Tips on structuring my Lecture notes for review and inspiration

What I’m trying to do

I’m doing a weekend business course. I make long form notes and screen grabs of diagrams. I then summarise the key points. I started off with one page per module, with 10-16 sections, each with long form and summary, but several modules in, I realised this was going to become a dead library I’d never go back to.

I want to structure my notes in a way that I can zoom up and down detail levels with links, and connect themes together. I want it to be a living file I use for inspiration and continually add to.

Things I have tried

As above, I initially tried

|------Module 1 (H2 Long Form Notes, H2 Summary)
|------Module 2 (H2 Long Form Notes, H2 Summary)
|------Module 3 (H2 Long Form Notes, H2 Summary)

What I’m trying to build is

|–Module 1
|–1.1 Intro to Topic (Long Form)
|–1.1 Summary - Intro to Topic (Summary (!))
|–1.2 Further Info (Long Form)
|–1.2 Summary - Further Info
|–@Module1 (Transclusion view of all Module 1, Long Form & Summary)
|–@Module1 Summary (Transclusion view of all Module 1 Summaries)

I’d like to have links/buttons on each Long Form to advance and reverse through the 1.1, 1.2 - and to link to the relevant Summary. Same for the Summary, link forward and back (1.2 forward to 1.3 and back to 1.1) and link to the Long Form.

I have build the 1.1 and 1.2 views using the Note Refactor plugin, but it’s still quite fiddly. I’ve had a look at Templater, but I’m overwhelmed and sensing I could lose a lot of time in this, but also aware that the friction in setting up each note and module is going to result in me drifting away from Obsidian.


  1. Is this a reasonable structure for capturing notes and summaries and making it easy to review and revisit?
  2. Is there a recommend plug-in / template that I could adapt to help ease the building of this with consistent and readable link names?

Many thanks.


Why are you taking the course? Is it purely intellectual curiosity? Is it examinable? Does it lead to acreditation? To receive a promotion within your current employer? Are you required to take the course for CPD pruposes? What are you going to do with these notes in the longterm?

The answer(s) to those question may influence the way your notes are structured.

This, of course, follows from the answers to those questions. Reference notes that you will return on an ad hoc basis will differ from revision notes that you will need ahead of examinations.

To both ends (reference and revision) and anywhere in between monolithic notes, your long form, would inhibit my use. The notes would end up collecting electronic cobwebs as they occupy disk space on my computer.

Obsidian provides tools and plugins that will help you produce, maintain, and utilise notes for whatever purpose you are taking these course. Breaking them into chunks that have appropirate metadata and backlinks. Think of Obsidian notes as revision cards augmented with links to other cards.

Does the training organisation (college, university,etc) provide online copies of the presenter’s notes? Those could be added to an Obsidian Vault for reference purposes.

On a more personal note the best note-taking system I used during my achievement of three degrees is Tony Buzan’s Mind Maps. I don’t mean the form of mind mapping produced from programs such as Mindmapper or free mind — or indeed any of the mindmapping community plugins — but the careful crafted and artisitc maps that feature in Buzan’s seminal book on the topic. The Buzan-style maps look like this (which is from the Wikipedia article on mind mapping)

There some software tools that approach the artistry of that map. One is Buzan’s organisation’s app for iOS (might be available for others) and the now unavailable HeadCase which was once a candidate for the Buzan organisation’s program. Producing artistic mind maps requires one to think of the material and organise it with care; sometime that requires redrawing the map.

My shorter answer to your question is “probably not”.

It’s a professional development course, expanding my skills into new areas. It will help me solve internal and customer problems (in fact last weeks module mapped 95% to a workshop I’m leading with a new prospect). I have to do weekly assignments and before graduation next year, I will have to put together a Research Report combining the classroom learning and how I plan to deploy it with my company and customers.

The summary notes I intend to use for Readwise style flashcards, with the Long Form and Diagram being there as a fallback if I want to get then detail back again.

I’m two weeks into my Obsidian discovery, but yes, this is what I want to build and why I’ve stepped back from the monolithic One Note per Module, with 16+ sections underneath. I may eventually be confident enough to junk the long form, and keep only the 200-300 word summaries of each module, but that a decision for later.

Some links will be manual, such as linking Case Studys on a theme such as Digital Transformation or M&A. But I also think some can be automated/templated, such that Summary 1.2 links to Summary 1.1 and 1.3, and also to Long Form 1.2

As for the longer term, I want to build it into a reference and inspiration tool so that when I meet a new customer and they ask me to come in to talk to their leadership, I can surf through my vault to refresh myself on past times where I’ve solved similar problems in the same industry.

The University does give Module Reviews as well, along with additional Extra Reading which I have in a to-do list in Readwise, and plan to add the summaries of these back into my vault.

Thanks for your help.

The last university I worked at (as a sign language intepreter) issued user guides on various aspects of the learning process including note-taking and referencing. As an interpreter I never needed to use these guides for myself but did have to interpret the contents to the Deaf students I was employed to support. Perhaps your own university issues similar guides for students.

That university also recommended study skills books such as Stella Cotterll’s The Study Skills Handbook
My own unversity where I did my 'terp training used Social Research Methods
now in its sixth edition as Bryman’s Social Research Methods
Either Cottrell or Bryman will give you a hook into taking lecture notes. I recommend reading them.

Thanks for the suggestions

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