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Have you heard of sketchnoting?

After the cognitive map (mind mapping), sketchnoting is now making its entrance in the world of education. But what, exactly, is it?

Sketch + noting

Sketchnoting is a memorization technique that involves drawing a picture to illustrate an idea or concept, then completing it with keywords or short sentences.


Source: Pinterest, Mrs. B.

Main applications in school

Sketchnoting is mainly used to take notes in class, to make a summary when reading, and to review. When used for taking notes in class, the technique requires great concentration and analytical effort, since the student must quickly understand the concept, select the essential information, then transform it into diagrams, pictograms, keywords or sentences... all the while taking its aesthetic aspect into account.

Many students also use this technique during or after reading. It helps create a clear and quick overview, and facilitates memorization of the content.

Moreover, rather than recopy their notes, many young (and not so young!) people opt for sketchnoting instead. They extract the essential elements learned in class and reformulate them into drawings and texts. The result, which is both informational and artistic, promotes revision, since its creator will want to look at it again and again.

Paper or computer?

Though several types of sketchnoting software exist, such as Gimp, MyPaint or Krita, experts recommend using the good old paper and pencil method, as it promotes memorization of content.

Some basic principles

Sketchnoting is not rocket science, but it does still require some training. Here are some basic notions to help you get started.

1) Start with simple projects

No need to embark on a crazy project the first time around. It is wiser and less discouraging to begin with a simple project first. For example, your child could start with their morning routine: waking up, having breakfast, getting dressed, brushing their teeth... The next step could be to design a memory aid for their upcoming oral presentation, with the approval of their teacher, of course!

2) Prioritize titles

Titles make it easy to locate information on a sheet. That’s why it's important to prioritize titles by playing around with size, thickness and colour.

3) Organize the information

There is no wrong or right way to sketchnote. However, organizing the information is essential, so that it can be easily understood. The main sketchnoting styles are: linear, radial, vertical, path, modular, skyscraper and popcorn.

7 styles sketchnoting

4) Draw according to your skills

But what if your drawing skills are limited to stick people? It doesn’t matter! Anyone can draw a square, a circle, a triangle, a line, an arrow, a thought bubble and a dot, meaning that anyone can use sketchnoting as a technique.

Remember, the goal is not to display the result at the Museum of Fine Arts, but rather to map concepts in order to memorize them more easily.

Sketchnoting is a great tool to add to your toolbox. It promotes learning while developing creativity. What more could you ask for?

To learn more: read Sketchnote Time by Béatrice Lhuillier, Éditions du Chêne, or Apprendre avec le sketchnoting by Audrey Akoun, Philippe Boukobza and Isabelle Pailleau, Éditions Eyrolles.