I recently read this: "We distinguish between note-taking and note-making. Note taking is a passive process which is done at lectures whereas note-making is more active and focused activity where you assimilate all information and make sense of it for yourself." I dislike the distinction for several reasons. It appears to me that there is no process which is, qua process, passive. There may be active and passive participants, but "taking" or "taking note" is active. Furthermore, grammatically speaking, there is an "active" voice and a "passive voice," not a "more active voice." It simply means that "in a sentence using active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed in the verb." In the case of "note taking," a person "takes" notes. While the same person or the agent may be more active at one point than at another, this doe not make a process passive. A "more active ... activity" is even stranger--at least to me. It's the one who engages in the activity who is active, not the activity. You might say that this is nitpicking, but it is a site published by a university, after all.
What they really mean is that you should not stop after you have taken down the notes, but should instead continue the note-taking process until you have made as much sense of the information as you need to. But making "sense of it for yourself" is not sufficient either. In making "some" sense of the information you have taken down, you could very well be wrong. You may just have made it up. The point is to understand it correctly. And that is not "up for grabs." In the context of a university, you will find out during exam time at the latest. In life, it may be even more painful.
As I said before, I dislike the notion of "note making." There is nothing wrong with "note-taking," properly understood. Once you have taken the notes, you can, of course, use them to make your own arguments, theories, or whatever. But making up the notes themselves does not seem to me a good idea.
1. See Wits. This is just one site of many that subscribe to similar view.
2. No matter what hermeneuticists and other skeptics have to say about the limits of our ability to understand what others might mean. It is important, but it should make us try harder.