For me the act of outlining helps me understand and comprehend the material in teh bigger pictur of everything. I usually will update it every few weeks or so, or right after a section of particular issues. Mine are very brief, when I have seen a lot of ones that look like you just reqrote all your in class notes. For me, being able to consolidate my inclass notes into a reasonable, user friendly chunks is what helps me solidify the material. Then I will use the outline come study time and read and re read it, talking outloud about each thing (since I don't write a dissertaion in my outlines). My theory on outlines is they OUTLINE the course, not repeat verbatim what the lectures were.
I also have never used canned briefs, I find doing them myself helps me understand the material. I do get lazy and start book briefing, using multi colored highlighters to illustrate different thigns (rule, facts, conclusions, etc).
Another thing that helped me was during my first year in Civ Pro, I was a note taker for a learning disabled student. I don't know what his LD was, but whatever it was it enabled him to get notes from someone else. So I would take my notes in class, knowing that someone else was going to have to read and understand what I was writing. Then I would take my handwritten notes and type them up. THat combonation really helped solidify the material, not just the repeating of it, but having to make sure I worte it in a way that would be understood by someone other than myself.
It made me beter understand it as well