Public Safety Training: The Best Note-Taking Methods for Your Learning Style

Group of content multi-ethnic business people in formal outfits sitting in line and making notes on public safety concepts task at training class for EMT's, dispatchers, firefighters, law enforcement, and other professions.

Note-Taking for EMT, Paramedic, Firefighter, Law Enforcement and Military Students

As a first responder or public safety professional, you must stay up-to-date with the latest training and information to ensure you can respond effectively to emergencies. One effective way to retain information is through note-taking. However, knowing which is best for your learning style can be challenging with so many different note-taking methods available. This article will compare the most popular note-taking methods for public safety training, linking each method to a specific learning style. Remember that most of us have more than one learning style, but one or two are dominant. Feel free to try any of these styles regardless of your particular learning style.

Note sure what your learning style is? Take our Public Safety Learning Style Quiz.

For tips on maximizing your memorization regardless of your note style, see our tips here

Sketch Notes

Sketch note page on body language with drawings and text describing concepts of body language.
Sketch note example. Image: Lucidchart

Sketch notes, also known as visual note-taking, are ideal for visual learners. This method uses drawings, symbols, and other visual elements to represent information. Sketch notes help engage the brain’s creative side, making it easier to remember information.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is ideal for visual learners as well as read/ write learners. This method involves diagrams representing information, with the main idea at the center and related concepts branching out. Mind maps can help you visualize relationships between different concepts and ideas, making it easier to remember them.

An example of a mind map on the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.
Example of a mind map.
Image: Flickr

Outline Notes

Outline notes are ideal for logical and read/ write learners. This method involves taking notes in an organized outline format, with headings and subheadings that create a clear information hierarchy.

Cornell Notes

A sheet of notebook paper with annotations creating a template for Cornell note taking.
Cornell Note Style Example Image: Wondershare

Cornell notes are ideal for auditory learners and read/write learners. This method involves dividing a page into three sections: a note-taking section, a cue section, and a summary section. The Cornell design allows students to summarize the main points and review the material later.


Flowcharting is ideal for visual learners and can be helpful for read/write learners. This method uses diagrams to visually represent processes and workflows, with each process step represented by a box or symbol.

Abbreviation Method

The abbreviation method is ideal for kinesthetic learners. This method involves using abbreviations, symbols, and shorthand to take notes quickly and efficiently.

Audio Notes

Audio recording is ideal for auditory learners. This method involves recording lectures and discussions for later review and note-taking.

Effective note-taking is essential for public safety training, as it can help you remember important information and techniques. By choosing the best note-taking method for your learning style, you can improve your retention and performance on the job. Sketch notes and mind mapping are ideal for visual learners, while outline notes and Cornell notes are ideal for logical and auditory learners. Flowcharting is also great for visual learners, and the abbreviation method is perfect for kinesthetic learners. Audio recording is ideal for auditory learners. By using these methods effectively, you can enhance your public safety training experience.

Did we miss a note taking strategy? Comment below to help our readers!


  1. Boon, S. (2018). Visual note-taking strategies for public safety professionals. Fire Engineering, 171(8), 57-60.
  2. Hale, S. (2018). Cornell notes: The definitive guide (with template!). College Info Geek. Retrieved from
  3. Miller, A. (2020). Mind mapping for students: The ultimate guide (with templates!). College Info Geek. Retrieved from
  4. Toppo, G. (2019). Flowcharts for study and productivity: How to make and use them. College Info Geek. Retrieved from

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