“Do you really need to print training materials?” What an interesting question I was asked. It got me thinking about workbooks, notebooks and journals, and our growing focus on technology. 

I attended many training and learning events. It’s clear that some materials never met a designer. I have faith in well-designed notebooks and journals and have been thinking about this issue for a long time. There are clues to suggest that people still want something to touch and feel.  

Popular writer Dan Pink summarized research that found university students learn and retain more when handwriting notes compared to typing on a computer.  I challenge you to look around and notice the tools people use for notes and ideas.  

When I started a Ph.D., I noticed many graduate students using technology. I often worked at a library and I saw students work with a computer open to social media while using school notebooks for their notes and learning. Most also had real textbooks.

I taught a Master’s course in Creativity and Innovation (University of Adelaide). Only three of 24 students used a computer in my lectures.  I asked why. I was told it is easier and faster to use a notebook. I asked about technology and online resources. Did they want more? No. What they wanted was engagement:  face-to-face sharing and collaboration. They want to experience something. 

Since I created special idea journals for many years, I thought this was an interesting challenge; what could a learning journal look like?  Learning involves innovative thinking in two domains: 

  • Domain One – the content which prompts learners to form insights, ideas, and personal results.  
  • Domain Two – the personal skills of people to learn effectively to maximize the value of courses or workshops or any learning intervention.  

Vectors Institute makes the most of both. It is developing top programs for non-profit staff and managers.  We also collaborated to create a unique Vector Institute Learning Journal for all participants.  This includes unique pages that are used during the learning and insights for being more innovative when people shift back to their work. Some of the pages include: 

  • Taking more effective notes  
  • How to learn more every day, any day 
  • The problem with problem-solving  
  • Collaboration: turn team meetings into idea factories 

All participants in any Vector Institute course will receive a journal to get the most value from their investment in learning and personal results.