Person of Interest: Far from the lecture halls at Berkeley, on a study-abroad trip, Abby VanMuijen had an education epiphany by way of a set of colored pencils. Drawing her notes, instead of writing them, helped her think — and learn — better.
Visual note-taking for Abby VanMuijen, as described in this article, came as an evolutionary process. Beginning with simple "doodled" images alongside her written notes, she turned her note taking around completely into using visualizations (colored sketches, diagrams, and more complete drawings) as the primary combination of learning tools and memory aids.
She hasn't kept her visual notes to herself: through the keen eyes of one of her professors, one of her notebooks was published (the "Global Poverty Coloring Book"), developed from the coursework in the #GlobalPOV program from the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley.
Applying more visualization techniques to her skills, nine videos were produced, showing her sketching as well as adding objects treated as visual metaphors.
The takeaway from this story is that individual curiosity and creativity gave her a way to apply visual thinking to her practical desire to improve her learning and memory skills. Then she went further, transforming from student to teacher, now offering classes in visual note taking.
Hopefully, UC Berkeley will widen her teaching, giving more students access to her classes and improving education campus-wide by making visual note taking commonplace both for taking notes and as student output from their learnings.