The best way to learn something is by teaching yourself.
Studies have shown that being a receptor of information is almost pointless. What needs to happen is the learner must take information and make it his or her own. A schema must be created, and within this conceptual framework, the data can be reorganized in one’s own way for more effective processing and retention. This requires time to think deeply and truly process the concepts being received. We need memory patterns and mnemonic devices, but these techniques are most effective when created by the learner, not the teacher.
I also am a defender of doodling. In school, I was always afraid to doodle because I knew I’d get in trouble if caught by the teacher. Doodling helps me learn, however. If I can take what a speaker is saying, stare at a piece of binder paper, and draw visual representations of what’s being said, I always am able to focus more clearly and retain what I hear. As a society we’re too reliant on verbal communication. Drawing pictures helps connect visual and kinesthetic learning to an emotional experience–the emotional experience being found in the creative moment when a doodle is sketched. (Doodling can also be argued to encompass auditory and reading/writing modalities as well.)
Here’s a TED video by Sunni Brown on the power of doodling. It’s worth your time if you have five minutes.