OneNote Classroom Notebook: A Helpful Tool for Coaching and Feedback

ūüēĎ 4 minutes read | Aug 31 2022 | By Craig Gerdes, TTA Learning Consultant

Leadership and Coaching and Feedback

One of the primary roles any leader/manager must excel at is the ability to provide helpful coaching and timely feedback to their employees and/or team members. Coaching is a conversation that helps people develop their skills, achieve success, and reach their goals. Coaching is a way of expressing truth, and confronting tough issues, and is centered around language that inspires. It is usually done in a one-on-one setting on a regular or as-needed basis. One of the coach’s main tasks is to help employees link their motivation to corporate goals.

Feedback is commentary a leader/manager provides on how someone is doing in their job duties or as a member of a team. Feedback can include positive or negative observations or both. Feedback that is heard and acted upon is considered effective feedback. Feedback should be provided in a constructive manner. Providing constructive feedback means that you are focused on giving feedback in a helpful manner, to help the other individual to learn and grow, not to insult, belittle, or punish.

What is OneNote?

Microsoft OneNote is a digital version of a physical notebook. This means you can capture digital notes and keep them organized. It also means you can add images, diagrams, audio, video, links, and more. Use OneNote with other programs in the Office 365 suite such as Teams and on your desktop, online, or mobile devices. OneNote notebooks can also be shared with multiple other users simultaneously.

OneNote Classroom Notebook for Educational Institutions

Initially designed for the Educational market, the OneNote Class Notebook allowed teachers to create a digital notebook for each class, group, term, or project. At that time, it was a free add-on to OneNote. The initial intent of the Class Notebook was to include a personal workspace for each student, a Content Library for shared information, and a Collaboration Space where student groups could work together. Teachers could create, manage, and distribute instructional content to entire classes or individual students.

Using the OneNote Classroom Notebook for Other Industries and Businesses.

In the latest versions of OneNote, the Class Notebook is available to anyone if it is turned on in Settings > Options of the desktop app.

Now, businesses and organizations have also started to see the value of using the Class Notebook. For example, managers have started to use it within their departments. They can use a Class Notebook to:

  • Encourage everyone on the team to¬†co-author materials and share questions and offer solutions and answers to common issues¬†(Collaboration Space)
  • Share¬†common information¬†in one place with all employees (Content Library)
  • Provide an¬†individual space¬†for each staff member to include personal and private information such as¬†1-1 meeting notes, annual reviews, etc.

Overview for Organizations

The Classroom Notebook works similarly to a traditional OneNote notebook while allowing for a flexible and structured workspace and additional tools for providing instant, real-time feedback and customized content to employees. Obviously, some tools and features would not be applicable such as creating assignments, reviewing work, and posting grades.

Collaboration Space

Employees can work together

  • Managers and employees can edit the content
Content Library

Publish materials to all employees

  • The manager can edit the content
  • An employee can only view the content
Employee Notebooks

A private space for each employee

  • Manager can view/edit content for all employees‚Äô notebooks
  • An employee can edit his/her own content and can‚Äôt view others‚Äô notebooks

Leaders must excel at the ability to provide helpful feedback. Here are some tips on how you can use OneNote Classroom Notebook for coaching.

Getting Started with the OneNote Classroom Notebook

Two options:

  1. Open the OneNote desktop app and turn on the Class Notebook feature in Settings > Options. Then a new tab will appear.
  2. Go to OneNote and login

Leaders must excel at the ability to provide helpful feedback. Here are some tips on how you can use OneNote Classroom Notebook for coaching.

Create a New Notebook

  1. Click Create Class Notebook icon
  2. Walk-through the steps in the Wizard
    1. Provide Notebook Name
    2. Add Teachers/Students (Managers/Employees)
      NOTE: Optional now, can add later
    3. Design Private Spaces (student/employee personal section groups)
      1. Add or delete sections
        NOTE: You can add/rename later, you cannot delete later.
      2. Handouts, Class Notes, Homework, and Quizzes are the default choices

Manage Notebook

  • Rename and add student (employee) sections (private spaces)
  • Enable Teacher (Manager) Only section group

NOTE: Can’t be disabled; delete in the desktop app with a right-click.

  • Unlock/Lock Collaboration Space and Set Permissions

Distribute Pages

  • Distribute Page
    • Choose the student (employee) section to place the page.
  • Individual Distribution
  • Group Distribution
  • Cross Notebook Distribution

NOTE: You can also distribute entire sections or section groups.


  • Copy a page to the Content Library

NOTE: For example, perhaps you have been drafting it in the Teacher (Manager) Only area and the final version is now ready to share with students (employees)

  • Add/Remove students (employees) or teachers (managers)

More Information: Collaborating in the classroom with the OneNote Class Notebook Creator

About the Author

Craig Gerdes is an innovative education and training professional with extensive experience in a variety of leadership roles and in various settings all aimed at helping adult students succeed.

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