Students learn how to develop their sketchnoting skills from Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, assistant professor of industrial design. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Sketchnoting pushes students to learn, retain information differently — particularly in STEM

As leaders in the U.S. aim to increase the number of young people who prepare to work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, Iowa State University professors are testing new ways to learn and teach STEM subjects.

Ann Gansemer-Topf, an associate professor in the School of Education, is studying whether sketchnoting — a new method of note-taking — enhances learning among Iowa State University students in an introductory ecology class.

Sketchnoting is an alternative to traditional note-taking that involves adding visuals to words.

Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, an assistant professor of industrial design, has introduced sketchnoting to about 1,000 Iowa State students in apparel and merchandising, food science and human nutrition, design, and engineering. Now she’s teaching the note-taking approach to students in Ann Russell’s animal ecology class while Gansemer-Topf measures what the students learn.

Innovating new strategies for teaching and learning STEM concepts may help draw a wider range of students into STEM majors, Gansemer-Topf said.

See the full ISU News Service story.