of them may depend on ________.

If we tend to prefer any one of these four conceptions of learning, that does not mean that we might not prefer another after exploring it further or at least getting closer to the ________ of another.

Ideally, we should be exposed to a mixture of all four modes of learning, to be more versatile as a learner and to be able to choose, ________, the one that suits us best.


The complete, correct statements are as follows:

Most of us have experienced all four modes of learning over the course of our lives. Our ability or preference for one of them may depend on a variety of factors.

If we tend to favour one or another of these four conceptions of learning, it does not mean that we could not prefer another after exploring it further or at least getting closer to the boundaries of another.

Ideally, we should be exposed to a mix of all four modes of learning, to be more versatile as a learner and to be able to choose, depending on the circumstances, the one that suits us best.

For more information: Elmore’s 4 modes of learning

5. For each description, find the zone associated with it.

1- comfort zone; 2- learning zone; 3- panic zone

A) It is not so much the fear of plunging into the unknown that brings us into this zone as the fear of losing what we have or what defines us.

B) This is the zone where you wonder how you will meet a challenge… No matter how you end up in this zone, you can learn from it.

C) This is the zone you return to once you have mastered a skill.

D) It is a comfort zone, but it is not a place where you can progress.


1- Comfort zone: C and D; 2- Learning zone: B; 3- Panic zone: A

The learning zone is “THE” most profitable zone, and to progress, we must revisit it often and know how to get out of the comfort and panic zones!

For tips on how to do this: Finding Your Spot in the Learning Zone

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Catherine Meilleur

Catherine Meilleur

Creative Content Writer @KnowledgeOne. Questioner of questions. Hyperflexible stubborn. Contemplative yogi.

Catherine Meilleur has over 15 years of experience in research and writing. Having worked as a journalist and educational designer, she is interested in everything related to learning: from educational psychology to neuroscience, and the latest innovations that can serve learners, such as virtual and augmented reality. She is also passionate about issues related to the future of education at a time when a real revolution is taking place, propelled by digital technology and artificial intelligence.