I have been researching and working on my own sketchnotes for quite some time, and I’m still trying to get the hang of it. Last semester, I tried sketchnoting to help me study in my cellular metabolism class. I kind of went through an “evolution” of sorts, where my formatting and style completely changed as I tried new things.
Check out the gallery below to see my progression!
I can easily list off some pros and cons to sketchnoting for students:
- Super fun! (Doodling enzymes as little rectangle people with labeled hats made it cute – which is fun, right?)
- Lettering becomes faster with practice (like the block letter headings and sketch-y subtitles).
- Easy to look at to review (Visual engagement is the brain’s best friend when you’re trying to focus and learn!)
- Takes forever if you draw a lot or have a lot of information to “translate” into drawings
- There is a learning curve, but it does get faster as you keep working at it.
- Limited by the size of the page you’re drawing on (which is bad if you’ve got lots of complex/detailed information)
- May require more than one page or sheet of paper (if you’ve got more than one topic to cover)
Like I talked about before in previous posts about sketchnoting, the big reason it’s so useful in explaining complex topics in science is because it makes communicating ideas and information so much easier. Being able to communicate concepts first and then the details second once the concepts are understood is one of the many duties a physician is responsible for. As a future physician, I need to master this essential skill. Who wants to get bogged down in confusing details before understanding the “general picture” of what’s going on inside their body if they are sick or feeling unwell?
I have seen sketchnoting being used for lots of things, like conferences, TED talks, and meetings. But I have yet to see sketchnotes by students, or by students involved in heavy sciences like me. I wanted to find some examples of sketchnotes that medical students or doctors made, and boy did I find some great ones!
Check these out!
- Renate’s sketchnotes – She is a medical student in South Africa (here’s her blog!).
- Dr. Sani Z. Yamout’s sketchnotes about diagnosing mediastinal masses in children
- Dr. Mike Evans – He’s got an amazing YouTube channel showcasing his sketchnotes!
- Dr. Bryan Vartabedian – He uses sketchnotes to record patient histories!
- Cassie McDaniel’s presentation about the importance of design in health care (and here’s her blog, featuring her own sketchnotes from the 2012 Med 2.0 conference she presented at!)
With regards to using digital tools to sketchnote (i.e. a tablet and stylus), I’ll be posting a big review about various apps that I’m currently testing out and how they stack up to the demands of quick writing and drawing during class lectures.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more cool things! :)