Ready for retention: Presenting a unified note-taking experience

Ready for retention: Presenting a unified note-taking experience

Ken Sun, Director of Product Management, Coursera

What did you learn in your last course on Coursera? What were the important concepts presented each week? Could you draw one graph the instructor used? If recalling these facts feels tough, you’re not alone. Humans tend to lose 40% of information within the first 24 hours after hearing or reading it, with the recall rate dropping significantly as time goes on. To tackle this natural struggle, we’ve developed  new note-taking functionalities on Coursera. 

Actively engaging in the learning process via note-taking is tied to increased retention and comprehension. To help you get the most out of Coursera, we’ve fine-tuned the platform’s note-taking, highlighting, and centralized note functionalities, combining the seemingly old-school tradition (a.k.a. frantically scribbling down key concepts during a lecture) with 21st century capabilities. 

Snagging Important Imagery

Screengrabs are a great way to tuck away graphs, drawings, and other visuals instructors might show during a course. Via our note-taking functionalities, we’ve made capturing and organizing images easier than ever. 

While watching a lecture, you can click the “Save Note” button below the video and save a screenshot to their course notes. You’re the only one who can view your course notes, where you can add your own commentary, for example what to observe in a given graph, and easily delete any saved lecture screenshots. While watching a lecture, corresponding notes can be accessed in real time via a sidebar on the right side of the screen.    

Without pausing the video, learners can simply click a button to capture a lecture screenshot.

No Highlighter? No Problem.

Although pictures are worth a thousand words, we know sometimes you need to remember a specific fact or phrase spoken by an instructor. As with all courses on Coursera, you have a full lecture transcript beneath each video that tracks an instructor’s voice. We’ve made it easy to pick words in that transcript you want to highlight. 

Learners can highlight within the transcript without missing the video lecture, which is visible “picture-in-picture” style in the lower-right hand corner of the screen.

When an important concept comes along, you can highlight that phrase within the transcript and click the “Save Note” pop up button. The highlight will then appear in your course notes section. As with screenshots, highlights can be edited or deleted and are accessible during a lecture via the sidebar. Additionally, saved highlights can be deleted directly within the transcript with a “Delete Note” pop up button. 

Highlights can be easily saved or deleted directly in the lecture transcript.

A Virtual Notebook 

To keep you organized and ready for a post-lecture review session, we’ve created a centralized location, a sort of digital note-keeping binder, where all of your saved images and other notes can be stored. This unified review page can be accessed from the course homepage. Notes for the course can then be viewed all at once or thematically, module by module. 

Navigate directly from a course’s homepage to the unified review page to access all notes in one place.

Starting (and Ending) Courses on a High Note

Although retention is a challenge for many of us, it’s one we can identify and address. Currently, note-taking is available on both desktop and mobile. Highlighting capabilities and the unified review page are live on desktop and coming soon for mobile.  

With the variety of options available, you can find a note-taking method that best fits your learning style. And most importantly, by using our new note-taking tools you will be able to better retain information, ultimately fostering a more engaging and beneficial learning experience for any course.